Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Importance of Saying No: Two Perspectives

Maybe life is sending me a message; in the last two days, I've read two books stressing the importance of saying no. This is such a hard issue for many of us!

The October 11 entry in Simple Abundance has this story.
I do know a wonderful woman who was very active in her children's school for many years, largely because after she had volunteered a generous amount of her personal time, no one else came forward to take her place. The hours she put into her PTA related work were the equivalent of a full-time but unpaid second job.

When she made the terrible discovery that she had breast cancer, she admitted to close friends that in a strange way, she was relieved. Cancer meant she could start saying "No," create boundaries, and finally put down the school committee burden without guilt. Now she could ransom back her life. After all, no one expects a woman fighting breast cancer to do anything but take care of herself.
And in Making Choices: The Joy of a Courageous Life, Alexandra Stoddard has a whole chapter to entitled The Art of No. Here are just a few quotes from that chapter.
No is your constant companion, the way to keep you on your own path.

You need not be a yesaholic unless you choose to be.
Related posts:
- The Importance of Making Decisions
- Miss Manners: How to Say No
- Learning to Say No

[photo by Meg Rorison]


SueBK said...

I always felt guilty about saying no until I started studying. I didn't have enough brain space to work, raise a family and go to uni, so everything else got a very easy no.

After 6 years I'm only 6 months away from finishing uni. I've already begun thinking of what I can replace my perfect excuse with.

Jeri Dansky said...

Suebk, how great that you already have practice in saying no!

How about a simple "I'm so sorry, I have other commitments, I just can't"? Those commitments aren't really anyone else's business, and they could be to work, or family - or to yourself.