Saying ‘no’ to anything or anyone in this day and age of widespread materialism and instant gratification is a lost art. And yet, so many of us would be far less stressed and much happier if we could just implement that one little word into our daily vocabulary. It is, after all, one of if not the very first word we learn as children, right behind “mama” and “papa.”
As I write this, I have a specific situation in mind. There are three players in my viewpoint, an aged mother in her 80’s, a daughter in her 50’s and a granddaughter in her 20’s. The 50-something daughter is the heart of the matter in that she is addicted to medications and will take whatever the doctors will give her for her mostly imagined symptoms for mostly imagined and creatively-named illnesses. This person, naturally, has found enablers in her mother and daughter who have been conned into doing everything for her, including cleaning the house in which she spends all day, cooking her food, administering her medications, attending to her errands and obligations, etc. All while the daughter expresses no appreciation at their hard work and sacrifice, and continues to demand even more from them, which so far they have obligingly provided at great cost to themselves and their own families.
One has to think that this person has grown accustomed to having others at her beck and call, and has never learned to appreciate the time and effort it takes to care for herself since she’s never had to do it. Neither, apparently, has she ever been forced to show any gratitude or reciprocated the kindness of others.
And as every intervention will demonstrate, the first part of anyone’s recovery from their addictions or demons, is removing the safety nets of the offenders. Stop saying “Yes,” stop giving them your money and time, stop letting them take everything from you. In other words, force them to survive on their own, and stepping in only when their behaviour shows more positive signs of their own effort to become better people.
I could recite countless other situations my friends and acquaintances have shared with me, detailing their frustrations at being taken advantage of by ingrates and reprobates.
All the while, I can’t help but think if these people had set a precedent at saying ‘No’ earlier on, perhaps the abusers would be stopped in their tracks, or at least their path of emotional destruction would have been impeded.
Naturally, no parent wants to deny their child anything but sometimes there are valuable lessons to be taught and learned by saying no to your children. You teach them that the world will not always bow to their whims, that they shouldn’t expect other people to always give in and that the time of others is something to be appreciated like any other valuable commodity.
In my own experience, learning to say “No” has resulted in only good things. I have managed to eliminate certain draining people from my life because the minute they realised this particular well had run dry, they stopped calling on me (though undoubtedly they went off in search of other victims, and likely found them). In return, my free time was now freed up to spend on things I wanted to do which in turn nurtured my own soul and made me a better and more productive member of my own family, freeing up time and energy better spent on those who truly matter.
Saying ‘no’ will not only save you from doing things you sincerely do not want to do, but will also send a clear message to others that you know how to stand up for yourself and that your time is equally valuable. It’s really that simple. Give it a shot.