I believe in the power of no. I have been a yes man most of my life. I have spent most my life never doing the things that I wanted to. Take for example my disliking of chicken you would not believe how much fried chicken flesh I have crammed in my mouth just to make someone happy. The truth of the matter is that I would rather be miserable and have people like me than be happy and have people upset with me.
From a very early age I started on the dark road of yes. In grade school I was the proud owner of a toy jet fighter. Now this was no ordinary jet fighter, it was bright silver. Wings that swooped back while in hide speeds, but could be pulled open for strafing runs. Few toys could compare to such a masterpiece. I could have traded that toy for any toy on the play ground, but instead I traded it for a yellow blob of metal that one time in its life must have been a truck. As I grew, it became increasing hard to say no I just wanted to say yes to everyone. I wasn’t one of these yes men who would say yes and then never do it. If I said yes then I did. More and more was asked of me, the more I felt that I was being ripped apart. It was never anything major, maybe driving to the movie even though I had driven every time before, or accepting the blind date, who just had to be the future Mrs. St. John.
One day after being tormented with tons of favors and requests I just had enough and was trying to figure out what I could do to make everyone happy. It hit me; I could just say no. hey, If it worked well enough for the Reagans then it was good enough for me. So out I went into the world with my new found weapon. I took a deep breath and said no, and just like that, I had seen the light. No longer did I go along with the flow. I was like one of those salmon jumping up the waterfalls. If I didn’t want to see a movie I disliked, I didn’t see it. If I didn’t want to go to the Olive Garden, I said no. Now I know it might sound stupid or too easy, but it worked in my life. It became less stressful, and I was able to find myself. Often I find myself in a world where everyone wants a piece of me; it is so nice just to say no. So I do believe in the power, and the right for every man, woman, and child to say no.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.