My instinct is to say yes even though I know that the answer is a resounding NO. Guilt is an awful feeling but resentment is even stronger. I am always worried the person will be highly offended and disappointed. However this week I had to say no to three situations. Only two of the three accepted my answer without an explanation. My reasons, actually, didn’t need explanations. I have a lot on my plate as 2011 comes to a close and those around me know that.
Yet, I did take a moment to evaluate why I said no. Most of my decisions are based on my gut. If it doesn’t feel right, it ain’t happenin’. When I have gone against my instinct, it usually pans out in a way that makes me say, “Malini, why didn’t you listen to you?!” Since I don’t want to disappoint anyone, I am always ready to cram more into my already tight schedule. I have to remind myself that my personal time is valuable. So if I try to make it all happen, it’s not fair for anyone involved because it becomes rushed. And I get cranky.
Also, sometimes it’s best to keep it simple with the reason. What makes sense in your head is never articulated in the way you thought. I was invited to a last minute breakfast and I automatically said yes though I had planned my chores over a week prior to this day. After I said yes and hung up, I thought to myself, why did I say yes. I have to take care of these things TODAY. I called back the person and started to explain and it didn’t come out the right way. It sounded like I was blowing them off which wasn’t the intention. If I had just said that I needed to look at the day and I’ll get back to them, I would have saved myself some guilt.
There is a flip side. I have been on the receiving end of a No. I have also been on the receiving end of a YES that should have been a NO. That was very painful because there was underlying resentment on both ends. Now I preface my favors by acknowledging that if they say no, that’s okay. If they need time to think it over, that’s fine. Then there are times I can’t hear the no because I am in the midst of planning and executing. All I can see is what needs to get done and therefore manipulate. Let me tell you that no one is happy in the end. That’s a big lesson I have learned over the last year.
People will still love you if you say no. You will also get more respect.
Check out Oprah.com for more info on the Power of Saying No.