Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A-Z Challenge: N - No is a complete sentence and an award

Before getting into today's a-z challenge topic, I need to thank Alex at http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/ for passing along this award. I just love the image. Alex is one of our intrepid hosts of this awesome challenge and I am so grateful to him for his support, encouragement, and creativity. Thanks, Alex. I hereby pass this award to: Paul Anthony Shortt at: http://paulanthonyshortt.blogspot.com/ one of my new followers (thanks to the challenge) and a wonderful writer.

Okay, and now for today's topic: No is a complete sentence.

Do you have a hard time saying no? Most of my friends have a problem with this, because they are nice people and want to please others. In most companies or organizations, the busiest people are the ones who volunteer most frequently.

I used to say yes to everything, whether I wanted to do whatever or not. I was so afraid to hurt your feelings or make you not like me or be left out of something. Oy.

Here's the deal. If we are taking good care of ourselves and living our lives in balance, we must learn to say no. And we don't have to give a reason why. No really is a complete sentence. Now, if it's a good friend or family member, we can explain ourselves, if we feel we must.

But if a telemarketer calls, do I have to tell him why I can't talk to him now and why he should take my name off his list? Absolutely not. If Aunt Millie, whom I haven't spoken to in 10 years calls, asking me to do her a favor, do I have to drop everything and do it? No.

This doesn't give us a license to be rude. No can be said gently and even lovingly. You might include, "No, I'm sorry, but I can't." But stop there - don't continue on and say why.

And you must train yourself to stick with your no. It's kind of like when I go to buy a new car, I have certain parameters and a price I won't go beyond, no matter what the salesman says or does. It's the same with saying no.

Is this something you struggle with?
Tell me....


Enid Wilson said...

That's a good advice. Saying No is often very difficult.

Bargain with the Devil

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Congratulations on your award.
Saying no is difficult but I have had to learn to do just that. I would do anything to help anyone one in distress but there comes a times in certain situations NO is the only word I can use,

Kylie said...

Great post. No is my N word for the challenge too. Saying No without providing a justification (to others or self) is a skill I have started learning. To the telemarketers who ask why (as well as many other situations) I try to just repeat my 'No' and leave it at that. An explanation is not necessary. Only required if I choose to give it.

Odie Langley said...

A simple statement but one that is used way to seldom. I find the older I get the easier it is for me to use the shortened form of that sentence. Have a great weekend.

Jack Edwards Poetry said...

Well written and interesting post.

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

Thank you! That's so cool!

And the ability to say no is so, so important. Sometimes you need to protect yourself from things you know aren't good for you, even if others don't realise it.

Karen Walker said...

Enid, this is not an easy thing to do, unless we're heartless.
Yvonne, so true
Kylie, wishing you luck - I still struggle with this one
Odie, it does get a wee bit easier as I age
Jack, thank you so much
Paul, you are very welcome.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Yes. And, I like how you say that No is a sentence. I have been working on saying, "No, that doesn't work out for me." It also helps to know that in saying yes, it won't turn out well. I'll feel resentful or stressed, or not do a good job. No sets boundaries.

Dafeenah said...

Saying no is not my problem. Sticking to the no definitely is. I often find that I allow myself to be guilted into saying yes. Definitely something I need to work on.


GigglesandGuns said...

Very good advice. I took me a while to stay no without an explanation. I got it down and admit sometimes it feels freeing to just say no.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Thanks for the comment, I haven't seen the other posting about Nashville so can't say whether there's a message regarding Nashville or not.

Enjoy your week-end.

Lauracea said...

A friend of mine said she could only start saying "no" when she reached 60! Hmmm...I think we need to start a bit earlier - especially me.

Lauracea said...

Oh a quick addition to that last comment: how come publishers and agents don't have problems saying "no" to submissions? LOL

Laura Eno said...

Congrats on the award! No is a hard word to use, but it's come easier as I get older. :)

Melissa Sarno said...

I think 'No' can be a hard word to say, but I feel I'm pretty good at it. haha. However, I've discovered that you can't ever say 'no' at the office without it becoming a huge problem and that has been a bitter pill to swallow.

Karen Walker said...

Mary, if I say yes when I mean no it just plain feels terrible.
Dafeenah, allowing ourselves to be guilted into something never works, but it's so hard not to feel guilty, isn't it?
Giggles and Guns, I'm getting there, slowly but surely
Yvonne, only kidding.
Lauracea, please don't wait till you're 60 - too much time to waste. Wish I'd learned it earlier
Laura, thanks, yes, it's a bit easier as I age
Melissa, You're right, at the workplace, it's a whole different ballgame.

