Recently, a friend and I took a trip to the sunshine state to do just that: Get some sun! We have had a horrible winter for what seems like 10 months straight. We spent 4 days lounging, eating and walking our way through Florida. I enjoyed it. I needed it.

In the course of the trip, my friend pointed out to me that I say No a lot. I usually take criticism into consideration but this needed no thought because I know. I say No a lot. I also pointed out that she complained a lot. I started to keep score of her complains till she also admitted that she knows she does that a lot. It was not a pissing contest but it did bring me to this blog post.



I have never in my life felt like I needed to be nice. Now, let me explain. I am not a negative person. At all. I am quite fun and funny, thank you very much. I am also not rude. Not in the slightest. I do enjoy people in small doses. However, I prefer my solitude. Not the kind where I stay in so long that light is unbearable but the kind that likes the peace of her own thoughts. I also hate group think or what I call the sheepish flock mentality. The "let's go" mentality. 

Saying NO was a learned behavior for me. I had to will myself to say, "Hey, I don't think I'm able to do this so No". After years spent on being angry and people pleasing in college, I decided that I didn't have to squeeze myself into shapes to make people feel better. I am responsible for my actions so I do not want to ever say "she said we should do this and even though I didn't want to, I did it anyway because.....I was being nice". 

People are sitting in jail for not saying no. Others are disabled, dead and/or spending the rest of their life living a regretful life because they knew they had an option to say no but because of groupthink or the fear of not being "nice", they went with the popular option of SURE, OKAY. The need to please people instead of being "self-full" is almost innate as humans. Its imbedded in us from childhood when we had to follow rules so stringent that we couldn't even turn our heads in church. We had to greet everyone and sit on every creepy uncle's lap because you have to be nice. If the lack of your niceness or being tagged as uncompromising drives someone away from you, good. You don't need people that do not respect your wishes and choices anyway.

See, saying No can be limiting as well. It can trickle down from a positive place of wanting to protect your space and make good choices to blocking adventure. If you ask me if I'd like to go scuba diving, the answer guessed it...NO. I don't know how to swim. Sure, it must be nice on the ocean floor with all these fishes and vegetation and my Pisces heart will be full....of water because I can't swim. Using your rolodex to help someone find their footing after losing it all sounds kind and nice. You might even go against your best judgment to put them in a position they may directly affect you. Do you say yes to be kind and nice or no because you know how poor work ethic is? 

In my experience, my saying NO has often been seen as either a defense mechanism or an opportunity to make excuses. People are sometimes shocked about how freely I say it because (and try this) the natural response to every question before we give it thought is Yes. So how dare me not want to do something just because they asked? My mother till this day tries to understand why I just don't want to be bothered with my extended family. I say no when she wants me to talk to them. They are not a part of my life and are not entitled to my time.

Today, as you read this know that you don't have to. You aren't mandated to say yes. You can say no. 

This especially boils over when it comes to friendships and money. You do not have to be obliged to help out just because someone you love needs it. This must be such a conflicting choice for you to make but if it does not feel right, say no. How many friends and family have we lost because we knew how irresponsible with money they were but when they came to us for help, we couldn't or chose not to say no, when it was in fact the right thing to do.

Saying NO is a double edged sword. On one hand, you are protecting yourself and doing what is right for you but it can also stop you from experiencing new things. What I want you to know is NO is a full sentence. Use it at your discretion. It is an option. A  good choice too. Don't compromise yourself because you want to convince people that you are nice and yes, people means your family too. 

I say this with the utmost humility. My life is quiet and drama free because I choose who and what happens in my space and I credit that to my power of saying NO.