Body part: mouth LICENSE TO SAY “NO” TO HALF THE THINGS PEOPLE WANT YOU TO DO
While this first posting comes rather late, it is not for lack of use of this license. The effect of carrying around this card has been tremendous. I just recently read “The 5 Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die” which actually recommends carrying around a card with one important personal goal on it as a way of implementing that change. As art has paralleled psychology in the past, it is exciting that this work implements recent progress in self-awareness, personal development and self-hypnosis. Of course many of these lessons derive from ancient teachings and have been in the collective awareness for quite some time in the form of religious texts, practical application of the lessons in terms of self-knowledge and change have only recently begun to reach a wider audience. I look forward to seeing more works of such social and personal relevance.
As far as my implementation of “saying no”. Coming from a cultural background where expectations abounded and conflict was something to be avoided at all cost, I have witnessed the damage caused by a lack of direct communication from misunderstood intentions to passive aggresiveness to health problems. I grew up with a strong tradition of never saying no, but trying to say yes in a way that offended least and still left room for my own interests. After years of using this strategy I have found that it leads, if anything, to more hurt, pain, suffering. Part of saying yes compulsively is the fear of rejection or the fear of what you think other people will think. William Ury (author of “The Power of A Positive No”) has said that in order to get to “yes” we must first know how to say “no”. By stating no positively as opposed to reactively, we affirm our own mission in life, compromising nothing. As far as the fear of offending others, I have found that saying “no” from this state of self-awareness has little or no impact. It is as if others sense your state and are less likely to react (no matter reactive they might have been in the past).
I am posting this now because I hope that others will have had similar experiences with their licenses. I wish that all art works would continue to expand peoples’ awareness in such a personally relevant way.