Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Accepting "no"

Over the years, I've come across a plethora of self-help articles that dwell on the fact that our lives will be so much better if we just learned how to say "no".

We will be less stressed because we haven't agreed to do something we didn't really want to. We will have more time for ourselves because we're not saying yes to favours that we really don't need to.

While it is true that we do need to learn how to be more assertive, I wonder if it has also caused us to become more self-absorbed. But not only that, with a larger number of people saying "no", perhaps we actually need an increasing number of self-help articles that teach us how to accept it when someone says "no".

We are so used to people agreeing and saying "yes" that when someone tells us "no", we find it extremely difficult to accept. Especially when it comes to agreeing to do something that we think is the best thing since sliced bread.

You don't want to come with me to jump out of an aeroplane at 14,000 feet wearing only the clothes on your back and a parachute?

How could you say no to my extremely tasty, artery-blocking, quadruple cheese pizza?

Why aren't you agreeing to mow my extremely neglected backyard for me on your only day off?

I've just painted this awesome piece of artwork. Why won't you display it in your gallery?

I think there are times when we need to learn to humbly accept "no" for an answer, instead of pushing our own agendas. People are entitled to say "no" when they want, no matter how ridiculous it may be for them not to say "yes". We shouldn't question their sanity, their judgement or their intelligence.

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