It’s A Simple Question: Yes or No?
Most of us were taught at a young age to say yes or to say no to certain things. Red Ribbon Week, for example, is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country. Every year elementary schools host a Red Ribbon Week with the overarching theme being to say no to drugs.
As children, the rules of what to say no to and what to say yes to are simple. Say no to bad things and yes to good things. Another idea that most of us were taught at a young age is to do the right thing and treat others how we want to be treated. The older we get, the more difficult it is to decide what to say no to and what to say yes to. Now our yes and no responses have much greater impact on our quality of life in the present and in the future.
A Yahoo! Voices article, ‘Teaching Kids to Say No’ by Kyla Matton, tells us that it is important to teach kids to refuse firmly. Matton says that if the skill is not taught at a young age, it has to be taught in college classes and in management workshops for full-grown adults. She says this is because so many of us were taught to get along and try hard to please everyone all of the time.
Upon reading this, it made me realize that I am a people pleaser. When people ask me to join something, take on responsibility for something or to help them with something, I usually give it consideration but end up saying yes. Quite frankly though, you cannot please everyone. This is a lesson that I have had to learn during my second year at the UA. Freshman year, it was a little easier to say yes to this and yes to that because I had more time on hands and was trying to establish my place here. This year, things got a lot busier, yet I was still in the mindset that I could commit myself to all of the organizations that I was a part of last year.
Possibly the greatest thing I have learned in my two years at the UA is that it is okay to say no to things. Some people may not have this problem and can easily say no to anything. But for others, like me, saying no is a skill that needs to be worked on.
According to Grace Fleming, an online author, “Learning to say no to people is one of the best things you can do for yourself.” She offers four reasons why you should say no when it is appropriate: people will respect you, people will see you as more dependable, you will sharpen your natural strengths and your life will be less stressful. She clarifies that there are times when no is not an appropriate response, such as when a teachers asks you to do your homework or to live up to your responsibilities.
As the year comes to the close, it is important to really think before accepting a task or saying yes to something that may move you away from your goals.
It is so easy to say yes when invited to go out with friends, but when you know that your test is the next day and you don’t want to spend all night cramming for it, it is probably best to say no. If someone asks you to help plan an end-of-the-year banquet and that is not in your list of duties or will not fit in your schedule, no is probably the option that you want to go with.
It may seem like common sense, but when actually faced with the temptations of college and wanting to do everything, it is a lot more difficult than it may seem. Remember why you are here and whose happiness is important. Before you are quick to say yes to any and everything, remember the words of May Parker from the Spiderman movie series, “You’re not Superman, you know.”
DeShaun Artis is a Traveler columnist.
His column appears every other Tuesday.