The Power Of Saying No

This happened nearly 20 years back when I was trying to get through one of the most prestigious colleges of journalism in India. I went to Chennai with my father, after being selected in the written entrance to give an interview at the Asian College of Journalism.

Richha In News Studio

They liked me but offered me Web Journalism against Broadcast journalism.

I didn’t take the offer. I said NO, I am clear about what I want.

Had I said a yes, the course of my career would have been totally different.

I proved myself right. Without taking up this course, on the basis of undergraduate specialisation in journalism, I achieved the desired success in broadcast journalism, becoming a leading news anchor in one of the most credible national news channels of the country.

It’s easy to say yes but difficult to say no.

 We hesitate to say NO, as we struggle to gather the courage to displease others.

It takes guts to shake your head into a NO as it may ruffle a few feathers, it may make you the odd one out.  But you know what, you make your place by being uniquely you and not being a blind follower.

Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash.jpg

Why is it important to say No

  • No means you are setting boundaries. You will do what you believe in. Anything that does not spring from your heart and makes you drag yourself into it, is not worth it.
  • No, means you are not available all the time. You have a schedule for things you care about, and its important for you.
  • No, means you are exercising your power of choice. Always saying yes means you are ready for anything and everything whether you like it or not. Only you can decide what is good or bad for you.
  • No means you are preserving your energies for doing what you think deserves your attention. No is an answer when you deem for something not worth it.
  • ‘Saying No’ helps you differentiate and choose. Being in the habit of saying yes, will leave you using less of your logical mind and automatically nodding to approve as it becomes your default reaction.

It may sound contradictory but saying no is pretty natural to humans. Ever observed an infant? The child doesn’t always follow what he/she is told. But does what it feels like doing. It’s nature’s gift to choose and act upon it.

We squander this gift and power to choose, under conditioning of the society, parenting and peer pressure. We are taught to say yes, to be in sync with others and not for what is right. We are taught to be a follower and not a leader.

Once you are in the habit of saying yes, saying a NO becomes excruciating many a times as one is not used to it. Its like stepping out of your comfort zone.

No is not the seal of disrespect 

A lot of conflict in this world emanates out of our inability to take a NO as an answer.

If SAYING NO is uneasy, ACCEPTING NO is equally difficult.

 We often feel we have been disregarded if someone has said a ‘NO’ to us. Put yourself in the same spot where you didn’t feel like doing something. The ego gets hurt when we hear a no for an answer.

Digesting a no requires a fair degree of understanding and sensitivity. When we accept someone’s no without any ill-will or a sense of being hurt, we show maturity and magnanimity to let that person be him or her. We desist from imposing ourselves.

No Is Not Being Selfish, Its Self-love

Choosing to say no, is about caring for your needs. If saying a yes, makes you compromise on what you need to have, you are not loving yourself enough.

When you are short on self-love, how can you love others enough? You can’t give others what you don’t already have enough.  

I have been through this a lot of times, and I can say from experience that sticking to your gut feeling while saying no, has never proved me wrong. People may get upset sometimes but they will understand that you know and believe in what you want. Ultimately it helps you give your best self to the world.

Cultivate the skill of saying no when its needed, for it helps you save your time, energy and self-esteem. Sometimes we also pay a price for standing up and the disagreement. But that’s part of life. Standing up for yourself is no obligation, it’s a necessity.

Always Saying Yes Silences Your Inner Voice

Compromising for the sake of pleasing others, means disrespecting your inner voice will only dull your shine. The more you disregard your inner voice, the more it will stop nudging you in the right direction. Your inner voice is your most precious asset.