It’s a little bitty word. Just two letters. But it has the power to set you free.
We are conditioned in our society that “No” is impolite. We are supposed to agree to things because it’s rude not to. It’s considered somehow wrong to set boundaries.
Well just like it’s healthy to set boundaries for small children, it’s healthy to set boundaries against others for ourselves. It’s considered selfish, and selfishness has been demonized in our society with puritanical roots.
Well I’m here to tell you that psychologically, extreme selfLESSness is just as damaging as extreme selfishness. There is nothing wrong with saying “No.” There is nothing wrong with taking our own needs into account first. We so often over-extend ourselves because we are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings or offending. This does nothing but irritate us and put us in a position to be used by others (often the misuse is not intentional on the part of whoever is asking us whatever, but there’s still the potential).
So we’re going to practice.
“Can you head up the bake sale fund raiser committee?”
“Can you organize the blankety blank?”
Ring. Ring. Ring. Will you answer the phone right now even though you’re cooking dinner?
Beep. Beep. Will you deal with this text right this second, even though it’s disrespectful to the person you’re having supper with/the checker at the grocery store/the professor teaching your class/any other human being you ought to be paying attention to who is in your physical presence? (ok this is a serious pet peeve of mine)
Will you [insert time consuming task you really don’t want to do that will suck away your writing time]?
You don’t have to snarl it, you don’t have to be rude or ugly about it. But you do have to develop the strength to say it. Be firm in your convictions and guard that writing time (or your time for anything else, for that matter) jealously.