I have been practising the firm 'NO' for quite awhile now. It is always an interesting experience when I do it. A couple of weeks ago Sue and I were at an Expo when a woman lunged at me through a crowd, got in my face, and hurriedly tried to do her sales pitch involving a free ten minute massage. Without breaking my stride I firmly said "NO! I am not interested thank you" and continued on my way. She was so shocked by my response and backed off as quickly as she had appeared, not even taking the time to proposition Sue who was a few steps behind me.
Each time I do this I get the shocked look and nothing else is said as I go on my way. So why is that? Is it the way I say it, my tone of voice, the expression on my face? The answer is actually quite simple: I know what I do not want. What a revelation eh! By knowing what I do not want I can be direct and to the point thereby not wasting anyone's time including my own. I can be civil about it as I have no reason to be angry, decline with a smile and be on my way. No excuses, apologies, reasons needed.
I have a right to say no without providing an apology, excuse, having a feeling of guilt, or even being pleasant. There is no right to expect a reason why someone is saying no, yet why does it seem like there is? Why is it so difficult to just leave it at no and move on? For me, earlier in my life, it was always about not wanting to hurt the other person's feelings. I would weigh in my mind how they might feel if I said no then decide accordingly. The thought of disappointing someone and having them angry or upset at me was hard to take. It was much easier to be disappointed with myself rather than have another's disappointment directed at me. So I went through a good part of my life pleasing others at the expense of myself. I had a difficult time knowing what I did not want as I was so concerned with what others wanted. So I could not say no with any real firmness. This was an open invitation to be taken advantage of and I certainly was. The crazy thing is that I thought it was normal to be this way.
So what changed? How did I go from having difficulty saying no to being able to say it firmly and emphatically? The shift in myself happened because I started meditating and seeking answers within rather than without. I also seriously started paying attention to and taking care of the needs in me that I had been putting to the side for far too long. This led to a process of self-commitment and self-engagement that has evolved over thirteen years, alongside Sue's process, to become the Self-Marriage program.
Say no and mean it because no one else can tell you your truth unless you allow it.