The Hardest Word

Can you guess what it is? It's just two letters. In fact, they're even next to each other in the alphabet. That's right, it's NO. Just a small little thing, but it has the power to change things if we would be willing to use it. 

This week I had to pull it out of mothballs when a project I really wanted to be a part of just didn't fit my current season of life. I'd been putting off pulling the plug on it because I just knew that if I rearranged this and moved that around, I could find the time to make it happen. I could shoehorn it into my life. But the more I tried to do it, the more I thought about it, and the longer it hung over my head, the more I knew what I had to do. 

And so I wrote the email and as soon as it was sent, I felt a weight lift. I'd known all along that I didn't have time to do it, but I so wanted it to work out, that I was willing to go on and on, trying to make it happen. But here's a lesson I've learned...don't force things. If it's meant to be, then it's going to fall into place without the aid of a hammer and chisel.

Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

No. It's such a simple word, that wields so much power. What if more parents said it to their kids? I wonder if I would look around and sigh quite as much as I do now, or shake my head over the state of the world. What if we said it more often when advertising agencies told us what gimmick would make our life easier? What if we used it when tempted by all the things that we think will make us happier, but never do? What if we said it to toxic situations/people or to unhealthy habits? 

Or what if we said it, as I did this week, to opportunities that look good. In fact, really seem like something we'd enjoy doing, but the timing is all wrong, and they end up adding more stress instead of being enjoyable? I didn't want to write and send that email, but the (almost immediate) response I receive confirmed that I had, in fact, made the right call to use my little word. And all week, ever since I said it, I've felt freedom. The freedom to say NO to good things can be as freeing, sometimes more so, than saying it to things that we know are bad for us. It feels like freedom and power and progress.

I can say no to good things if they are good things but bad timing. What about you? What was the last thing that you said "no" to and felt good about once it was done? Don't be afraid to use this tiny powerhouse. 


  1. I try and remember “No.” is a complete sentence.




A reminder: there are more than 400,000 words in the English language, please use them wisely.


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