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My First No... #StartANewLife

No... (Image Source)
It started during my college days. May be being away from home, in a hostel, brought out this particular side of my personality that was till then dormant.

At college and especially in my hostel, I was the go-to person for my friends. And proud of it.

Any problem anyone had, I would be called upon.
I helped do Isha’s laundry, because she had left finishing her essay till the last moment.
Smita kept me awake for many a night, either talking about how great her boyfriend was (when things were good between them) or how difficult life is (when the two of them had one of their many quarrels).
I would miss an India-Pak match to help Preeti do her Science Project (although I had done mine well in time).
I took Sneha’s mother’s call, and lied that she was sleeping, when she was out with her boyfriend. For this last one, I was strolling near the hostel phone for almost an hour, just to ensure that no one else received the call.

I can go on and on, but I think you get the drift.

I felt needed. I felt loved. And I was popular. Life was good. Or at least it seemed so.

As I joined my first job, I was popular once again (and felt needed). I was helping everyone left, right and centre. So what, if more often than not, I got no credit for all the hours I had put in. I worked on festivals, because some colleague came to me with puppy eyes, saying he needed to go home to be with family.

Did you notice that the word ‘friend’ had now been replaced by ‘colleague’? And I was popular and felt needed? The love was lost.

When I think back to these times, I realize that saying yes to any ‘favour’ anyone asked of me had become a way of life. ‘Favour’ doesn’t exactly describe my magnanimity though, as there was hardly even a sincere thanks in return.

I was over-worked. And I was being taken for granted too.

Then I got married. Into a Joint Family.

The same tendency continued at home. I would try to do it all. I would do my best to please everyone.

Obviously, there is not enough time ever to ‘do it all’. And foolish me… I was trying to be the consummate perfectionist.

It was ‘International Women’s Day’ and a psychologist had come to our office for a 'Motivational Self-Help Session'.

She had a list of questions. She said if we think the answer to any of them is ‘yes’ for us, we need to re-evaluate our priorities in life.

The first question was ‘Do you feel the need to be liked by one and all? Do you think if someone doesn’t like you, you are not good enough?’

She went on to elaborate on this, saying that it is important to be able to disappoint others, when needed. One cannot be happy without being a little selfish.
One has to be able to say NO. Unapologetically.

The colleague sitting said he had to go out with friends. He asked me to lie to the boss about the time he had left. I refused. I said no.

And I felt liberated.

Not that I don’t say yes at all, not that I don’t lend a helping hand to my colleagues and friends when needed, not that I don’t strive to be a perfectionist to the best of abilities… I do.

But I also say No, when I feel the need to. There is no compulsion to be liked by all.

I like myself more now...


  1. Absolutely. It's the most liberating word in the entire vocabulary. I still feel guilty if I say it, and sometimes I end up compensating by being extra polite to that person- so I guess its not easy to say it. But still, I continue to hope someday I'll say it confidently.

    1. Thanks, Dr Sweety. It is so good to see you on my blog. Welcome... and I am happy to see that we can relate to each other on the 'No'...

  2. I have been through the same and all I can say is, "Learn to say 'no' to the good so you can say 'yes' to the best." - John C. Maxwell

    Nice post! :)

    Check out my entry-

    1. The perfect quote to summarize my post, Radhika... Thanks :)

  3. Nice post Nimi, yes it's very important to judge and say NO.
    We, have nominated you for awards

    1. Thanks a lot for the award... I am glad you like my blog :)

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks a lot, Kahkashan. I am glad you liked it...
      And such a beautiful name you have :)

  5. You cannot please all, true words! It's not an easy task, but so essential, at times, to spell out that simple word NO. Nice one!

    1. Thanks Susmit. I am glad you liked my post and relate to my thoughts of 'no'...
      Welcome to my blog :)


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