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Learning to say "no"

Learning how to say “no” is one powerful skill. “No” is uncomfortable, distressing, harsh and troublesome. It could be terribly difficult, especially when it involves disappointing someone. When we say no, we are putting boundaries to protect ourselves and give privilege to our wishes and needs.

Yet, there is plenty of strength in that single word.

As consumers, saying “no” is giving feedback to the industry on what our expectations and demands are. Behind any product, there are many people working to make what you think you want or need real and palpable. They are pushing their thoughts to make you consider they are yours. The reasons might be countless, either valuable or lousy. Yet, the competence to thrive is educating ourselves on the value of goods over price, which empowers the action of choosing, intensifies that feedback and it sets the rules for the world we want to live in.

Withal, diversity prevails. For instance, wouldn’t it be fair to see in a grocery store an equal space for different diets, such as vegan, gluten- or lactose free, to name a few, instead of just regular goods?

Information is widely attainable and dispersed. We can get a thousand articles in a click on any topic to clear our thoughts and make wise decisions. However, there is another side of that coin. Be honest to yourself: haven’t you ever felt that after reading that one article in a magazine you became fully competent to discuss a certain matter at a high and deep level? It is fine to admit it, it makes us conscious that we may need to delve into more data to come up with our own judgement or, to be convinced further. I will use an example: when it comes to the food claim “natural”, many consumers misunderstand the term and relate it as “healthy.” Actually, it refers to a foodstuff with no artificial or synthetic ingredients, beyond its impact on health (or not.) That’s all! Again, the industry might be pushing and playing with those internal dissatisfaction and desires of ours, using familiar words with a double or blurry meaning, with the aim to sell more, thus generating and promoting consumption.

Saying “no” is a powerful action. It should be expressed with a solid foundation to make it sustainable, and not just a whim, or a fashion. Saying “no” is requesting an alternative, not obliging a change. And only when facts and good reasons back this up, moving forward will be just a matter of... living.



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