I have had a good childhood. I have been pampered, been apprehended time and again when there was a need to restrain my wild surges, have been provided with everything I needed and most importantly, got an undivided attention from my parents (as I was biologically late to my family party). But then, there have been times in my growing years, when I have thrown tantrums of the worst kind, when I did not get what I thought I wanted so desperately at that instant, despite knowing the truth deep down inside that what I may have wanted at that precise moment may not have really been that important to me outside the fit of that one passing moment. My mother being the strong personality that she is, was stern in terms of discipline and as I grew, we had our differences (although as of today, we are best of friends). Her NO to something in those days bruised my ego badly and I wanted that thing even more, just to prove her otherwise. However, my father being the cool person that he is, voiced his NO in a way that there could be no further debate/argument/discussion over it. His NO was a NO and final. It was the dot period to all the idiosyncrasies I managed to pull out of my hat of tricks. It was never rude. It never sounded superior. Most importantly, his NO never hurt. And more so, it would slap that question on your face, sans any minced words, “What part of a NO is unclear?” The question camouflaged the essence – “Learn to accept a NO for an answer”
Coming to the present day, where I am a mother myself, I find myself in umpteen uncomfortable occasions where, saying a NO to my son, or saying a NO to friends or saying a NO to even myself has been taxing, or more appropriately put, testing! On a lighter note, I agree I have been a royal pain in the neck for my parents way back then. But, I get to taste my own ego battles with my son, as making him understand a NO to chocolates, late night TV watching and playing all day long out in the sun exhausts my patience and energy alike. And not just as a mother, but even as a social being, making a point across when one is drowned in a whirlwind of coaxing and cajoling, has been an effort. And then, more often than not, we tend to go with the flow. We are either too scared to voice a NO lest some 'feelings' get 'hurt' or perhaps, we are too doubtful about ourselves that a NO doesn't find its way out from the tongue and, when it does come out, it turns out to be a YES. And then, the suppression of the real self beats the hell out of the conscience that somewhere one did not do what was required to be done. And then, all it takes for a person across to understand a NO, is the right moment, the right words, the right tone with a touch of appropriate humor.
So the question stands, “what part of a NO is unclear?” So, next time when you feel you are just appeasing a falsified ego of a person sitting right across you, while the real feeling is to not do it, then you might as well say a firm NO in the right tone, laced with harmless humor. And if that NO fails to create the required impact, it means it is time to give yourself more importance than you usually give, meaning a relation as that is not worth your time. Period.