The Art and Grace of ‘No’

Life is full of questions, and questions are a substantial aspect of life in general. The insomniac dilemma of should or should nots; the severeity of decision making; the worry of whether to move forward or not; the anxiety of the answer. Questions in life are like the water in a watermelon, comprising about 90 percent of the entiriety. Except, life doesn’t derive it’s name from ‘questions’.

Thankfully not – it’s the apparent hiddenness yet omnipresence of questions affecting humankind which make them even more enticing to a mind. Usually, the appeal is after the solutions are sought and the answers found – prior to that the questions are different beasts; which need to be tackled, fought, defeated or overcomed. It is after the ‘beast’ is down and you triumphantly put a foot over it that one thinks about the learnings and takes them into deeper consideration. That’s when the lessons transform into philosophy. Let’s just say, a philosopher is just a PTSD patient who’s slayed too many of the ‘beasts’, aka questions.

It is pretty evident then, that the dominion of a question depends on the answer. Upon further, easy introspection, one realises that the true power rests in a negative response – a quick positive answer to a question dents the question’s potency to affect and teach. Clearly, the root of all things related to postive growth in a question comes out of a negative answer.

People generally say, ‘learn to say “no”‘. Which is fine, but more importantly I say, learn to accept a ‘no’.

Lots of arguments have been made in support of saying no – it is not an easy task. You need to be sometimes blunt, while you need to be crafty on the other times. It is about staying true to yourself and being honest – either brutally or subtly.

However, if you learn to say ‘no’ to protect yourself, you must also accept a ‘no’ to protect others around you. If it is an art to say ‘no’, it is very gracious to accept a ‘no’.

A no is a no, however skillfully wrapped and presented. A blunt no may hit you like a dagger through you, a subtle one will pierce itself slowly and agonizingly the more time you give it to seep in. A ‘no’ is never easy to handle – even if you expect it; the actuality of it is still difficult to deal with. It is our habits, to visualise a ‘yes’ and build around it in our sweet paracosms. That little high is one of the best feelings around – a smile etched on the face, a happy endevour throughout the day. The extra levels of dopamine can induce newfound traits – hitherto unsuspected patience and acceptance as such. The future is planned on the basis of a decision not in our hands. And then, the ‘no’ comes and it shatters the mirage.

Sometimes, an pessimistic soul can see through the mirage, and can prepare to lessen the blow. The soul then haughtily claims itself to be ‘realistic’, not pessimistic. It berates itself and others with “What did I tell you?” and “What else did you think was going to happen?”

Here, then, comes the part where the ‘protecting others’ concept comes through. Naturally, after a negative response one considers the type, reason and scope of it. “What type of ‘no’ was it? Was it a ‘not yet‘ type of ‘no’? Or was it a ‘never ever‘ kind of no? Or was it plain ignorance? Maybe it was a forced ‘no’?” One tends to over think on it. The more you think, the more obsessed you become. The more obsessed you become, the more you have the potential to ruin things. Similarly with the reasons, and the scope. “Can I convince them if I try again? Should I try again? If I try hard enough, will it be a ‘yes’?” I’ve learnt to accept the finality of a ‘no’. It is crucial to understand that the ‘no’ pings, but pestering further and pushing on is not going to change things. Nine out of ten times it will create more trouble for them – damaging their peace, their schedule, their monotone. From their disturbance, nothing great can stem for you. Thus, inherently, for your own selfish regards, it is wise to let a ‘no’ be a ‘no’.

What about you, then?

You see, sometimes it is about time. Or distance. Both play a huge role, literally and figuratively. A person far off may be ‘just a text away’, disregarding the effect of time needed to reach them, but the actual distance does matter. Nothing will ever equate to an earnestly spoken word, complimented by a pair of penetrating eyes which seep into the heart. However, at times, the text actually hits the mark, and the distance becomes a moot point, and the time spent becomes valuable.

It is then you must understand that not every yes is a victory and not every no is a loss.

Sometimes it is about peace in general – sometimes venting the question is almost the answer. Sometimes the question ceases to exist in it’s former stature the moment it leaves your lips. Sometimes, the question doesn’t exist – it just is a weird manifestation of the overthinking epidemic rampant in our generation. And when it comes to a ‘yes’, you’re never sure that the ‘yes’ you’ve got is what you needed. Sometimes you get a ‘yes’ when you needed a ‘no’. Which isn’t very ideal. Sometimes you think you need a ‘yes’ but you get an actually needed ‘no’. Sometimes there’s a gut feeling of peace, which suddenly sets in. And, as someone very wise told me, “There are two moments when that gut feeling serves right – when you know you’ve done your level best and it is worth it, or you’ve craved and had junk food.”

So, there will be situations when a ‘no’ gives you peace. That, is the dark beauty of a ‘no’.

Not every ‘no’ is a pain.

Not every ‘no’ is a dagger.

It is all about peace.

Yes or no, may peace be upon you.

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