The Yes behind the No – Sequel

How often have you received a NO for one or more of your requests or questions? Several times! What do you start feeling when the “door” of No is closed on to you? Your feelings might open up; Embarrassment, Anger, Sadness, Irritation!! And That’s quite natural.

And Why do you feel what you feel? Some of your needs are not met because of the “NO”. Let us understand this with the help of an example.

Vanita(wife) to Prakash(husband):  May I skip that family function?

Prakash: NO.

Vanita is angry at the “No” she just heard. A typical response when one is angry is either to dig up any past unpleasant experience or raise one’s voice or start judging the other person. What if Vanita could handle her anger, calm down and ask herself “ What is Prakash saying “Yes” to?”. The conversation could be something like this.

Vanita: Prakash, I see that you are keen I come along with you to the family function? What is it that you are keen about?

Prakash: I need your company and want to attend the function as a couple.

Vanita: I need some rest and there are a lot of chores to be done before I can step out.

At this juncture, both Vanita and Prakash have stated their needs. Now, it’s up to them how they would like to fulfill each of their needs. Prakash could assist Vanita in the chores or Vanita could push the chores to some other day. There are several ways both their needs can be handled.  If nothing works out, Vanita could still say a “ No” and stick to it.

The trick :

The whole trick is to identify and manage the initial emotions that arise when one hears a ‘NO”. You may then identify the “Yes” behind that “No”.  

Step 1: Identify your emotions and acknowledge it.

Step 2: Identify the “Yes” behind that “ No”.

Step 3: Talk it out.

The Steps to managing a “No”

Step 1: Identify your emotions and acknowledge it.

Managing emotions involves identifying the emotions and acknowledging it in your mind. Following examples give you an idea of how exactly it could be done.

  1. “I am feeling sad that my dad refused to buy me a new game.”
  2. “I am angry that my leave request was rejected. I wanted to go on holiday with my friends.”
  3. “I am embarrassed the security rejected my entry into the apartment.”

And it’s so natural to feel what you feel when you hear a “ No”. Acknowledge it and empathize with yourself.

Step 2: Identify the “Yes” behind that “ No”

Now that you have identified and managed your emotions (and it’s not as simple as it logically sounds here!), pause and ask yourself “ What is the “ Yes” behind the “ No”?”. Here is an example of how it works. (This is an actual conversation between me and my 11-year-old son.)

Child: Amma, Could you download a game for me?

Me: Hmmm, Well, I am not for it

Child (voice raised): Do you know that other children do not ask their parents before downloading the game?  Please, Amma.

Me: I am sticking to my No.

Child (calms down, thinks and then….): Amma, what are your worries about downloading the game for me?

As you see, the child is exploring the “ Yes” behind my “ No”.

Step 3: Talk it out.

Once you have explored the “Yes” behind the “No”, talk it out.

While I said “No” to the new game, I said “Yes” to studying, eating on time, healthy eyesight etc. We then got to discussing and found a solution. My “ No” turned into a “Yes” with several riders attached to it!

Are these steps so easy and logical as they sound?  

A big No!

How exactly can you then manage the “No” and master your emotions associated with it?

Well! Only by failing to manage it a couple of times!! You may want to adopt a process of self- reflection after each emotionally charged unsuccessful “No” experience. Your self-reflection could involve the following questions :

  1. Did the “No” carry me over to an emotional upheaval?
  2. Did I identify the “Yes” behind the “No”?
  3. Did I talk about my needs and the other person’s needs as well?
  4. Could I have responded differently?
  5. Did my reaction arise out of judging the other person?  
  6. Did any of my beliefs limit my response? Could those beliefs be changed?
  7. Do I need to get back to that person and resolve it?

Going through this self-reflection process after an unpleasant “No” experience would fine-tune your response mechanism to future “ No”s.

The Final Word :

A “ No” to your request is a “Yes” to something else. Identifying that “Yes” can help you deal with the “No” or sometimes even help you convert it to a “Yes”.

Despite following the steps 1 to 3 as suggested above, the “No” might not change to a “Yes”. Do we get everything that we wish for? Not always? So, dust the “No”, relax and move on.

I leave you with this quote from Dodinsky “The key to being happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go.”  So, accept the “No” and let go of the unpleasant emotions associated with it.


Mathangi R, Educator, Ekya J P Nagar

Here is part 1 of The ‘YES’ Behind The ‘NO’ :

The ‘YES’ behind each ‘NO’ – Ms. Mathangi Rajasekaran, Teacher At Ekya School JP Nagar

Posted by editorjpn

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