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Tuesday
Feb222011

Just Say No... To Something.  Anything.

You may think it quite obvious, but I just had an epiphany.

It's okay to say, "No."

No, I won't drop off your dry cleaning.

No, I'm not cooking tonight.

No, I didn't have a chance to make that deposit.

No, I didn't e-mail them the pictures of the kids.

No, I didn't call.

No, I won't be coming over this weekend.

No, you've already watched a lot of television today.

No, we won't be able to make it to your party.

No, I don't feel like going out.

No, I don't feel like talking.

No, you cannot sleep in my bed.

No.

And not "no" because I'm busy doing other stuff for you, but, "no" because I don't want to.

I don't want to and I don't have to, and you should know that I love you even if I don't do whatever it is that you're asking me to do right now.

"No," because deep down inside I know that I do enough, more than enough, and deep down inside, you know it, too.

It's absolutely important to show people that you love them.  I feel as though, at least for me, a great deal of overemphasis is placed on showing you love someone by the way you act and the things you do for them.  Don't misunderstand me, this is a totally accurate and necessary measuring stick, but I think we should remember that it's not the only parameter used to evaluate love.

Think about this, if doing nice things for someone means that you love them, then does saying no to doing those things every single time they ask mean that you don't love them?  I don't think so.

Because I've realized this, I can not only now say, "No... I won't" (which, by the way, is different than "No I can't"), and I don't have to be mean about it in some effort to defend myself and my "no."

I love you, but, no, I think you can do that for yourself.

I love you, but I want to make this happen instead.  In order for me to do that, I'm going to say no to you.

It doesn't mean I don't love you any less than when I say yes.

It just means that today you will either have to do it yourself, wait for someone else to do it, or just make peace with the fact that it's not getting done.  Furthermore, please trust in the fact that if I thought you would utterly and completely fail without my yes, I would simply say yes.  Dare I further suggest that my "no" is also more than a vote for my own agenda, my "no" is a vote for your ability to take care of this yourself, too?

And, guess what else?  When you say "no" to me, I will remember all of what I've said here.  I'll remember that you love me even though you are saying no to me.  I'll remember all the times you have said yes.

In fact, I will remember all of the times you did things for me when I didn't have to ask at all.

Saying yes is one way of loving someone.

Love is also feeling, telling, being... not just doing and acting.

At times, telling someone you love them should actually be enough.

Reader Comments (39)

Sometimes, not very often, I say:

"I am unwilling to do that."

And I feel just so incredibly powerful, that I could, in fact, advocate for myself without excuses.

Thanks for articulating that, today. Because I didn't, and I should have. And now, I'll move forward reminding myself that I can. So I will.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Sooo... no bharta today then? That's okay... I still love you too!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave2

oh hell yes!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

@hello haha narf, I think you meant "oh hell no" ;)

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterB.E. Earl

@B.E. Earl,
i meant every letter of my oh hell yes. this post is fanfuckingtastic and i wholeheartedly agree. i've got no problem saying no when i don't wanna do something or go someplace!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

@hello haha narf, Twas a joke, referring to the title of the post. I knew what you meant. :)

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterB.E. Earl

I have a really hard time saying no to anyone, and even if I do, I usually feel really bad about it.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

This is a tough one, but absolutely necessary to keep from disappearing in obligations to everyone but yourself.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Brilliant. So many times we feel the absolute need to say yes to everything. But it is such a trap. I want my girls to grow up strong and independent, and I'm not doing them any favors by doing it all for them. Or for everyone else, for that matter. There is nothing wrong with saying NO.

I love this, so very much! Saying no doesn't mean I love you any less. It means that sometimes, I need and/or want to say NO.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie (queenofpink)

I struggled with "no" all my life...until I turned 40, when suddenly I could say "no", "hell no", "not on your life" and "never".

