The Art of Saying No, P.1 Laying the Foundation

Let me just be frank by saying neither I nor you have ANY obligation to say yes to ANYONE; I have the right to say yes or no, and so do you. I have the right to keep my time open for no apparent reason. I have the right to safeguard friendships by putting them ahead of others when life gets busy. I have the right to not text you back right away. I have the right to not respond to every Instagram post, email, date offer, job offer, Starbucks invitation, etc. Whatever it may be, I have the right to say NO and so do you.

The word no has a negative connotation, so it’s no wonder so many people are averse to it. But here’s the thing, if I said yes to every invitation I have ever received I would be going in 50 directions at all times.

I wouldn’t be able to focus on my studies, excel in my work, take care of my health, write my blog, plan for the future, spend time in the presence of God, mentor those younger than I, get good grades, and maintain my finances, etc. Instead, my time would be over dedicated, friendships and deadlines would fall through the cracks, I would run the risk of failing classes, I might go out on dates with men that aren’t good for me or simply with men I’m not interested in because I feel guilty or bad. – I don’t know?! These are all real-life situations that people say yes to every day.

I’d be lying if I said I have never said yes to something that I should not have. I have DEFINITELY gone out when I should have stayed in. I have most CERTAINLY accepted date offers on the grounds of feeling bad, and I have EQUALLY experienced regret for doing so.

Guys, time is PRECIOUS. You only get 24 hours in a day. That’s eight thousand seven hundred and sixty hours a year worth of time. Time that you can utilize to change your life and make the most out of every situation and every opportunity knocking at your door. Every day, every minute, and every second that you say yes to something, you redirect the course of your life.

Did you know that when you say yes to something, you are really saying no to something else? Think about that. No, seriously, really ponder on the control you have over your own destiny, because in the end you only get one life.

Every situation in your life, every vantage point you reach, and EVERY decision you make CAN and WILL alter the course of your future.

So, yes – some people, if not most, will get hurt, mad, or even offended when you say no. I know this because I often receive flak for saying no. People are going to get offended, but at the end of the day you gotta do you. 😉

And let me be clear to say that I don’t enjoy having to say no all of the time. If I could I would love, even count it a joy, to accept many more, if not most, of the options that come my way, but I can’t. Not if I want to accomplish the goal at hand.

For me, I think the biggest perceived offense that I commit occurs when I honestly say I have nothing planned for that night or that weekend, but I choose to decline or withhold from committing myself to something. Which I get it because from their perspective it’s almost like “I’m holding out for the next best thing,” but that’s so far from reality it’s not even funny. I’m sorry guys. I mean I could lie. I could come up with some highly fabricated excuse of a place I’m going, a person I am supposed to see, or some fictitious deadline for work that I don’t have, but that’s not me.

Honesty and transparency is the name of my game and I aint tryna spin it any other way.

I am a HUGE proponent of my yes is my yes and my no is my no, and the reality is sometimes my schedule isn’t my own. So when making decisions don’t make them out of forced obligation; make them in accordance to your life purpose.

I promise you that if there was one lesson in life that I could teach you I think saying no would have the largest impact. I’m not saying that you should do nothing but work, work, work. I’m not asking you to become a hermit and live under a desk, and I’m certainly not asking you to sit here, read my blog, and start tearing yourself apart for bad decisions you’ve made. No. Rather I am charging you to take control of your own life. I’m challenging you to be honest with yourself and with others about your time.

Lastly, if you are one of the many people who constantly think about your dreams but never put them into action, then you’re a victim of the yes-mam, thank-you mam culture and it’s time for that to change. If I had an hour added to my life for every time someone told me, “I wish I could be as disciplined as you,” I could get a lot more done in a year than I do now. Don’t discount yourself, and don’t discount your dreams. Invite discipline into your life, and when you need to say no do it.

As an end note – this is only the beginning of my series on The Art of Saying No. This blog has served to lay the foundation for future stories to come. In my coming blogs on this topic I plan to tell stories about some extreme heights I had to endure to accomplish great things- all circumstances that required a bold ability to say no. I may even tell stories about times when I regrettably said yes and paid for it later. All in all, let the message be clear- you have the right to your own schedule, and so do I.

Emily Krasch

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