Arual Laura Cammurata.jpg
A few days ago, the suggestion was to say yes to life, to be open and ready to take the opportunities that come up. This is not a contradiction: it is, rather, self-protection. You can’t have a charmed life unless you’re able to say no. You don’t have to give reasons, excuses, or explanations. You can just say no.

There’s a message on my cell phone right now that totally floored me when I heard it. It was someone I know slightly asking if she could stay here once in November and again in December. But she just stayed here in October. The answer is: “No.”
Before getting some level of comfort with this one-syllable — but often hard to pronounce — word, I’d have done one of two things. I might have said yes, resented it, and run roughshod over my dear husband who can handle one, maybe two, guests a month in this two-bedroom apartment, but certainly no more than that. Or, I’d have gotten all huffy and written back something like, “You  must have me confused with somebody named ‘Hilton.’ I’m sorry: this is not a hotel.”
With “no,” I don’t have to be a either a pushover or a jerk. I can just say no. I don’t have to lie —  “We’re having a bed bug infestation” … “We have to join the Witness Protection Program” … “Darn, Brad and Angelina will be here those nights with all the kids….” — I can just say, “I’m sorry, but this time I can’t help you.” Period. End of story.
So: if you need to say no, say no. You don’t have to have a “good reason.” If you just don’t want to do it, that’s reason enough. Sure, there are times for sacrifice and stretching yourself and going the extra mile. But not every time. Not when you can feel that you’ve sacrificed, stretched, and hiked as far as you’re humanly able for the time being. You say no. You take care of yourself. You rest. You refresh yourself. Then when the time comes for saying yes, you’ll have your wits about you.
Photo credit: Arual (Laura Cammarata)
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