Published: 08th May 2021
E-Canteen Fundas: Here’s why saying ‘No’ can be good for you
Pro Tip: Saying no saves you time and energy and reduces unnecessary stress and needless complications
Rinku,’ said Rahul. ‘Sunil wants to come home. I’m not comfortable in these COVID times.’
‘Say no then,’ said Rinku.
‘But he’ll get offended,’ said Rahul. ‘What do I do, bhaiyya?’
‘Let’s first understand why it’s difficult to say no,’ said Rakesh. ‘We’re scared of offending, hurting and losing our equation with others — even if it costs us. It’s a measure of how much we value ourselves and how clear we are about what’s important to us. For clarity, ask yourself this question before saying yes or no – am I doing this to please others or for my good?’
‘Won’t that be seen as being selfish, bhaiyya?’ said Rahul.
‘Taking care of ourselves and conserving our time and energy for our priorities is not being selfish, it’s self-care,’ said Rakesh. ‘If others expect you to give up your priorities for them, they’re being unreasonable.’
‘But bhaiyya, we’ll lose people who are important to us by offending them, no?’ asked Rinku.
‘If someone gets offended because we said no to honour our priorities, it’s better to risk losing them,’ smiled Rakesh. ‘We need people who value us, what’s important to us. And that, my friends, begins with us. If we don’t value ourselves, no one will.’
‘What do you mean, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.
‘It’s true,’ said Rakesh. ‘Others value us only as much as we value ourselves. We must be clear about what’s important to us and what’s not and stand by it. If we’re not, we think we’re buying peace in our relationships by making ourselves less than we are to please people who don’t value us anyway.’
‘What then?’ asked Rinku.
‘Don’t be afraid of saying no and setting clear boundaries,’ said Rakesh. ‘Value yourself as you are. If some people get offended and leave, don’t worry. When you value yourself, you’ll always have people who value you for who you are.’
‘Can we say no without hurting anyone?’ asked Rahul.
‘Of course,’ said Rakesh. ‘Be polite, but firm. But don’t feel guilty and apologetic. Take responsibility for your no. You’re not making others wrong, you’re honouring yourself. People may feel rejected but if you thank them for asking and gently but firmly refuse, they’ll understand. Like everything else, saying no
needs some practice, but when you start doing it, you change your relationship with yourself and with others in a healthy, growth-oriented manner.’
‘Thanks, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘I’ll start saying no to things that don’t honour me.’