The difficulty in saying ‘NO’

The plate was loaded. The hands tied. But refuse I would not, I could not rather, not to him, not to her, not to anyone. So I acquiesced  with a non committal nod, the classic Indian nod, which like a palindrome,can be read either ways! Most intelligent people I interact with considered it, my nod i.e., an indication of the highest level of commitment. The Indian nod is funny enough but mine borders on weirdom. But that’s another story.

As I went on being the yes-minister nodding my head happily and taking on tasks that I knew were not exactly my cup of tea, I was burdening myself with a whole lot of avoidable stress and guilt. The weight of unfulfilled expectations hung around my neck like an albatross.This was becoming a pattern.I even tried the disappearing act, unsuccessfully,and was spotted and taken to task by the taskmasters.

The desire to stay relevant, to be validated, to be acknowledged and to please  is perhaps the reason for my hesitation to say No. My good friend, Google suggests that I am not alone in thinking so. Apparently,the difficulty of saying No is a universal malaise. It goes without saying that this bit of information felt just great.

Well, it was time for some action and I decided to take out a card hitherto not played.

The ‘NO’. The word NO.

I started flashing it oftner…

What a relief that was!

It felt liberating.

I am sorry, I can’t help. It’s difficult etc became the norm of the day. These replaced the ‘I will try,I am kinda busy, but will do it’ etc.

I did  end up losing a few friends and well-wishers in the process but earned a lot of space for myself which was more than rewarding.

No with a capital ‘N’ is my best buddy these days. And I can’t tell you how much I have gained by saying No. If you don’t believe me, you should try it yourself.

Gurucharan Das did well to write a book titled’ The Difficulty of Being Good’. But how about a sequel titled, The Difficulty of Being Bad’. Should be interesting!



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