Brianna said...

I definitely struggle with saying no. Just last week a guy came by selling magazines for something or other and I just couldn't tell him no! I didn't want any magazines, the price was outrageous but I ended up buying a subscription anyway because I couldn't say no.

After he left, I felt awful. In the future I'm going to remember how bad I felt and hopefully that will help me say no!

Jo Schaffer said...

NO is a powerful statement. Sometimes it really is the difference between being an enabler and NOT being one.
And YES should only be used honestly and wisely. Sometimes it's good to stretch ourselves and sacrifice a little by saying YES when we don't feel like it--and other times NO is the only healthy response. (=
I try to teach my kids this balance so that they can be true to themselves and still not be selfish. Tricky.

Joyce Lansky said...

I've actually gotten good at saying "no" in a lot of situations . . . but not all.



Tony Van Helsing said...

The difference between being rude and being assertive can be tricky.

Claudia Moser said...

For sure I can relate to this :)

Grammy said...

Hi, I just say, "I reckon not" and it is not quite so harsh as saying no, and it always works. I have no trouble saying it, just try it..You'll like it. Thanks for visiting me sometimes. Ruby

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Karen, you are so very welcome.
And sometimes people have such a hard time saying no, but it can result in hard feelings and resentment on both sides. Know when to say no!

Karen Walker said...

Brianna, oh, no. That is so unfortunate.
Jo, sounds like you're doing well with this.
Joyce, me, too
Tony, you are absolutely right. I'm not advocating rudeness at all. Just the ability to say what I really feel. It can be done lovingly.
Claudia, most of us can, I think.
Grammy, thanks for stopping by - I like your saying, but coming from NY, people would raise their eyebrows if I ever said "I reckon anything."

Anonymous said...

Karen, first time to your blog -- it's great and I couldn't agree with you more on the subject of saying No.
Now that I've learned to say it, I wish people would accept it and move on.

MM the Queen of English

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

When my kids were growing up, they liked to say I had the word "sucker" written on my forehead. I was a stay at home mom, so everyone thought that meant I had all the time in the world to do XYZ. And, by golly, I did whatever people asked of me. Didn't know how to say no, so I found myself involved in, and mostly leading, every kind of volunteer effort you can imagine. When my husband retired, he found himself in the same situtation, and then the both of us were kept unbelievably busy doing XYZ. But now, at last, we've both learned the magic of the word "no." And I no longer feel the least bit guilty about using it.

Sharon Hamilton said...

Here's perhaps another perspective. I built a successful business which included some 3-4 hours a day telemarketing (yes, I admit it, I was one of THOSE people). People told me no all day long, and I didn't have a problem with it, was used to it. I was looking for the 1% who said yes or maybe.

It never hurt my feelings of someone got mad, and I never pushed the envelope either, insisting to talk to someone who clearly didn't want to listen to me.

I write full time now. When I get telemarketers, I ask them lots of questions, and then I evaluate how good they are. And I tell them. I even suggest where they lost me and where they were good. It's just fun for me, in a twisted sort of way. Consenting adults and all that....

Great post.

Melanie Schulz said...

Actually I learned that lesson some time ago. When I had to watch someone else do what I wanted to be doing because I said yes to something I shouldn't have. After that I have become quite proficent at saying no.

Karen Walker said...

QueenofEnglish, thanks for the visit and the thoughtful comment.
Susan, that's just great
Sharon, that is an interesting perspective - thanks for sharing it
Melanie, ouch, hard way to learn the lesson, huh?

jabblog said...

Indeed, saying no is difficult, particularly politely. When we know the person at the other end of the phone is following a script and trying to earn a living, it's hard to say 'no'. It's not fair, however, to allow a dialogue to continue when the ultimate answer is 'no'. Diplomacy is all.

Joanne said...

I find the older I get, and the more I see and know of life, the easier this is to do, much easier. It's an important place to be at, understanding its value.

Karen Walker said...

Jablog, it's even harder when we love the person and think we might hurt them.
Joanne, that is a good insight - it's about value - valuing ourselves, our time, our energy, our resources.

Tonja said...

I used to be brutal with telemarketers, but recently have softened up. They are people too and probably really hate their jobs. Instead of yelling at them, now I just say, "No thank you. Take me off your list." When they try to rebutt that I say it again and hang up with a softer click.

Arlee Bird said...

I know what you're saying. I often don't like to say no and may even feel a little guilty about it, but I find no much easier to say as the years go by, but I try to find alternatives and solutions if they are available. There's only so much we each can do.

