It was raining outside. I had my cup of warm instant coffee beside me. I cranked open my window, letting the moist yet gentle breeze of a spring afternoon hit my face. As I was in that moment soaked in bliss, I let my mind unwind to let this charged environment take control of me. While I was jogging my thoughts, I found myself interested in understanding my habit of saying no to things. By this point, I can proudly say that I am an expert in expressing disapproval. I began to wonder why, regardless of age, all of us find it difficult at least at some point to establish boundaries be it with superiors, friends, partners or colleagues. Nobody wants to be seen as the bad guy because we crave the validation from others. Some people do not care if they are taken for granted as long as at the end of the day they get to take a Selfie with that person. I begin to wonder, why do we have to do this to ourselves? We tend to forget that we have an option to say no!
Being assertive in this era of social media is absolutely essential for one simple reason: SELF CARE. We deserve compassion and when we feel that we have so much to give another person, we definitely have plenty to give to the most important person in your life, YOU. All of us work so hard every day to achieve our goals and are constantly bombarded by criticism and other challenges. The least we could do is to take care of ourselves, especially our mental health. We owe it to ourselves to sometimes not be the superhuman that we aspire to be. We owe it to ourselves to not give a crap about pleasing someone or everyone. We owe it to ourselves to be genuine because genuineness is sexy and opposite of exhaustive! Say only what you mean, rinse and repeat. Make it your “go-to ” behaviour. That way, we take in only as much of stress we can handle and we don’t feel bad for avoiding excess stress.
Now, I know saying no to things requires us to be strong and ready to face conflict. Until quite recently, I used to suck at confrontation and I’d say, a lot of sucking at confrontation has made me this person today who can hold an argument without tearing up out of anger. So, I’d suggest, never stop trying! Having said that, do I mean that one has to be a negative person, who is stubborn and never accommodates to others schedule? Absolutely not! It is imperative to know your REASONS for saying no. Have a moral checklist for yourself. What do you want to be known for ? How much nonsense can you possibly put up with? Are you saying no because you don’t like the energy of certain people or a place? Are you saying no because that person said no to you in the past and you want to take revenge? Is your behaviour a good reflection of what you stand for and what you believe in? Did you think for a moment about your reasons or you are just in a cranky mood? Is your action going to negatively impact someone to a great extent? Think about it.
It is very easy to judge someone these days. Hence, it is also very easy to be judged by others for everything we do and that is inevitable. If I learnt anything about saying no to things through my experiences, it would be to be aware of the fact that when I can say no to someone, others can also have their reasons to say no to me and that is okay. It is crucial to realise that everyone has his/her imperfections and sometimes it calls for maturity to be accommodative and respectful of others boundaries. Empathy can also help us find the right reasons to say no to things whilst preparing us for disappointment. It helps us toughen up easily and honestly, is so rewarding. So, no, you don’t get to be mean and ain’t nobody going to allow you to walk all over. This is a two-way street. Although I learnt these things very late and the hard way, I believe that the joy of growing up is never-ending and we need to embrace every little thing that makes it possible including the word, “No”.
Happy growing up! 🙂
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