Arguably, no is the most powerful two-letter word in the English language. (If you can think of a better one, I am all ears.) Although, on the surface, no is a negative word, we are going to delve in the positive side of no.
No, I do not know.
Despite redneck movies to the contrary, not knowing something is not necessarily a bad thing. Can you think of three things you do not want to ever know?
- The height which truly scares a 4-year-old tree climber.
- The feeling of touching a 2,000 degree kiln.
- When or how Mate or I will die.
- How many Styrofoam pills it takes to fill the vacuum canister.
- The cost of replacing a pool pump with a Hot Wheels car stuck in it.
- It is almost impossible to flush a grapefruit down the toilet.
Think of this no as an opportunity to learn what (not) to do.
No, there are not any more.
Things which should never be on this list include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Toilet paper
- Clean towels
Things which should be on the list:
- Crime statistics
- Bad health news
- Exit interviews
Composing the list of only negative things is the ultimate goal. Making sure the necessities are on hand is an integral part of creating a stable home. Keeping the negative things on the list is as well.
No, we cannot do that.
This no is the key to time management. Learning to say no to some of the opportunities to (go, do, help) is also a key to sanity. Despite the fit of your cape, you cannot possibly say yes to every request for your (time, resources, money) and still maintain your lifestyle and sanity.
While this is not an endorsement to embrace avarice and sloth, it is an endorsement to not feel guilty for not being able to (volunteer, endorse, fund) every cause which comes to call. Consider your beliefs and priorities before you agree to save the (day, whales, world).
An important addition to this list is the ability to say no to more work. It is an exercise in the adage: The more you do, the more you are expected to do. When you take on additional assignments, especially ones which do not increase your pay, you are creating an environment which leads to abuse of your generosity.
No, we will not talk about that.
Probably one of the hardest things to avoid is mordancy. It truly has no winners. When you talk bad about someone you look smaller. It destroys trust your Quaint places in you by opening the possibility you may one day speak that way about Quaint. Better to say nothing at all than to speak badly.
If you cannot hold it in, go to the person and discuss it. Perhaps, you have jumped to a conclusion which is mitigated by circumstances you do not know.
Another application of this no is gossip. Even if you know what you are saying is the truth, you may not know how much damage what you are saying may cause. When you feel like someone should know a truth about Quaint, ask Quaint to disclose. After all, it is Quaint’s responsibility.
The only exception to this is when someone is in mortal danger. Do not wait for Quaint to tell Child to get off the railroad tracks when the guard rail is down and the whistle is blowing. Do wait for Quaint to tell Child about that embarrassing cross-dressing incident in high school.
No, I do not accept this.
This no does not apply to the facts in life, like gravity, but it does apply to bad behavior. Some of the things on the no acceptance list include:
- Verbal, emotional, sexual and/or physical abuse
- Crime and/or abetting crime
- Enabling abuse, crime and/or addiction
Ridding yourself of the poisonous people who engage in these destructive behaviors is one of the most difficult things you will ever attempt, especially if you care for them. Love does not conquer any of these behaviors.
If you are engaging in these behaviors, you are not loving yourself, Quaint, Mate, Parent or Child, or any other member of society.
Getting help for the person may be beyond your control. Offer help. If it is turned away, remove yourself from the destruction. You would not stand in the middle of a blast zone. Do not stand in the way of the shrapnel of bad behavior.
Loving from a distance hurts, but is a necessary means of survival. Have the strength to say, No, I do not accept this as a healthy part of my life.
What other no is a positive portion of your life? What other things can be added to the lists? When has saying no meant a positive change in your life?
© Red Dwyer 2012
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