Learning to say ‘NO’.

Learning to say “no”: It’s not as easy a it sounds. Don’t be fooled by it’s size, it can be a powerful word.

The D.A.R.E program taught me to “Just Say No” in elementary school. Unfortunately life presents many more complicated situations than just turning down an offer for alcohol or hard drugs. In fact, life often makes you want to say “okay, sure, why not!” to the latter.

I am a terrible at saying no, it just doesn’t come naturally to me. I like to avoid conflict at all times and try to keep everyone happy.

oh, right.

Many times in my life I have been totally overwhelmed trying to do too much because I couldn’t just say that little two-letter word. I can usually keep that up for awhile, until total exhaustion/insanity sets in. It’s been only through trial and error that I’m finally learning how to find the balance between what I CAN do for other people and what I NEED to do for myself.

Yet, even now, I still find myself feeling guilty about saying no sometimes. “Can I teach an extra class for you even though my schedule is already super full? Sure.” “Oh Mango, you don’t want to go in your crate? Okay I guess you can roam free and eat my last pair of unchewed sandles.” I’m working on it.

If you also have trouble saying no, my advice would be to get out of your own head and look at it from an outside perspective. How do you feel if you ask someone for a favor and they reply in the negative? You probably hardly ever think twice about it (unless that ‘favor’ is a marriage proposal or some important career move, but for the most part I’m not referencing day-to-day goings on and not life-changing events).

Also, making up stupid excuses is a cop-out. If you can’t do something or don’t want to do something, be honest. Maybe I’m just jealous because my Spanish isn’t good enough to make up excuses, I can only pull off the ‘Lo Siento, pero no’.

Like with anything, practice makes perfect, so try it today. Although it is Saturday night, so I wouldn’t turn down any offers to go out for a drink. Sorry D.A.R.E.

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