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I've talked about this topic before. And like many such duplicated topics, I try to approach the second time (or the third) in a different way. Today's word is No. If you wish to be more polite about it, you may say “No, thank you” or “I’m sorry, I’m unable to accommodate your request at this time.” If you’ve tossed politeness to the wind you may have a stronger negative response. But if you don't learn to use it, you're going to feel like this doormat:
I’m talking, of course, about requests for donations of art, for invitations to teach or demonstrate that come with no payment or with an honorarium that doesn't honor your abilities in any way, or for requests from non artists to give up hard-won studio time. No is particularly important when your artwork would otherwise be devalued in donation (typically it sells for lower than market rate) and when your time is viewed as so worthless that you should be expected to give it to everyone who requests it (“We’ll, it’s not like you have to leave work”).
You don’t have to say No to everything—indeed it feels good to give, and it’s important to be able to support good causes—but you want to do so on your own terms, in a way that feels right to you.
When the “be-nice” person inside you is saying should, should, should, even though every muscle in your body is poised to run in the other direction, that’s when to say No.
Over to you: Do you have difficulty saying No? Or have you learned to be negative in a positive way? Please share your stories and advice.
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