Being Better Means Saying No

To many people, being “better” means smiling all the time, being quiet and polite and doing all their chores without being asked. You may picture “being good” as going to school, saying please and thank you and never doing anything to hurt another person. It means being sweet and agreeable.

Well, those actions are part of being a better person. Many times, to be a “better person” you need to say: NO.

Life can be so easy if you always say yes. Yes, you’ll skip out of gym class. Yes, you’ll try to hit passing cars with rocks. Yes, you’ll see if you can take that flash drive without paying for it. By saying yes, you go with the flow. You follow the lead of someone else. You know what you are doing is wrong, but when a group of friends is staring at you, waiting for your answer, being “good” can be hard.

Saying NO can sound mean. Saying NO can make your friends angry. They might not even want to be friends anymore. That can make YOU angry or sad. Being a good person sometimes means standing up for what is right, even when everyone else seems against you. Being good means saying NO.

Saying no can be hard. As your friends are looking at you, saying no can be the hardest thing you will ever do. The problem is that saying yes can be even harder—but not at the time. After all, when you say yes, everyone laughs, nods and slaps you on the back.

But by saying yes to your friends, you could put yourself in danger. You could end up in trouble with your parents, your school or even the police. Saying yes to a cigarette or pot joint might not seem like a big deal, but yes could lead to an addiction that takes years to beat and costs thousands of dollars. Saying yes can hurt your health and cost you years of life.

Saying no can sting. It can make people yell at you. It can make you seem like a chicken when in fact saying no can take all the strength in your bones. People talk about being better people—and saying NO can feel like the wrong way to do it. That’s a mistake.

Saying NO tells the world that you are you are able to think for yourself. It tells the world that you are working hard to be a good person, even when being a good person can hurt.

Talk to your parents about saying NO. Talk to your friends about how hard it can be to stand up to bullies by saying NO. By learning early on when to say that little word, you are on your way to being a better person.