It will not be far from the truth to say that one of the most difficult word’s for adults to say is NO. We even say no in our heads so many times but as soon as it is time to execute, for some reason it changes to yes. But NO is really just a word. Very much like ok or relax or soon. It has taken me time to learn to say it but it is now going to be part of my conscious words especially if it is really what I want. I have a blogpost on the things I consciously plan to engage in this month here and I may have forgotten to add saying No to the list.
I’ll use our particularly interesting but not totally necessary Nigerian culture of aso ebi sale as a case in point. I have found that many people would rather not buy aso ebi. For many reasons really. Perhaps they have a similar colour or they honestly don’t have the finances for it or they don’t feel so friendly with the celebrant so don’t see the need to buy but even after all these reasons (completely valid I might add) they still go ahead and buy. They still can’t bring them selves to say NO. I really don’t want aso ebi.
I thought about it, and most times the reason we say yes when we really mean no is fear.
Fear that we will be thought badly of. Fear that we will be letting other people down, hurt their feelings and possibly even disappoint them. But so what?
Mind you, there is a big difference between going all out for someone even when it is inconvenient for you and saying yes only because you don’t want to be looked at negatively.
So what if they think badly of you? Please realise that’s their problem actually, not your’s. You know by yourself that you are saying NO for yourself. Saying no does not make you a bad person. If anything, it makes you a honest person. You can’t live on the premise of what someone else thinks of your answer. Ask yourself, is saying yes really that worth it?
I have said yes to something I really really wanted to say no too because I did not want to come off as disrespectful. Truth however is I didn’t want to and after getting home, I had to then cook up a perfect lie to excuse myself from the situation. Is this really necessary?
Our culture thrives on what people say or don’t. So I travel to say America for instance but I have to say yes to people demanding shoes and chocolate upon my return, never mind that I really can’t afford to buy. But people talk. They will call me stingy, so I go ahead and buy. Why? This I have learnt over time to be bondage and saying NO with your chest is the only way to escape this trap.
Try the very short and very empowering word NO.
You want to have a quiet day of reading or even sleeping to yourself but someone tells you they are coming over. Just say No. It’s really not that serious.
Your church want’s to use your home for house fellowship but you don’t want it for your own personal reasons. Just say No, rather than invite them then resent them all through the year for disturbing your privacy.
Be polite. Thank them for “considering” you maybe but be direct too. Don’t say I will think about it or let me sleep on it when you already know what your answer is. That just prolongs your misery. Also don’t lie. Don’t say you have a similar colour aso ebi if you don’t. Don’t say your Sundays are busy if they are not. Just say No. It’s ok to say NO.
You can’t even imagine the freedom that comes with being able to say NO. Practice it in front of a mirror. Just move your head to the left, then to the right then say gently. NO. You’ll see it’s not that hard. LOL
Let me know how that goes.
***Aso Ebi – a uniform dress that is traditionally worn in Nigeria and some West African cultures as an indicator of cooperation and solidarity during ceremonies and festive periods.
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