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By Anisia Jones

In life, especially in professional life, everyone has priorities. It is not wise to let others infringe upon your load or rights to meet your obligations. Life is full of circumstances that too often may hinder our ability to have all that we need or want. Saying no to a friend or to a relative has never been an easy undertaking, especially if the favor being asked is of great importance. But can one be forced to say “YES” even if it is going to paralyze an already-structured schedule? Most experts agree that when someone in need comes in to ask for a favor, what makes it so difficult to say no fore-grounds on these following reasons: sympathy and empathy, culture and traditions.

            To begin with, it is a very natural thing for human beings to feel pity and compassion for the suffering of others. Therefore, when someone faces you with a problem, and you try your best to see what you can do to help, this makes it difficult to retreat or stop trying should the problem continue to persist and it’s taking too much of your time trying to solve it.  However when you show empathy a-priory for you understand the person’s difficult situation as you try to put yourself in the same shoes, that lives almost no room to say NO to a needy person.

            Moreover, many of us keep this vivid memory of this fable “there is a no-man who lives on an island,” meaning that I might not need anyone today, but tomorrow might be a different story.

            In addition, the culture, traditions, beliefs and practices we are raised in could be a great factor in our paralysis to say NO. Helping one another is an integral part of the daily living in some cultures—neighbor helping neighbor, brother helping sister.  People who decline to give some help to needy neighbors and friends are seen as very inconsiderate, and, to the extreme, they are instantly written off as members of that particular society. This kind of belief is passed on from one generation to the next. Anyone from this kind of culture will always treat others with a lot of respect.   

            In conclusion, although we want to help our friends for we love them and do not want to leave them in need, I believe we have to be very vigilant when it comes to helping others. Many friends abuse their friendship by taking advantage of others’ kindness; because they know they will not be turned away, even when they could work hard to solve their problems on their own. Saying NO to people, even if it is your close relatives and friends, could be the best way to exercise control over the ever-growing stress level.

            So, Be Smart!

Note: Anisia Jones is a student at Florida Community College at Jacksonville. She wrote this piece especially for CSMS Magazine.
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