The Subtle Art of Saying No

Hands down, anyone would suppose that saying no is as easy as saying yes. Well, I agree so long the context of “saying” remains “saying”. But when it comes down to walking your talk, we all would quite disagree that they are both on the same level of ease. It takes more inner courage, guidance and clarity to say no. And unfortunately in these present times,  we are fast losing mastery of this art.

Everyday, we are faced with critical moments of decision-making that contribute to shaping our lives. In our society, practically all our decisions are gradually becoming FOMO-based(Fear of Missing Out) – with people seldom questioning the genuine reasons behind their choices. Being able to say no to the things we don’t want helps us to better say yes to the things we really want.  However, this comes with a price. A personal price that must be paid by having a clear sense of what the big picture is. The importance of such clarity cannot be overemphasized as it goes a long way in making any elimination process easier.

Again, many times, we know ‘when’ but not ‘how’ to say no. A ‘no’ does not necessarily have to mean a scornful and unapologetic response. Rather, it is a respectful, candid and well-thought-out decision made by an individual who has taken all pertinent factors into cognizance. It is funny how we find it difficult to say no to something for which we are certain of our stance. We most probably don’t see the propriety and as such, question our very own choices as to if they can be readjusted. However, I believe if properly and effectively communicated,  a ‘no’ should simply read what it means without connotations – Not Obliged.

It is also imperative to note that over time, we find ourselves saying yes to the things that we have once said no to and vice versa. This can sometimes cause regret and bitterness especially when we view our previous choices as missteps. Yes, It happens and it’s okay. We are humans ( beautiful imperfections if you like), so it is expected that our only constant is change. As we get in the mix of things, our priorities and concerns begin to shift and it is crucial that we acknowledge and metamorphose along with them to maintain an internal level of coherence.

By and large, it goes without saying that we would never hold sway in our choices unless we exercise our independent will and consent. Only these can give us the true fortitude to say a considerate yet emphatic yes or no to whatever comes our way.  After all, we( and not anyone else) are in the best position to exert our own volition. And on a final note, it should be remembered that a life in which anything goes, is one in which nothing goes.

Adeniyi Shukurah

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