Sometimes, no is no.
And that's all.
On the other hand, sometimes no is negotiable.
It is the fuzzy area between finality and negotiability that gets us into trouble.
Learning to say no in a way that others understand is an important skill. But first we have to really mean what we are saying. If there is any question on our part, we would do better to practice saying no by ourselves before doing so in an interpersonal setting.
Saying no is something that we actually had to unlearn. When we were small, we were very good at saying no. This is often, in fact, a two-year-old's favorite word.
We somehow, many of us, lose this skill on the road to adulthood.
Maybe it is because we don't want people to get angry with us. Or perhaps we don't value ourselves enough to realize that it is ok to set boundaries.
Maybe (as noted above) we don't really know what we want. Thus it is easier to let those around us make the decisions, and convince us that we don't know what we are thinking/feeling/saying.
At that point, it is crucial that we step back from a situation and spend time understanding our needs and wants.
It is also important that we start saying yes to ourselves.
Because until we say yes to ourselves, nobody else will either.
And no will never mean no.
Reid State Park
Labor Day 2011
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