I have so many thoughts when it comes to the topic of saying NO, so I'll just dive in.
NO & Thank-you!
Saying NO, quickly followed by a thank-you implies I have welcomed the invitation, or simply that it has value to me. In the case of responding NO, saying thank-you creates the opportunity for unwelcome behaviour to be perpetuated. By simply saying NO, it sends a clear message. One that stands its ground, and in my opinion is not rude or offensive. Saying NO builds my character and helps me define what I stand for. It also enables me in making faster decisions as I share my voice. That being said, the tone I use when saying NO is with great consideration of the circumstance and recipient.
Saying NO helps with communication
I had an experience with a close friend of mine a couple years back where I found myself not being able to say NO. I became wishy-washy and uncomfortable. It make our discussion about a specific topic very confusing and a bit nerve wracking for me. I don't even recall what it was about anymore, I just remember the experience. When I finally came around to saying NO, we discussed why it took so long and how it was out of character for me. For whatever reason (that I was making up in my head) I was unable to explore her request further. I did not feel empowered to stand in the place of NO, even though I knew it was right for me to say so at the time. That's the thing with NO, you need to know exactly where you stand before you can commit to it. And since it is a strong stance to take, it pays to be informed from all angles before you take it. So while I am comfortable saying NO when I need to, it is not something I take lightly. Being really clear on why I am saying NO provides me with the confidence I need to speak up and share what I have to say.
Saying NO sets boundaries
There is a deeper level of listening and self awareness required to appreciate someone saying NO. It is a clear boundary, even though it can come from a place of fear it is a boundary nonetheless. If I am in a situation to explore the meaning behind the NO then I may do so with an inquiring mind, although that is not always the case. If you find it rude when someone says NO then perhaps you are being rude yourself and imposing on others. Perhaps there is a boundary being stepped over that you are unaware of. I have certainly tripped over some myself, it is always a learning opportunity. If this is the case then it is time to face yourself. Take a look in the mirror and notice what comes up, that is what you need to see within yourself. Take some time, and be gentle with yourself as you embrace what comes forward. Allow yourself to feel through it. Perhaps you need to set some boundaries with yourself, your life and the people in it.
In the face of NO
There is grace in receiving, especially in the face of NO. We hear NO all the time, and it is a trigger for many. It can often spiral into thoughts of self doubt, self worth and belonging, often bringing forth a feeling of failure. Standing in the face of NO requires immense self reflection, a respect for humanity and a commitment to learn and grow beyond one self. Standing in the face of NO facilitates these things if you are open to it and paying attention. It can lead you down a path you may never have expected, perhaps even leading you towards your true purpose in life. If nothing else, standing in the face of NO truly builds character. It can cause both breakdowns and breakthroughs, which go hand in hand. Only then can we see what truly matters.
If you've read this far, I thank-you! I recognize that many people will even say NO to reading this post. This is not an exhaustive list on the topic, so please feel free to add to the list in the comments below.