Life is short. We only have enough time to do things which are important to us. There is also opportunity cost to how we spend our time. Going to a night party might deprive us of hours of sleep.
Saying no can be difficult. First off, someone is asking you to act. On some level it seems unfair to the person to say no. Again, it feels good to respond to the call, because someone else thinks you are worthy to be called upon. However, I think saying too many yes-es will prevent us from getting things done.
It is true that we ride on the shoulders of giants. We come into this world, and there are readily available tools to help us. So it seems we have to reciprocate the help society gives us. But if we spend most of our time attending to the bidding of others, we will not be able to respond to our life’s call.
I have already said saying no is difficult. I think one important shift we have to make in our thinking is to avoid making our default answer to entreaties yes. We need to guard our time jealously. Yes, this is selfish, but good selfish. Besides it’s my opinion that most people don’t need what they ask for. A friend will request a loan for an unnecessary gadget, repaying becomes difficult, and your relationship sours. Most requests on your time are needless; there might be a better way of resolving the need than your presence. Therefore don’t make your default answer yes. At least make it- I’ll think about it.
If someone asks you for something and you feel uncomfortable about it in your guts, say no, or seek time to think about it. Don’t do things that will make you miserable. Don’t be in any relationship where the other person abuses you, or makes you feel less like a human being. Say no to them. Don’t try too hard to change them either. In the end you can’t change people if they themselves don’t want to change.
Even say no to people who you are helping, when helping them makes you start hating them. You don’t want to be hateful or miserable, so say no.
Saying no isn’t only about others. Sometimes we need to say no to ourselves . You need to say, “I am not going to allow myself to do this. I am not going to eat that junk food. I am not going to allow that awful person to make me as miserable as he is.”
Keep saying no. Say no when you are getting depressed. But hey don’t worry about being unable to say no in those times. As I told a friend sometime ago, don’t get depressed about getting depressed.
Say no to your bad habits. We all have bad habits. I for one am very lazy. I also sometimes think people have motivations which are non-existent. I mean, I sometimes think people want to take advantage of me, without good grounds for thinking thus.
The paradox is that saying no saves you time to be there for people you care about. I don’t believe in abstract love for all humanity. Of course we feel the suffering of others. We should help when we can. For me, it’s not my life goal to love strangers. I will respect them; their families can love them. I won’t sacrifice time I can use to help a friend for a faceless person far away. This is just me, and how I think. So saying no to others will make it possible for us to be there for people we love.
Thank you for reading.