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WHAT I'VE LEARNED -- Speaking Yes and No

Originally posted on Nov. 24, 2014


From the book "The Art of Worldly Wisdom" by Baltasar Gracian, translated by Martin Fischer:

"Know how to refuse. Since you cannot accede to everything, or to everybody, it becomes important to know not to accede; and especially in those who command; for here enters manner. The No of one man is more esteemed than the Yes of another; for a No that is guilded may be more satisfying than a Yes embellished.

There are many who carry an eternal No in the mouth which with they spoil everything. It always comes first, so that even when later they grant everything, such answer gives little satisfaction, because of the bad taste provided by the first. Refusal should never be flat, the truth appearing by degrees, nor should it be absolute, for that would cancel dependence, wherefore some remnant of hope must be kept alive, to sweeten the bitterness of the refusal. Employ courtliness to fill the void of the denial, and let pleasing words disguise the failure of action. Yes and No are quickly spoken, but they demand long consideration."


As a parent, I have learned to take long and deep breaths and enjoy the moments and delay the moments before speaking Yes or No. I must say, I have gotten very good at this...to the point where my reply may not come until a day or two later...let them wait, as I'd rather digest what needs to be digested so that I can give the most appropriate Yes or No answer. May you employ the desire to slow the relay movement between the hearing and the temptation of the immediate action of speaking Yes or No.

Go for it! My love and joy

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