The Art of Saying Yes and No

Some still struggle with saying yes or no when they mean it. When I was younger, the elderly taught me you “say what you mean, and mean what you say.” During those years, this principle sounded easy to say than to apply. I was a little shy, so it was easier to please others than cause discord. As an adult, on my peaceful journey, I am learning more about the importance of assertiveness. My dependency on the approval and validation from others is no longer a controlling factor.  I try to honor my truth and live in authenticity. While I may fall short, this is my aim.

Subsequently, after listening to others complain about the expectations placed on them from others and hearing their complaints regarding things they have agreed to do for others. Their complaint is they wish they had said “no” instead of saying “yes.” Oftentimes, I find too much time is spent complaining about lending a shoulder to others, a listening ear, or allowing oneself to become accessible to others against one’s will.

Well, why complain if you’re finding yourself doing for others because you’re kind enough to help? Do it without complaining.  If you’re assisting others out of a sense of obligation or fear of rejection if you do not, then don’t. Say “no,” if you can’t or your heart isn’t in it. Say “yes” if want to assist. You may find yourself helping others you allow your good deeds to go as far as you  will.

Have you thought about why you’re the one others freely come to? Have you considered why they’re not asking others?  The reason is possible you may be their only yes.

When the power of saying yes and no is learned, then we learn the power in becoming true to ourselves. We learn the power in saying “yes and no” should come from a place of sincerity and purity.  When, we’re not saying “yes or no” begrudgingly, then our heart is not misleading.

At times, when communicating with others, we must be assertive and take a firm stand. This is not rudeness. It is using good judgment. A “yes” at the wrong time can be detrimental to all involved. The same goes to saying “no”.  Handling things right prevents us from experiencing an unsettling about our actions and becoming resentful.

Take the time to see the value of honoring your truth.  More than likely, you’ll find you’re saying “yes or no”often as before, but you experience empowerment when you do not go against your freewill.

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~Yvonne L

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21 thoughts on “The Art of Saying Yes and No

    1. Peaceful Journey Post author

      Thanks, those like you with a kind heart tend to find it challenging. It’s easy to say yes. I believe the gauge to saying yes is when yes no longer feel at will, and you’re doing it to consider others rather than being true to yourself. At these times, I think there is a need to evaluate the situation. Learning to do this leaves you feeling empowered and not like you’re over-extending yourself.

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  1. r_prab

    So nice, you wrote about this. I loved the quote ,”When you learn to say yes to yourself, you will be able to say no to others, with love” I always feel saying ‘no’ as appearing rude. But this quote gave me a new perspective for the first time. 🙂

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    1. Peaceful Journey Post author

      Hi, thanks. The quote appealed to me also. I find those who find it challenging to say “no” are usually generous at heart in many instances. But, “No” is not always rejection. Sometimes a “no” can be the catalyst for others to change from dependency to becoming independent. We need to evaluate each situation and the individual(s) as the need for saying “yes or no” occurs. I think the bigger message is we do not need to feel compelled but follow the heart. Do not succumb to the pressure of how it may appear to others, but how it makes us feel when we say yes or no. If after saying “yes” we are experiencing unease, then, this could have been a situation a “no” was appropriate.

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      1. r_prab

        “If after saying “yes” we are experiencing unease, then, this could have been a situation a “no” was appropriate. ” This gave me a nice thought. It is good then to buy time before responding. We can think clearly and respond truly, rather than saying yes in the spur of the moment then finding hard to back off a few hours later. 🙂 Thank you!

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      2. Peaceful Journey Post author

        Nice observation. I appreciate the wisdom in the proverb and scriptural reference of being quick to listen and slow to speak. I think there is another secular reference that says we should not listen to answer but to understand. As you have pointed out, listening would be wise in a situation when one must make a decision. Once we listen concerning a situation, we can quiet ourselves long enough to decide if we want to engage in a yes or no. You are correct. I also believe when we come to a place of knowing ourselves and what we want, we don’t succumb easily to peer pressure as often.

