How often do you get talked out of your No response when someone asks you for something? Maybe it’s a cute little face begging for another cookie. Relatively harmless unless it’s right before dinner. Maybe it’s a friend enthusiastically convincing you that you should run one more mile with them to earn that margarita after.
Maybe it’s not so harmless when a coworker pleads with you to cover for them on Friday, for the 5th Friday in a row. Maybe it’s a family member asking for rent money, again, when you know they just went on a vacation in Tulum and the month before was because they bought a new car.
Maybe it’s worse, when a first date turns aggressive over pressure for sex. Or you are threatened with a firing if you don’t alter some important documents.
The pressure to do something you don’t want to do can take many forms. People might try to make you think something is “good for you” or “your life will be better” or “you will help someone out”. If something causes discomfort or harm to your body, money or property you have the right to say No to any demands upon them. Your body belongs to you and you get to decide what to do with it. Not your spouse. Not your parents. Not your preacher. If your money or property is shared with others, you still have the right to say what should be done with your share.
We all have the free will to make choices. We are responsible for the choices we make, but we are not responsible for the choices that others make. An underage child, perhaps, if they are under your care. My intent with the responsibility statement is that we are not fixers of someone else’s poor choices. No one should pressure, bully or threaten you to do something you don’t want to do. Bullies know who they can “get”. Don’t give them the opportunity – just don’t be there. You don’t have to be aggressive. Be a brick wall and stand firm. Seek help if you need someone to back you up.
The more you practice saying “No” to small things, the easier it is to say “No” to big things. People will learn you mean what you say and they won’t bother you anymore.
Except maybe for another cookie.