This article discusses the issue of saying “No” and how difficult it can be, especially when we wish to create or preserve a positive image. However, it highlights the importance of learning to say no, especially in certain circumstances, and why it’s important to the preservation of self and to our psychological well-being in general. Sills highlights five circumstances in which is definitely the right answer: to preserver one’s principles and values; keeps you from being taken advantage of; keeps you focused on your own goals; protects you from abuse; and when you need energy or strength to pursue change. Sill also distinguishes saying “No” from negativity, especially with regard to how “No” can save us from negativity.
The author also discusses the neurology of saying “No” (how we receive, react/respond to, and process “No”). Sills also provides the reader with to be consistent with no and ways to say gently but firmly “No,” including not automatically saying yes (say “I’ll think about it” instead); carefully chosen words; keep your emotions in check; maintain your responsibility to others; realize that your “No” may help others (like protecting your family); and rehearse/practice saying it.
I think this article is amazing and wise. Often people are too quick to say “Yes” even when they don’t want to because they want people to like them (I know I’m like that). Also, like Sills says, we associate “No” with negative, which isn’t necessarily true, and I think we forget that. “No” can be a source of positivity too (like saying “No” to buying your alcoholic friend alcohol). “No” allows us to establish and maintain boundaries so that we don’t find ourselves in abusive, draining, exploitive, or otherwise unfortunate circumstances with others. It’s fine to want to help people and want to say “Yes,” but we have to be careful doing that. Otherwise we may end up tired and drained and resentful.