Yes or no that is the question

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 14, 2005

We live a nation of material and opportunity abundance. At first, this may appear to be an advantage over those with fewer resources. However, there is a trick.

One of the saboteurs of Feel Good in America is getting caught up in the abundance without making truly conscious decisions regarding our participation.

Since there are so many opportunities knocking at our door, we have a tendency to get absorbed by them all. We get overwhelmed by all there is to do. This is often followed by discouragement about how we don’t have enough time to do it all, get caught up, or do the things we really enjoy.

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Often the reason we feel so much isn’t getting done is that we set ourselves up to do more than our time allows. We say yes to too many things and no to too few. One of the secrets of living in joy, then, is to learn to say no with more conviction, with more conscious choice. Only in giving ourselves the freedom to say no with full permission will we have the time and resources to say yes to the things that really matter to us.

Since we can only take action on a small percentage of the thousands of needs around us, it can be helpful to decide to which two or three percent we really want to respond.

Say no to the telemarketer, to the salesman, to your child’s request for more. Say no to eating more, going more, doing more, staying up later. Say no to consuming more alcohol, more bread, more sugar. Say no to another invitation, another chance to help.

With the extra time and energy you now have, say yes to enjoying every bite. Say yes to calling a friend you haven’t spoken to for months. Say yes to sleeping in. Say yes to having your devotional or meditation time. Say yes to the hungry. Say yes to putting in a dedicated day’s work.

Say yes to giving that donation. Say yes to talking nice to yourself. Say yes to finding the silver lining in your life circumstance.

Saying yes to life satisfaction means saying no to that which doesn’t deeply call you.

Sometimes we have trouble saying no because we have trouble finding the words. We may be self-conscious about &uot;how&uot; to say no.

I have included below 12 ways to say no. Pick a couple of your favorites and practice often. If you’d like a larger list, contact me and I will send a list of 73 more ways to say no.

12 Ways to Say No


No thank you.

Thanks for thinking of me, but I’m not available then.

That doesn’t work for me.

Thanks for the offer, but I’m not interested.

I’m sorry, now’s not a good time for me.

No, I don’t agree with that.

Thank you, but I’m going to pass this time around.

I’m sorry; I just don’t have the time to do it justice.

The enthusiastic part of me would like to say yes, but the rest of me is overcommitted.

I’m going to pass. I’m really trying to slow down my pace these days.

No, that’s not really my thing. Please choose someone else, thank you.

I am excited to see how this opens you up to the good feelings that come with saying yes

because you want to, rather than because you feel obliged to, think you should, have to, or just don’t think before you speak.

To pick the yes that energizes you, say no with enthusiasm!

(David A. Larson, a licensed psychologist and life coach, may be reached at the Institute For Wellness, 373-7913, or at his Website,