Tossing It Out

Anonymous said...

Oh my heavens. How great. I used to have such a hard time saying No to people (especially my children), but learned that there are times and reasons that it is for my good to do so. Also, I have no problem when someone tells me no they can't, so I need to be willing to be honest as well. Excellent post!! Thanks for visiting me today. Great minds think alike...no? :)

Ann said...

Oh to say, "No" and not be made feel guilty. What a blessing that would be. I am getting better at it though. A thoughtful post Karen, one to give pause.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Hi Karen, thanks for stopping by my blog - I'm returning the favor! Just wanted to reply regarding your comments about Namaste - I'm glad you brought up that point about the different "meanings" we hear for it - there is the "meaning" of the word in terms of translatation, and then there is the larger meaning or intention behind the words and the action of bowing to another. People expand that greater intention in lots of different ways. Namah in Sankskrit is bow, or obedience, and te is you - that's how we get "I bow to you." But the greater intention behind Namaste is seeing the humanity in others, or, as you say, "seeing the light" in other human beings. Either way, it's a lovely and humbling thought. Namaste!

K.C. Woolf said...

Definitely something I've struggled with. I can say 'no' more easily now, but I still have to fight the urge to explain.

One step at a time =)

Julie said...

Congratulations on your award, Karen! Well deserved for sure. :)

This post hit home for me, no is one of the hardest things for me to say. I'm getting better at it, but still struggle with it quite a bit. Great post!

Suzi Banks Baum said...

Dear Karen,
I feel as if I have hit a jackpot, you finding me and me finding you. What a great site you have. And thank you for your comments back at my site. I look forward to getting to know you better.
No is a complete sentence. The story that follows is so much about how I don't feel equal to the statement and perhaps by embellishing it I will convince others. Not to be too theraputic about saying no, but it does call up so much of my feelings of not being enough.
So, I practice on small stuff to give me confidence on the big stuff.
Tons of love to you today. Love, S

Jemi Fraser said...

I have a terrible time saying no! I'm getting a little bit better, but it is a long, tough road for me. Your advice to not give a reason is excellent! I'm going to try that :)

Karen Walker said...

Tonya, I love that - a softer click
Lee, amen to that, only so much we can do - why spend it doing things we will resent later?
Carrie, I love that - I have to remember when someone says "no" to me, I don't get upset.
Ann, if we do it lovingly, we shouldn't feel guilty.
Melissa, thanks for this. It is one of my favorite words - Namaste, I mean. Not "no."
K.C, yup, one small step at a time for me, too.
Julie, good luck. It is a tough one.
Suzi, ditto re your blog. How lovely.
Jemi, hope it helps.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Congrats! And my husband says he's going to write a book "Why Church People Can't Say No" since he has to deal with so many of those folks.

fantasy queen said...

thanks for visiting mine.
i used to have a hard time saying No, but now i'm getting pretty good at it. i take peoples 'no' in good faith and i expect mine to be received with as much grace.

Dafeenah said...

For reaching a 100 followers, I decided to have a giveaway and you were one of the winners. You win a free blog header design or blog button design. You can email me at dafeenah at gmail dot com and give me the details for the design and I will get it done for you!

Karen Walker said...

Diane, thank you. Poor hubby. That's hard.
Fantasy Queen, good for you.
Dafeenah, thank you so much. I'll be in touch.

Hope said...

great post!
yes it is difficult to say no sometimes but it is getting easier as I get older.

thank you for your visit and comment
congrats on your award!

Ronda said...

Hi Karen! Thanks for stopping by. The beautiful Crow's Nest is located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We have a summer home there and love it! I am a yes person, and have a really hard time saying no. It leaves me feeling tired much too often. I have to work on this! I also want to tell you that "Live and Let Live" is my favorite saying. I love it and it is so true, if only everyone would live by this. I really love your posts and cannot wait to get your book. Nice to meet you too!!

Caitlin said...

Thank you so much for this post! This is absolutely something that I struggle with, and if I do absolutely just have to say "no", I always feel the need to explain why.

Congratulations on your award!

Theres just life said...

If we want to say yes to what we want. We have to learn to say no to what others want for us. Whether it be our time, talent, or money.

Thank you for dropping by my recipe blog,

Pamela Jo

Mojo said...

Frankly, I have problems saying anything brief...

"No" is tricky for me, but I think it's for selfish reasons. "No" closes off an opportunity, even though I accept that it makes others possible. I'm impulsive: it's hard for me to turn away from the door already open to devote time to doors already explored.

I'm learning though; every day, a little at a time.