When asked at one of her concerts how she manages such a busy life, Christian Music Artist Mandisa replied with something that she has learned over the years. “No is a complete sentence.”
It seems to me that I’m not the only person who has struggled with saying no, or just giving a straightforward answer in general. When we’re asked to do things we aren’t sure about, or if we feel bad giving someone the answer we really want to give them, we tend to dance around questions, giving answers that really have no foundation.
If someone asked me to be a part of something, I have a hard time ever turning them down. Blame it on my desire to be well-liked or call me a workaholic, but typically the reason I can’t say no is because I feel guilty saying it.
We’ve forgotten that no is not a negative word. We can say no to people sometimes, and still be their friends. There are only so many hours in the day. There are only so many things one person can do. It’s alright to say no, even to people we love.
It’s also easy to get stuck in situations that seemed good, but no longer are. Just because something was good once doesn’t mean you have to stay in it now that it’s gone bad.
I’m not encouraging people to be quitters. I’m not saying that as soon as things get rough, you should bail out. What I am saying is that life is too short to stay stuck in situations we could get out of if we simply say no.
In life, we all have to choose whether or not to value people, value their time, and value what they bring to the table. Not only should we value others, but we should know our own value.
I’ve stayed in situations I didn’t like because the people I worked with made me feel important, and I’ve left situations I loved because I knew I wasn’t being valued or appreciated. It’s not a matter of being stuck-up or self-righteous, it’s simply that I know where my efforts and investment are best-placed.
This week, I want to encourage you to think about how different your life might be if you stopped being scared to say no. Then, put it into action. It’s a big world. There are a lot of people in it. And there are many things to be done. However, that doesn’t mean any one person has to try to do all of it.
Surround yourself with people who value you. Show other people in your life how valuable they are to you. Don’t keep pouring effort into every thankless situation you feel obligated to.
Set yourself free. Just say no.