How many resentments begin when we are not clear with our boundaries and limits, when we say ‘yes’ out of a feeling of fear or obligation, when our real answer wants to be ‘no.’ And just as we have to be willing to say ‘no’ on a large scale, such as to issues like torture and the terrorism of war, and be prepared to take on the consequences of making such a bold assertion, Gandhi will tell us that we also must be capable of saying ‘no’ to those who are dear to us, to those who comprise our sphere of families and friends, those with whom we live. To be able to do this with respect, which is essential, we must gain a deeper understanding of our needs, desires and strengths and be sure of our affection for them. We must be willing to accept that the other party might not want to hear ‘no,’ and might not understand at first why we are saying it. They might even threaten or try to manipulate us to change our ‘no’ into a ‘yes, still we are not obliged to succumb to any coercion. We can prepare ourselves to say ‘no’ by remembering that it is in being honest with ourselves that we can best serve others. Not to mention, it renders our ‘yes’ that much more sincere.
Consider how to make your ‘no’ a ‘no’ with love in your heart.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org