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Learning to say, "No".

Since the 1980s when Nancy Reagan famously began an official battle on the influx of drugs in the United States, the word 'no' has gained more and more attention. And while many folks may debate you on the effectiveness of just saying the word, learning to know how and when to use the word effectively can possibly reduce some stress from your life and increase your influence.

Why do people say 'no'?

Alright! Obviously, the word is used whenever we object to something. Most toddlers learn the word early on (or should). Maybe it's right before they reach for something harmful or when they're about to run out into the street. As a parent, you don't want something bad to happen to your child. So, a timely 'no' comes in handy to, hopefully, stop them in their tracks.

As we grow older, a lot of people learn values and character that include being nice, caring, charitable, etc. Those are all great and are among many that can make us all healthy, well-adjusted adults, MOSTLY. The challenge is if we fail to also learn that we have to allow people to grow by letting them do things on their own sometimes, we can stunt their growth and cause us unbearable stress and pressure on pleasing people.

Different circumstances require different responses.

Striking a balance between helping others and self-centeredness is probably a life-long pursuit. That doesn't mean it's not impossible. Many times, though, our inability to tell someone no to a request can actually be detrimental to them and, in fact, enable them to continue down the path of a bad behavior or even an addiction. That's why we have to learn when to say yes and when to say no.

The term "letting people walk over you" comes to mind when describing those who have not learned how to say no. It can be devastating and prevent you from walking in the destiny God has for you if you always say yes to every request anyone ever makes of you. So learning some things about when to give the right answer to a request is critical for both your life and that of others.

Pray and continue to grow in your relationship with God

Knowing God and how He thinks about you is imperative to your growth. He loves you and desperately wants each of us to know Him and walk with Him. The side effect of not always being a people pleaser is a blessing you will discover when you start this walk.

Strive to be a dependable person folks can count on

It may sound contrary to the main point. But learning to be a reliable person that people know they can count on to help has so many benefits. Lifelong opportunities abound for the person found dependable. You may be surprised as doors open for you simply because you became the "go to" person.

Your identity is found in God, not in pleasing other people

Often, people find their identity in how well they please others or how many people they please. The truth is, your real identity can only be found in an intimate, ongoing relationship with your creator. If you want to know the purpose of a thing, ask the creator of the thing. (I.e., God)

Saying No doesn't mean you don't like someone

Getting over the initial heartburn of saying no to someone's request can be difficult. But constantly worrying if your response to someone is the primary indicator of whether you like them or not can certainly cause it. Remember, you and your friends are growing.

Don't let someone pressure you into saying yes

If someone tries to guilt you into doing something for them, it's probably time to step back and evaluate whether that person is the best relationship for you. Think about when you may have done the same thing to someone else. It probably reveals what a jerk you may have been at the time if you were famous for it. Guilt is a manipulative tool used by someone not yet comfortable in their own skin and believes their needs are more important than those of everyone else.

So, get on with it and don't be afraid to say no the next time someone asks you to do something that may not be in either their or your best interest. Yes?

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