Ahhhh...sweet liberation!!! I'm just embarrassed that it took me 40 years to finally be able to see what's important vs. what's irrelevant.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLAB

I have no problem at all saying no to someone, and I do it frequently. Otherwise, they'd have to give me a salary for being at Gilda's school so much!
Saying no to people from time to time is vital; being able to say it without guilt even more so.
So you go, Faiqa! Or, don't go. Whatever. :)

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSybil Law

I think saying "no" to someone can be the best thing we do, not just for ourselves, but for the other person. When I heard "no," I have not always handled it well, but it helped me to grow up and put my big girl pants on. I suspect it does that for others too. In moderation -- or just depending on how bad my day is going!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex@LateEnough

@Kate, Don't you dare tell him it was because of this post. LOL.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Dave2, Not today, but next time you're in Orlando... absolutely. Yes.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@B.E. Earl, I got it. It was cute.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@hello haha narf, Good for you! And you know what's even more awesome, that you still do so many nice things for people. Kind of proves my point.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Avitable, I know. Could you stop, please? Go ahead, try and say no.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Megan, Agreed.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Julie (queenofpink), I really think having a daughter has been one of the greatest influences on my adopting this philosophy. I don't want her to feel like she can never say no.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@LAB, It is liberating... and, uh, at least you got it! Some people never do.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Faiqa, ha!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

@Sybil Law, You make me laugh.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Alex@LateEnough, Exactly... and, yes, in moderation. I was a little worried people wouldn't get that part... I'm definitely not saying to always say no and just be selfish.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Faiqa, Sho did!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate

@Kate, Crap.

Rule #1: Never get between a desi man and his korma.

...

I'm doomed.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

I think, at least for me, it's especially difficult for parents to say no to their children (when it comes to reasonable requests, of course... I have no issue with, "No, you cannot lick that electrical outlet"). I want my children to have everything, probably because growing up I didn't have much of anything (either material stuff like toys or intangible stuff like attention or approval from my parents). Sometimes that means I do stuff for them that I should be saying no to (like say carrying my almost six year old).

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSciFi Dad

I learned how to say NO to things in the last few months. It's so much easier to do when you realize that you are a better person for not giving in to doing something you don't want to do JUST BECAUSE you don't want to do it.

Brava!

I'm not going Tiger Mom or anything, but I've always thought that there was a certain level of respect and love shown in not doing things for people - especially kids - when you believe they can do them, themselves. But then, I take that too far and it becomes "No, I will never help you put on your coat again because you can do it and I don't want to bend over to do it anymore, Child."

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZoeyjane

"I don’t want to and I don’t have to, and you should know that I love you even if I don’t do whatever it is that you’re asking me to do right now.

“No,” because deep down inside I know that I do enough, more than enough, and deep down inside, you know it, too."

I need to learn this. A lot. And quickly. Thank you.
xoxo

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChibi Jeebs

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Faiqa, Faiqa. Faiqa said: Native Born: Just Say No… To Something. Anything. http://bit.ly/gk2ISu [...]

You can never understand *how* badly I needed to read exactly this post.

Thank you

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnabelle

@SciFi Dad, Well, I don't think there's anything wrong with carrying a 6 year old, actually. As long as you WANT to do that and don't feel manipulated into doing it.

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing], Thanks, man. Remember when you said no to the playdate I asked you about last month. You suck.

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Zoeyjane, So what you're saying is that the last part is wrong? Because I do that all the time.

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Chibi Jeebs, You're welcome, I'm glad it meant something to you.

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Annabelle, Yay! You are very welcome.

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Faiqa, eh. I'll never tell another parent what they're doing is wrong. But I will gut myself with guilt all the time. ;)

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZoeyjane

@Faiqa, i do not recall saying no to your request for my presence. oh, wait. YES I DO. why? because i already had better plans.

now, i'm free to be your guest. let me know when you can welcome me.

I love this...I always say guilty when I say "no," most especially when it's to my husband. (and then I tend to be passive-aggressive about whatever I'm refusing to do)

March 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTara

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