Focusing is about saying no. – Steve Job
written & edited by Kendall F. Person
In 1979, a soap opera named General Hospital, along with the cast, would begin an odyssey, never seen before and never since in scripted daytime television. The love affair of Luke & Laura, that turned sci fi, captured a nation’s attention every day at two o’clock.
Dr. Leslie Weber was a main character of sorts, but not really one of the more influential roles (not inclusive of her returns after 1984). But one particular storyline, it too would be forgettable, if not for the fact, that we knew NO was the answer, and when she said “Yes,” she was charged with a murder, committed by Laura, her daughter.
The importance of self-introspection cannot be overstated. It is paramount to taking a meditative vacation, deep inside ourselves. There should be no surprises and thus no shame nor fear, nothing to prevent from going all the way in.
Without taking moments of silence reserved for no one or nothing else, how do we connect the dots? How do we learn from our past mistakes and how can we rise above the clouds, if we are not willing to stop, think and learn from the path we have already traveled?
A self-inventory of our past,
benefits our present and our future.
Think of all the disappointments, then extract the ones we have caused others. Think of all the time wasted on concocted excuses and unnecessary apologizing. Remember the arguments and the crying, “You should have said no. But you said yes, and I depended on you.” Saying yes when you can neither afford to or do not have the time, or worse yet, just to rush them off the line, is a temporary shield to hide an undeserved shame or uncomfortableness, that we interpret in their perception of our ‘no’.
When Laura confessed to her mother, that she in fact, had committed the murder that all the townspeople were talking about, Dr. Leslie Weber grabbed her hysterical daughter and said “Tell no one else. I’ll protect you.” When the investigation led to the Weber home, and the detectives inquired as to if Leslie had been at Hamilton’s apartment, she said “Yes”, but the truth was no. Arrested and put on trial. Her life was devastated and all the while Laura kept quiet, even though she knew it was a lie. When Dr. Leslie Weber took the witness stand, in her own defense, it was an antonym of the phrase, for when she was asked “Did you kill David Hamilton?” No, is what we thought she would say.
Unintentionally, Laura killed David Hamilton but basically in self-defense. And due to so many backstory factors, she would have never been charged. So not only was it all in vain, but when Dr. Weber answered “Yes, I killed him,” and the jury found her guilty, and she was sentenced to life in prison, and could no longer practice medicine, or enjoy the embrace of her husband, she had also risked it all on one chance, for she no longer could protect her daughter, her sole reasoning for saying yes.
Not doing what we say we will do,
has actual consequences,
sometimes with devastating effects.
Yes is the response we most wish to give. Rather it makes us feel good to say it or we feel shame in saying no, is a distinction without a difference, because it was never about us in the first place. It was about the person who asked.
So when your best friend calls in a bind and needs to borrow money, yet you have none to loan; or when a coworker asked if you can help her move, but you have other plans, and no intentions of showing up; or when the valet ask if you are okay to drive, and the amount of liquor consumed is way passed yours and the legal limit too, do not think of yourself. Think of your friend who is now in jail, because you said Yes and he asked no one else. And your co-worker is out two hundred extra dollars, that she did not have, because of the late fee from the rental truck because she waited on you. And think of the little girl, when she awakens from her coma, and discovers her mother has gone to heaven, hit and killed by a drunk driver.
Yes has no meaning, when not supported by actions or truth. And no is not a bad word, just a statement of fact. And if you still think the two are interchangeable, search the ABC archives for Dr. Leslie Weber.