Finding Peace in the Power of Saying No, Even To Yourself
I admit, I had an issue with saying no. I wanted to (make an attempt at least) support everyone, be of service in everything, and show that I was a team player. I didn't want my "no" to hurt anyone's feelings so I allowed my "yes" to hurt mine. I did it to the detriment of not having a significant amount of time for myself, to develop my own gifts or cultivate relationships that were most important to me.
If you're like me, there came a moment when I simply got sick and tired of being sick and tired. Saying yes to EVERYTHING for so long has a way of making you feel that way. I got to a point to where I'd turned off the agreeableness because now I've realized that being charming 100% of the time serves no purpose but to pull my puppet strings. The strings by the way have been clipped. I practice saying no to the requests that are always urgent and that disqualifies my time. If I'm unavailable, I have come to peace with sending callers to voicemail. I even say no to myself when I want to watch television or be a lazy lounger instead of checking off an item on my task list. I remind myself I have goals that I refuse to leave unaccomplished. I finally got a full understanding of the weapon I possess. That weapon is the POWER OF NO.
Don't get me wrong, the Power of Yes, is awesome in it's own right. Yes signifies and supports risk taking, being courageous, being bold and stepping out the proverbial box of comfort. However it can be all wrong when there should be a "no" spoken in place of it.
No can be mistakenly synonymous with negativity or rudeness, although there is a such thing as a positive no. A positive no is authentically choosing not to BE, HAVE, or DO what your intuition is telling you not to. No can feel uncomfortable for some but why is that? I am convinced that it has nothing to with comfort levels at all. It has everything to do with fear. F.E.A.R. has been defined as False Evidence Appearing Real. I subscribe to this definition because fear is in our imagination. We are imagining something to happen before it does or EVER WILL happen. What's even more tormenting is saying YES, when you KNOW you should have said NO!
There are many reasons why we are afraid to say no. Some are:
• The fear of being rude or hurting one's feelings (like I was)
• The fear of lost opportunity
• The fear of confrontation or conflict
• The fear of being rejected by others
• The fear of being thought of as selfish or self involved
From my own experience, saying no has been rewarding, freeing and has allowed me to be the best version of myself. When you are over committed or riddled with resentment, you really can't be or give your best.
Carol Simone, an author who teaches workshops in self-empowerment, offers this advice I found online:
"No is a moment of clear choice. It announces, however indirectly, something affirmative about you. "I will not sign"—because that is not my truth. "I will not join your committee, help with your kids, review your project"—because I am committed to some important project of my own. "Count me out"—because I'm not comfortable, not in agreement, not on the bandwagon. "No, thank you"—because you might feel hurt if I turn down your invitation, but my needs take priority."
Saying no is a testament of strength, not weakness. It affirms that you value who you are and validates that your needs matter. Your no creates boundaries between yourself and others, as well as asserts self discipline towards ourselves.
If saying "no" is not the right word for you, support yourself in finding your voice and speaking other alternatives. For example, phrases such as "I'd prefer not...", "This sounds interesting, but I won't be able to...", or "I'm not comfortable with..." These phrases all mean no, but it also gives you control over the peace you'll get with being assertive.
If you are having a hard time with no, I encourage you to put it into practice. Right now, write down at one situation that you desire to say no to. Visualize saying no, then take the next step to actually saying it. The next day do the same thing, adding more situations. Continue to practice with your weapon until you are wielding it under the guise of wisdom!
Saying no take immense courage. I applaud and support you on this journey. Just as I have, I know you can do it too!
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