No means No…well…maybe

We’ve been pretty bad bloggers. We can cite many excuses, including assignments and the facts that I’ve launched another project and in the process of launching another…which brings me to today’s story.

photo credit: ecpica

When I was in high school, I used to look up to college students. They were just…cool. My senior year in  high school, a friend who was already in college came home for easter break. She looked thinner and paler than when she left, with dark circles under her eyes like she hadn’t slept for days.

Now, one thing I realized is that, in the non-white communities I’ve been around (including my African family), weight is a big issue. If you gained weight, family will talk about it. If you lost weight, they will talk about it too (there’s no winning). My mother wasn’t convinced that there was food at Cornell, until I took her to one of the dining halls, so she could experience it herself.  When my parents approached my friend’s family about why their daughter wasn’t “looking so good”, her father calmly replied that, as a freshman in college, she had yet to learn to say ‘no’ to things. She wanted to do everything, so she ends up most nights without sleep. He was convinced that when she learned to say “no”, things would return to normal. And they did.

Saying “no” is hard to do. We (at least I) don’t want to disappoint people. So, I say ‘yes’. Most times, I tell myself that it’s for experience. If life as a woman is made up of constant juggling and multi-tasking, I might as well get some practice. Yet, I’m realizing more and more that saying ‘no’ is an important skill to learn. We are no use to anyone if we’re running around, trying to do a million things at the same time.

I should take my own advice.

So many priorities. Learn to say “no” or you will burn out. Having a burningyes” will allow you to say NO to the unimportant. ~~~Stephen R. Covey

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