Yes and no

It’s okay to say no

Have you ever been caught in a situation where you said yes to someone when you really, really, really wanted to say no? You meant to say no. You rehearsed it in your head. But when it came down to it, the word yes tumbled out of your mouth and you were stuck in a commitment you didn’t have the energy for or even want to do.

Years and years ago when I was two years old, saying no was never a problem. It was my job. It was a natural response to anything asked of me. As time went on and I grew up, I learned that saying yes was a better response most of the time, but then somehow I went a bit too far and completely lost the ability to say no.

Saying yes to someone when they need your help just seems like the right thing to do, doesn’t it? To not help would be rude…right? Wrong.

You have to change the way you think and realize that when you say no, you are not being negative or unhelpful. You are not rejecting a person. You are simply not able to add their desired task to your already busy life.

It’s important to take care of yourself. One of the ways you do that is by lessening the amount of stress in your life. Stress can wear on your body. Add that to a daily life of MS and you get hit with a double whammy.

I have discovered that people are happier to accept an honest no than to be given a yes filled with delays and uncertainties. Saying no is not the end of the world either. It’s not a bad word. I have never seen a mountain crumble because someone said no to their friend or boss. I haven’t even felt the earth shift from its rotation. Seems all is well and the world keeps going round and round.

Your life is precious and it’s time for you to honor yourself. Get rid of the over commitments and stop feeling guilty for using the dreaded no word.

How do you do it? How do you say no when everyone is expecting you to say yes?

You just do it. You open your mouth and let the words tumble out.  You can add in some politeness by saying “no thank you,” but say it with a smile and without tripping over yourself to explain why. It may take some time to get use to doing, but you will feel lighter and be able to breathe a bit better because of it.

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About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

18 replies
  1. Robin francis
    Robin francis says:

    I really appreciate this page I’ve had MS for 28 years and still a young 44 year old , I’m entering my biggest challenge which is that my papa as terminal cancer , but I’m positive because the one thing I have to do is make sure I don’t decline mire than I have . But I always wake up with a smile and my cares get me up even though sometimes I just want to stay in bed but then that’s letting the MS win . I’ve enjoyed my long journey and look forward to the next 28 years

  2. Jess Tbsah says:

    I used to always put myself out for every one else, now I’m working on using the N word (no) more especially when it’s family that want you to do something for them but when i can’t bring myself to say no I avoid their calls

  3. Shelley Sharp says:

    Since MS I definitely have had to slow down. I used to be able to do yardwork, make supper and go out in the evening but now it takes all day to do the yardwork and I’m done.

  4. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    That’s pretty right Penelope. I have ha to ‘say’ no many times with the MS monster. One hard thing to do was resigning from the Community Patrol team that I was involve with. My MS got a little worse so rather than having an accident I bowed out with a bit of dignity.
    But there have been several other ‘no’ situations in my time and I have learned to say ‘no’ when I need to, but that has to be a personal choice, realizing you have changed and things are different.
    Don’t feel bad about it, it’s not your fault, they should know better.

  5. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    26 years with the monster and wish I was in the good head space you are. Still spend way too many hours angry and despairing. You ARE inspirational. Just taking the time to sit down format and share your thoughts is huge!!

  6. Leslie Beaver says:

    “No” is very important to us. And saying no to ourselves is most important of all. When you have made plans, large or small. You must sometimes admit to yourself that today is not the day after all. That errand or small household chore will just have to wait. “To thine own self be true”.

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