Keynote

Making Friends With the Word "No"

"Wielded wisely, No is an instrument of integrity and a shield against exploitation. It often takes courage to say. It is hard to receive. But setting limits sets us free." By Judith Sills Ph.D., published on November 5, 2013 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

Here are notes from the Conversations with Cinthia show that airs on every Sunday at 4PM on Faith Talk1360 KPXQ

There comes a moment when you say "Don't call me," and you finally mean it; when you return the charming gift because you forced yourself to acknowledge its invisible strings; when you turn down the friend's request for a helping hand, the colleague's plea for immediate advice, even the teenage son's expectation that dinner will appear before him—all because you have goals of your own from which you refuse to be deflected. Whether trivial or tormenting, each of these moments is an exercise in that poorly understood power, namely, the power of "No".

There's a lot of talk, and a lot to be said, for the power of Yes - It supports risk-taking, courage, and an open-hearted approach to life whose grace cannot be minimized. But No—a metal grate that slams shut the window between one's self and the influence of others—is rarely celebrated. It's a hidden power because it is both easily misunderstood and difficult to engage.

-No is easily confused with negativity.-

It's likely that we are unaware of the surge of strength we draw from No - because, in part, it is easily confused with negativity. Either can involve a turning away, a shake of the head, or a firm refusal. But they are distinctly different psychological states.

-What is negativity?-

Negativity is a chronic attitude, a pair of emotional glasses through which some people get a cloudy view of the world. Negativity expresses itself in a whining perfectionism, a petulant discontent, or risk-averse naysaying. It's an energy sapper. Negative people may douse the enthusiasm of others, but rarely inspire them to action. Negativity certainly ensures that you will not be pleased. You will also not be powerful.

Where negativity is an ongoing attitude, NO is a moment of clear choice. It announces, however indirectly, something affirmative about you. "I will not sign"—because that is not my truth. "I will not join your committee, help with your kids, review your project"—because I am committed to some important project of my own. "Count me out"—because I'm not comfortable, not in agreement, not on the bandwagon. "No, thank you"—because you might feel hurt if I turn down your invitation, but my needs take priority.

And sometimes your needs are serving the greater good, more than you know. It is not always selfish, but protective and healthy. 

Listen to "Conversations with Cinthia" which airs every Sunday on FaithTalk1360 KPXQ or check back on the site on our Radio Page for updated shows. 

 

Friendship: Job and Suffering.

Job Painting

 

Job 2:11-13 The Message (MSG)

Job's Three Friends

"Three of Job's friends heard of all the trouble that had fallen on him. Each traveled from his own country—Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuhah, Zophar from Naamath—and went together to Job to keep him company and comfort him.

When they first caught sight of him, they couldn't believe what they saw—they hardly recognized him! They cried out in lament, ripped their robes, and dumped dirt on their heads as a sign of their grief. Then they sat with him on the ground.

Seven days and nights they sat there without saying a word. They could see how rotten he felt, how deeply he was suffering."

Note: they could only do it for 7 days. When humans do not understand they generally become judgmental and controlling. If they don't have answers the start filling in the blanks themselves. They begin problem-solving because they feel helpless and the pain this person is feeling is now affecting them. It is now affecting my serenity my peace and I want it to stop. Many times you will see other’s defense mechanisms come into ply over your pain. I.e. avoidance, control, aggression, manipulation, etc. which we see in Job's wife. The trial in another person's life is not only teaching, molding, and shaping them; but it is also showing me the other side of suffering this is God's side. He hears our cries and stays with us, he works with their own free will but doesn't control us. He doesn't leave us in the midst of our pain, and doesn't steal our pain from us. He allows for the mystery of suffering to do it’s work and doesn’t get mad, judge, or abandon us in the process. Even if we are not doing it well.

There are two sides of healthy development in relationship:

1. Dealing with my process of trial, hardship, suffering and success.

2. Dealing with another’s success, or hardship, suffering, pain.

Which side are you on today? Maybe both. With whom and how are you doing in becoming more Christlike? Are you using defense mechanisms and being codependent, or Christlike?

Job 4:1 we see Job’s friend Eliphaz not being able to hold onto grace. He couldn’t be present with Job’s suffering, because He couldn’t understand it, it wasn’t “his” way. He had to “do” something. So he became a human with human ideas to do something (Like he was in Chapter 2 of Job). His defense mechanism was “intellectualizing. In contrast, we have Job’s friend Bildad the Shuhite in Chapter 8:1 who had to find something to blame: Job’s children must have been sinning. He then lectured Job with a lot of wisdom, that is cognitively sound, and can be used, but was misplaced in Job’s case. Zophar on the other hand, just told Job to repent and then everything would be fine. His tendency was to “minimize” what Job was going through. Just hurry and repent and it will all be ok. Job finally says:

“Can’t you guys just give me a break?”

“I’m dying here!”

Generally, we do not want advice, or lectures, or idea’s. We really want direct/immediate relief from the pain we are in. We can’t fix it, but we can give some relief. You can be a human “pain killer’ for a moment, Sympathy (not pity) goes a long way. Most of us just want someone to care about what we are going through, not judge our process and to real ize we are probably doing the best we can. If we could do better, wouldn’t we?

Let’s be the friend that Job really needed. The ones who enter into his pain, protest and pray with him.