The Art of Saying No

I’ve been out in our yard a lot lately. Pulling weeds. Picking up bark mulch that flew out of the flower beds and into the gravel. Pulling more weeds. Sitting and staring out into the yard trying not to drool.

All this time in nature has been wonderful for my soul. Being around rooted things brings me back into balance. Computer stuff, writing, document formatting, answering e-mails activates the thinking brain. Nature activates the body and when viewed with appreciation and gratitude, activates the soul – which in turn clears the brain and helps it process data more clearly.

While all this balancing happens, I’m reading some self-help books. One particular book focuses on clearing and staying in the moment. Several exercises directed by the book involved looking inside to see where certain aspects of my past might be holding me captive and locked down. One focus activity didn’t really feel like much of anything. The next, maybe a little. The next one, wow! Knocked me flat. Oh, ouch! I found a sore spot I didn’t even know was there.

Fortunately, the book is about clearing, so I’ve been repeating the exercise/activity to get clearer. I’m still not totally clear, but I’m getting there. (Tapping Solutions – any of their books offer great processes!)

As I’m looking at these past situations and clearing them, I realized how many times I didn’t say no when I really wanted to. I felt forced or driven to say or do something that was not in alignment to who I am or at least who I wanted to be.

It feels like being a child where I was not allowed to say no to my parents set me up to not say no to anyone. I certainly don’t like to see children arguing with their folks and being bratty. At the same time, it would really be great if we could teach our children to say no, thank you.

When my son was little, he would say, “No-danks!” when offered something he didn’t want. Usually, his “No-danks!” was honored when I could grant him that liberty. If it was “No-danks!” - I don’t want a bath or bedtime, then our response may have been a bit different. I would let him decide if he would rather play with his cars first or read a book first, but the bath or bedtime was not optional. (He loved baths, btw.)

I was not granted those liberties. It was how my parents said and that was it.

So, when friends wanted me to do something marginal, I went along with it. I betrayed myself and I had been still carrying that regret. Suppressed regret sucks a lot of energy! It’s like holding a helium balloon down. Not a lot of weight to it, but it wants to lift up and fly away. Over time, holding that down takes a lot of effort! Looking at past regret seems scary or, like in my case, I didn’t even know it was there! I had to be prompted into conscious awareness of its presence. Once I discovered its existence, I wanted it gone!!! I’ve taken off a few layers and as more lifts up into my awareness, I can release that, too.

So, learning to say “No” appropriately would have really helped me.

It’s never too late to learn!

I’ve shared this with you before – maybe you remember the story of the neighbor who repeatedly borrowed my car the only day I could get it. She would keep it all day and I’d have to RUN to get my errands and groceries done before I had to pick up my husband at work.

One day, I absolutely didn’t want to do that again. I couldn’t say “No” but what was I to do!?! I prayed about it. When she called, I prayed again. When she asked to borrow the car, out of my mouth came the response, “I’m uncomfortable with that.”

Lo and behold! She just said, “Okay. I’ll see if I can borrow Suzie’s car.”

Knock me over with a feather! I was 25 years old and it was the first time I’d ever said any form of “NO”. It was easier than I thought!

Here are some other creative ways to say the “No” word . . .

· I’ve done that for you in the past, but it doesn’t fit for me now.

· No, Danks! (lol)

· What other options do you have?

· Hmm. That’s not going to work for me.

· Maybe another time, but not this time.

· Can I get back to you on that?

Remember: Giving an excuse can and will be used against you. I can’t because . . . sets you up for all kinds of manipulation about whether your excuse is valid or worthy enough to turn them down. Don’t go there! Stick with a clear (as clear as you can get) “No-danks!”

Part of my clearing process led me to recognize that I’m holding on to regret to keep myself from making the same mistakes. What?!? The clearing process helped me also realize that I’m not the same person I was 30 or 40 years ago. I have a few more tools

in my personal toolbox and my spiritual toolbox. People pleasing or going along to not make waves isn’t a tool I use anymore. I have power tools that support and guide my path. Regret doesn’t keep me safe at all . . . it just keeps me locked down and exhausted!

Time to toss regret out the window and into the ethereal recycling center. I shed a few tears. Acknowledged some fears. Shed a few more tears, then tossed regret out. I did the best that I could with the tools I’d been taught. I can live with that knowledge and grow and be free.

I feel as if I’ve healed a really sad and lonely part of me. Perhaps more will bubble up down the road. For now, I’m free.

Take a few moments to see what regrets may be lurking. Things you could have done, but didn’t. Kindnesses withheld. Things you didn’t like doing or didn’t like the results. That was then. This is now. Breathe and let go of regret. You are learning a much more powerful way of being that blesses you and those around you.

Test drive a few new “No-danks!” comments and find your favorite. Let me know if you come up with any new ones that I could use, too!

It’s okay to say, “No” when your heart and soul are not in harmony with something being asked of you. People will find their own way. That’s what God is for. Let them ask Spirit for help and assistance. Doors open that you could not do for them. Trust In Divine Source (God/Spirit) to do what is necessary. Trust gives you energy while regret steals it. Trust and be free. We can learn this together!

Brock Brown