Accepting ‘No’ for an Answer | Opinion

Photo via Pixabay.

The publisher of my memoir informed me that it has been “on hold” because of other projects. It’s coming, but I was upset, as I thought we were close to the release date.

“No,” I was told. “Thank you for your patience.”

In the past, I had great trouble taking “no” for an answer. I’d do what I could to change the answer to a “maybe,” or a “yes.” The squeaky wheel gets the oil. But all that resulted from my nagging was stress for all parties.

I surprised myself by my restraint. I expressed my disappointment and asked to be kept informed. One indication of our emotional maturity is our ability to accept “no” as the answer. 

Throughout our lives we’ve all learned that if our expectations have been for a “yes” and we get a “no” it can create feelings of anger, depression, resentment, and fear. If you feel as if your future happiness, safety, and healthiness, and that of your loved ones, depends entirely upon getting a “yes,” then getting a “no” can feel unacceptable and grounds for war.

We all get “no’s” throughout our lives. Most of them are small things and easily handled, depending upon our age. Learning how to handle the “no’s” is a very important life lesson. 

“Can I play with my iPad?” “No. Set the table.”

“Can I enroll in your university?” “We regret to tell you your application has been denied.”

“Will you marry me?” “No, I’m sorry. I don’t have the same feelings you do.”

“Will I live to be in my daughter’s wedding?” “I wish I could say ‘yes,’ but I can’t.”

“Divest your financial holdings in companies that do business with Israel.” “No.”

In November, a little over half of the voters in the United States will get a “yes,” and the others will get a “no.” Half of us might feel fear and half of us might feel anger. Some people think the future of our democracy is at stake, while others feel that the moral health of the nation is what’s being decided. Some people are already threatening violence if they don’t win. Other Americans are hedging their bets by purchasing property in another country. Are any of us prepared to hear, “no?”

Of course, I want my candidate to win. I fear for the future of younger Americans, especially those who are marginalized because they’re different. But I’m trying to prepare myself for a “no” and also be aware that if I get a “yes” I need to be sensitive to the devastation many other people will feel.

As kids, we used to taunt the opposition, whether it was a sibling playing cards, or another high school playing basketball, “We won because you lost because we won because you lost,” sung to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne.” 

Emotionally healthy adults, those who value the human family, don’t taunt when they win. Spoiled children taunt.


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305



Got a juicy lead or story idea? Let us know!



Out South Florida

Hello from OutSFL! We hope you'll consider donating to us. Starting a business can be a scary prospect, but with your support so far, we've had tremendous success. Thank you!

donate button