Don't Say Yes if You Can't Say No

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 @ 1:33 PM

I believe one of our biggest stumbling blocks to a sense of peace is agreeing to do things we really don’t want to do.  The good news with this problem is we have all the power and control to change it.

I can’t count the times in my life when someone would ask me if I would take on a task that I really really REALLY didn’t want to do.  “Jondra, we need someone to cook 200 pounds of pasta and sauce (I’m exaggerating, of course)  for the event next week…and we all LOVE your pasta.  So, would you do that?”  (Notice the compliment?  Just a little added touch to make it harder to say no. Very clever.)

Without skipping a beat or taking a breath, my response pours out of my mouth:  “Sure!  I’d be happy to!”  The second those words leave my lips I am regretting it and beating myself up for not being able to say what I really want to say.

I got tired of feeling frustrated and resentful and decided to impose the 24- hour rule on myself until I was able to think on my feet and say “no”

The 24-hour rule goes like this:  When someone asks you to do something…pause…take a breath….and tell the person something like, “That sounds good, but I can’t give you a yes or no right now. What I can do is call you tomorrow when I know for sure if I can do it or not.”

Most requests are not in need of immediate responses, despite what the requester may say, and you may have to repeat yourself a few times.  But that’s ok.  People are simply used to you always saying yes.

Of course, there will be those things that need immediate answers, but even if that is the case, just the time it takes to say you need 24 hours, may be the delay you need to give the answer you really want to give.

Jondra Pennington