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      3. r_prab

        Thankyou Yvonne! This discourse has been quite enlightening. May I have the privilege, because we have talked about the matter this far, to ask a question that often comes to my mind, and it came up once again now, that what should one say while expressing the refusal-the reason I mean. Sometimes I would just want to say No,but feel odd to reveal the actual reason.So I would beat around the bush- But do you think its the right way, or should we be frank and speak the real reason.(Because sometimes the real reason can be- I am just too lazy today to want to do any thing)

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      4. Peaceful Journey Post author

        I find on the journey I’m on, honesty is best. At least you can walk away from a situation feeling you’re walking in your truth. I’m not saying the walk is easy and without challenge, but I find there’s nothing more liberating than being at peace within. To me, if we feel unease about being truthful, we’re surrendering more to the pressure of the consequences. Either way, I rather know I can feel peace within knowing I owned my truth. I think this is why some people live their life silently in torment when they’re not living their truth. Some eventually decide life is too short not too. Besides, it’s your life, you only have one, so be true to thine self. In the situation you presented, just say, I would like to help you, but today, I will not be able to…we do not always owe an elaborate statement or justification. Follow your heart, I realize there are case by case situations.

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      5. r_prab

        Wonderful! That was such a liberating reflection! Two of your lines I will like to take with myself ,- “I can feel peace within knowing I owned my truth” & “we do not always owe an elaborate statement or justification”. I am really enthralled by your generosity, for responding so nicely.I have gathered something valuable. 🙂 Thank you very much.

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    1. Peaceful Journey Post author

      You are correct, we can come to a place within where we mean no or yes without conviction. It is a matter of getting there. Hopefully, before we learn from a negative experience.

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  2. The Exceptional Life

    Thank you for today’s post. Sometimes I hear in others that they’re overwhelmed or have regret when saying yes, and I think about my younger days when time management and emotional maturity challenges hampered my decision making. In society we equate saying no as something bad, but that isn’t the case at all.

    My time and my life are precious, and I spend them doing the things that I want to do and with the people who I want be around. You can never get a wasted day back to “do over!” I’ve taught my children that if they have to say no, then quickly and sincerely thank the person for thinking of them, and move on.

    Blessings, Crystal

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    1. Peaceful Journey Post author

      Thanks for sharing from your perspective Crystal. You brought out some important points. I believe we should pass that on to our children. We teach young ladies “no” means “no” in compromising situations. But in all situations, this should be a basic life lesson,. “Yes means yes, no means no” when you mean it. I like that you remind us that life is too precious, and we can’t capture time passed. Especially when we are considering time management is valuable. Why spend it doing things that are not bringing fulfillment, even at the expense of others? I like you’re teaching your children to do it “quickly and sincerely and move on.”

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  3. vercellonopace

    This is an excellent post. It relates to establishing your boundaries and not feeling extended in places or situations that you shouldn’t be. Most people tend to feeling guilty when they say no. However, as you so eloquently point out, sometimes a “yes” at the wrong time can be detrimental to all parties. It is important that we learn how to love ourselves in this way. Great truth. Let your yes be yes and your no be no is a Biblical standard. It is a great place in which to be when you get this truth.

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    1. Peaceful Journey Post author

      Thanks for providing a biblical perspective to this principle. I agree, once one has the revelation of this, then, he or she is in a great place.

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  4. marypamela

    Great post! Thanks for sharing. It took me years to finally say “no.” I remember the first time I said, “no.” I think I stunned myself, but also the person. It was just too much. I felt overwhelmed. I just couldn’t handle another project, and I told the person exactly that. She stared at me for a while, my face was obstinate. She finally said, “ok, I’ll take care of it.” My breath whooshed out. I didn’t even realize that I had been holding it. The world didn’t end with my “no,” and I felt liberated. 🙂

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    1. Peaceful Journey Post author

      Ah, thanks for sharing this MaryPamela. I can imagine a “no” is just as liberating for others who are challenged by saying it when needed. I am happy this was life-changing for you.

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  5. Annika Perry

    Great post and so true. I think saying yes to doing something when your inner self is shouting no is not only not being true to yourself but also a lie to the other people. They have not asked you to be a martyr. Or am I taking this a bit too far? Still I’m one to talk, it’s taken me years to learn to say no. A thought-provoking post, Yvonne.

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    1. Peaceful Journey Post author

      Thanks Annika, you’re on point. You brought out another aspect of the importance of being truthful with all parties involved.

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