A New Way to Say No

People have the right to ask the question and favors of you, and you have the right to say no.

Some of us are taught early on that saying no to requests from those around us are acts of violation of the relationship but are actually nothing of the sort. It is our right and also our responsibility to draw my own boundaries, rather than expect another person to draw them for me. Author Leslie Jamison learnt this lesson over many years and recently wrote about the art of saying no.

She created a “Notebook of Noes.” On every page, she wrote down an opportunity she had decided to decline: a speaking gig, a magazine commission, an invitation from a friend. Then she drew a line across the page. Underneath, she wrote what saying no had made room for: more time with her partner. More time at home. More time to write. More time to call her mother and ask about her day, and tell her about hers.

What she wound up writing was the story of learning to live a different way. She realized that each time she uttered the word, the world continued just as it always had. The people she had been anxious about disappointing? They were OK. The fear of losing something for good? It often came back, or something else did.

More than anything, however, the Notebook of Noes helped her see absence as a form of presence — instead of lamenting the ghost limb of what she wasn’t doing, she could acknowledge that every refusal was making it more possible to do something else.

Read her full article her, and start your Notebook of Noes today!