Dress Rehearsal manuscripts (July 2021)




For this example, we are using the strategy of imagining a rehearsal of a scene, where you’re being asked for something that you are neither willing nor able to say “NO“.

This is a lesson that every individual needs to practice in order to protect themselves from a life of unreasonable service to the “privileged” in our lives.

The expression, “This is no time to learn to swim when you are drowning” fits here.

Rehearsing “no” in your mind to an anticipated request is not the same as saying “no” to someone who is standing in front of you.

Julie Murphy says, “Tone is the hardest part of saying no.” When we feel pressured to say “yes”, we may respond with defensiveness, annoyance, or with childlike submission. By practicing, we develop that ability to stay focused on the request and the answer. Writing out the rehearsal helps, deepening the experience and slowing down the story as it unfolds.

It is useful to practice saying “no” in situations that have low emotional overtones. What would one or two of those situations be for you? Perhaps it is as simple as how to say “no” to someone who wants you to have a second helping of desert. Write out your response. Practice it out loud in front of mirror or on a recording.

Move on to more challenging situations. Who is the person? What is the context? What do you see as the consequences for yourself and/or for the requester?

Then, write out your response. Short is good. A brief explanation may be appropriate. Review your rehearsal for the “detours to “no”. Rewrite it until you are satisfied. Practice. Invite someone that you trust to listen and provide you with feedback.

If you have issues about saying “no” in office contexts you may benefit from the use of a template. “Office ninjas” offers templates for responding to e mails asking you to do various things to which you want to respond politely with a “no”.


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