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The power of NO

How often have you said Yes when you really wanted to say No. It could be for the simplest of reasons – wanting approval of a colleague or the boss, wanting to please the in-laws, wanting to fit in among friends, fear of losing your boyfriend, it’s easier to cave into demands of the kids than face tantrums… and the list goes on.

There’s a lot to be said for the power of Yes. It implies openness, courage, ability to take risks and a big heart. And sadly saying No is like slamming the door on someone’s face. It’s easily misunderstood and difficult to engage in and often associated with negativity. Yet there is a lot of power in being able to say No. It is your moment of clear choice and it acknowledges your values.
Saying No is not about creating invisible walls and boundaries, it is staying true to what you believe in. What then really matters is how you say it. People may not always respond well to a No, but don’t allow it to overly affect you. Eventually they will understand you and respect your choices.

I have had a hard time saying No in many instances… some of which have impacted my life for the worse with long term consequences. I have then been hurt, withdrawn and resentful. All I was trying to do was to come across for someone in need… I repeatedly thought to myself and even berated myself for being a fool. All this on a repeat loop especially when the days were tough. And the more I thought about it, the more I came to see that a majority of it stemmed from my innate belief in the goodness of human beings and my inability to just say No. The two may not always be connected.While I continue to believe that most people are good, I have now learned to say No. It leaves me less torn and more at ease with myself. But it took me years to get here.

And I see this all around me in different faces, different places all the time. When you are asked to work overtime for no concrete reason, when someone flirts with you or demeans you with a sexist remark, when your husband thinks it’s okay to demand a cup of tea when you have both just walked in tired from work, when you ability is questioned without validity by a senior, when someone chooses to spread malicious gossip about you, when a family decision is taken without your consent, or when the doctor prescribes tests without affirmation or even when you are judged on what you wear or when someone orders your food without consulting you… it could be little or big things, but if it plays on your mind, it’ll wear you out.

No one wants to live a life that is predetermined by others. You don’t always want to be told what to do all the time. If you keep seeking validation for your life, you’ll just be wired to say Yes all the time. Even in the closest of our relationships, if you fear saying No at least some of the times, then understand you are not being loved, you are being controlled.

Finding your voice is important in moments of dissent. Personal integrity requires the power of NO… not just in the big things, in the little things you do too.