No. It’s a simple little word that is easy to think about but hard to say. Some people hate saying no because they are afraid to hurt others’ feelings or disappoint them. In contrast, others experience stress and anxiety when they think about saying no.
The truth is saying no is empowering. Saying no is not a disappointment. Saying no means I cannot help you with this issue right now.
However, before we get to why saying no is so empowering, let me share a quick story with you.
The Opportunity I Should Have Said No To
The world of content writing has changed due to AI writing tools and detectors. I have purposefully stayed away from AI writing. I do not understand enough about AI to use it. I worry about plagiarism and losing my voice in my writing since it pulls information from different sources to create 1 piece of content. Additionally, I prefer to research and write my own content.
Recently I applied for a food writing gig. I sent the potential client my latest food article, and I received a message saying 99% of the content was AI-generated. You can imagine my initial shock, and I quickly told the client that I do not use AI to write my content.
We set up a meeting. The client then accused me of using AI again in the blog post. I politely conveyed I did not use AI to write the content.
Eventually, they gave me a test article after slashing my original price. The requirements were that the content should be 80-90% human generated. They also said I would not be paid if it did not meet their standards.
After we got off the call, I ran some of my articles through 3 different AI checkers. They all came back saying some form of AI had been used to write the post, even though some of the content was nearly 3 years old.
With this in mind, I took extra precautions for the test article. I wrote the document in google docs so the client could go back and check the document history. I also ran it through 3 different AI detection tools.
Why I Should Have Said No Right Away
Here’s why I should have said no to this opportunity:
- I was accused of using AI writing tools more than once, even though I told them multiple times that I did not.
- I researched the topic (not just Googling the topic but actually sifting through scholarly research articles) before crafting the article in question.
- They used a paid AI checker that I was not about to buy. So even if I ran the content through a different AI checker, the results would not be the same.
- I was under the impression that the article was 1000 words long. It was 2900 words long.
- My price per 1000 words was cut in half.
- There was no guarantee I would get paid for my work.
Ultimately, I would have saved a lot of time that I could have used to work on other projects if I said no.
The point of this article is not to bash the potential client. The point is learning to listen to your gut when something doesn’t feel right and say no.
Before we discuss why saying no is so empowering, let’s visit the good book to see if there are any valuable insights.
What Does The Bible Say About Saying No
Just because you are a Christian does not mean you should say yes to every request. As Ecclesiastes 1: 3 says, there is a time for everything under the sun. This includes saying yes and no.
Mathew 5: 37 says let the words you speak be yes or no. In other words, say what you mean and mean what you say.
It does not tell you to say yes when you really want to say no. It is very clear, so if you cannot do something, say no. If you can complete a task, say yes.
As Christians, we pride ourselves on serving others. But the truth is if you are a yes person all the time, you cannot serve others well.
You will experience burnout and stress due to the number of things you said yes to. Plus, it will be impossible to give 100% of your time and energy if you say yes to 10 different tasks when you know you can only handle 3 tasks.
Furthermore, if you are a yes person all the time, you won’t be able to serve yourself. If you are too busy serving everyone else who is taking care of you?
You won’t have time for self-care because you will be taking care of everyone else’s problems. You will run yourself ragged and before you know it you will be frustrated that you didn’t say no in the first place.
As a Christian, it is ok to say no. You can still serve others and say no.
Why Is Saying No So Empowering
Saying no is equally important as saying yes. By saying no, you are empowering yourself. Saying no means saying yes to freedom, agency, and personal boundaries.
Boundaries are important. Saying no should be on everyone’s list of boundaries. No means that this particular task conflicts with my boundaries, which is unacceptable.
Remember, your boundaries are designed to protect you. If the person does not understand why you are saying no, it is ok. You are not obligated to say anything to them beyond no.
Agency refers to whether you feel in control of your life and your ability to influence your thoughts and actions, as well as the ability to handle different situations. You are uniquely wired to know what you can accept and deny. You have the power to say something doesn’t feel right about this situation, so the answer is no.
Saying no is freeing. It means that you are in control of your own life.
You are saying yes to what you can handle and cannot handle. You are saying yes to what you will tolerate and won’t tolerate. You are saying yes to experiences that align with you and no to the things that don’t. This freedom promotes agency and decreases stress and burnout.
How Do I Know If I Should Say No To An Opportunity
Saying no is not easy. So you have to consider whether this is something you can or can’t do. If you are still contemplating whether or not to say no, keep in mind, learning to say no upfront will save you a lot of time. Furthermore, you will put your energy into projects that align with you.
The first thing you need to know is that every opportunity is not for you. You can’t say yes to everything. Otherwise, you will end up burning yourself out over something you never wanted to do in the first place.
The best way to figure out if you should say no to a task is to ask yourself these 4 questions:
- Can I give 100% to this specific task?
- Am I crossing any personal boundaries?
- Am I saying yes because I feel obligated to say yes and not because I want to perform this task?
- Does it feel like the right fit? Does it align with my values?
If the answer to any or all of these questions is no, then say no. Do not say yes because you don’t want to disappoint the person or hurt their feelings. It won’t end well.
Remember saying no is healthy. Saying no empowers you by giving you freedom, agency, and personal boundaries. Be bold and courageous. Say no confidently and politely if you cannot do something.