Jul 22, 2019

To say no, to not say no

No was a word that took a long time to incorporate as a part of my vocabulary. It was not that I wasn’t able to say it, because obviously I was, but rather it was when I could say it. I would say “yes” when I should have been saying “no.” I said “no” when I should have said “yes.”

“Oscar, would you like a candy?” “No,” I would quickly respond, even though I was dying for sweets.

And at other times it would go like this: “Oscar, can you help me with my homework?” “Yes, of course.”

This was always my problem and, in some cases, it continues to be. Even though I had my own homework or other things to do, I would still help others. Yet, no one seemed to help me when I was falling behind.

I ask now, do people take advantage of you? Do you have trouble saying no?

I had centered my life so much on being a generous, philanthropic and giving person that I had lost connection with my limits in my life. I was not even able to say a simple two-letter word, “no.”

At night, my mind would speak to me (not in a crazy way). It would ask, “Can I set limits and still be a giving, loving person? Can I say no and not feel guilty?”

I wrestled with these kinds of thoughts on a daily basis, and I did not know what to do about it. I felt lost, confused and overwhelmed.

Individuals would ask favors from me all the time and, the sad thing was, I was not able to say no.

Just last year, I was involved with over 10 organizations, community service, two internships, a job and was a full-time student.

Somehow, I thought in my lost mind that I could still take on helping others. I was not at all evaluating any of my choices. I actually thought I didn’t have choices and, if I did, they involved helping others, no matter what.

Many individuals, myself included, try to do a good job with our relationships, our families, our employment, our education and our personal life. But when boundaries are not set and one cannot say no, it becomes difficult to do all these things to the best of your ability.

To say no is to set a boundary. It is a way of letting others know that you are in control of your life, that you will not be taken advantage of or that you simply cannot do what they ask of you.

Saying no is not a slight bit mean, rude or evil. It is actually a way that one can emit confidence, independency, honesty and openness. It is about involving yourself in standing up for your personal rights and expressing your thoughts, feelings and beliefs to the fullest.

I wish I could say that saying no is inherited, but sadly it is not. Saying no is a learned aptitude.

People need to truly find themselves before they are able to say no. You must learn to accept the fact that you are the leader of your journey in life and the rest will come at ease. You have the right to say “no.” You have the right not to justify your “no.” And finally, you have the right to put yourself first.

The previous might sound mean, greedy and evil, but in reality it is called “me.”

“No,” was a word that took a long time to incorporate as a part of my vocabulary, but I was able to do it.

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