The Art of “No”

no-thanksSaying no is so easy for some people.  They can cut you off mid-sentence with a shake of the head, a quick hand gesture before verbally letting you know that they will not be able to do what you are asking – no explanations given, to the point, with a smile that is not condescending or rude, nor apologetic or guilt ridden.  Then there are those who think they have mastered this art because they can formulate a reason or excuse to decline performance or escape contribution so quickly that you don’t even realize you are being told no, so you end up reformulating your request just to affirm your appeal was declined.

For those of us still working on our transgressions, we feel good about graduating to the ability level of  telling telemarketers “not at this time” or “no thank you” even.  It’s hit or miss when it comes to letting down the charities that call about helping war Veterans, children in need or the County Police Association.  Where we are the weakest is when it comes to people that ask us to assist them with something they know we are either good at or something we do daily in our profession.   Sometimes no amount of verbal dodging or quick lashing of the tongue to evade acceptance can be summoned; a smile imitation followed by “okay” and there you are again sending your inner gremlin just a ragin’.  Where the heck is the honesty that hides the fact that you do not have an iota of interest, the bold honesty that asserts the fact that you are busy creating a healthy and fulfilling life which should not be disturbed?

But which is better?  To endure damn near excruciating pain exacted by being untrue to “self” or the possible pounds of guilt from practicing this art of “no”?  I guess if practice makes perfect, the art in itself eventually lends its master a reassurance – knowing when to say no, learning how to say it and why it is being said is like being able to reach Yoga Nidra as easily as it is for the art’s grand master to say “no”.

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