It’s important to say No. Think about it. All of those times that you said, sure, I guess so, or, Yes, when you really meant, No. It’s probably a bad habit noted in more women more than it men. Innately women are taught at a young age to care, sympathize, and nurture. We learned that it meant the prize of connection and meaning in our families and social circles. Some may be afraid of the loss if they say No. Some may be frightened of their own strength. Perhaps you were encouraged as student, employee, lover or spouses to never say, No. But, there is a NO in you that wants to come out.
The holidays and a New Year are coming, so it’s a perfect time to practice your voice and desires in the form of a strong and absolute, No. No, thank you. No way. Not today. No, I am not interested. No, I cannot do that. No, I don’t need that. No, I don’t like that. No, I don’t want to spend time with you. No, I don’t want more wine. No, I don’t have time. No, I can’t watch your dog. It’s okay. You can say No. You have to. It’s the only way to get close to knowing who you really are and what you want. Giving cannot be done properly if you are unable to say No.
“When you say ‘Yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘No’ to yourself.”
― Paolo Coehlo
You can say no and it might not make a difference. Sometimes we can find our inner Diva, shout out a “Hell No” and still get a resistance or persistence from the other party. They may not be ready or willing to listen. Our desires are not heard, our wishes not granted, and we wonder if we should have just said what the other wanted to hear. The exercise in finding what you really want to say, denying the other person any control over your voice, is not to get a reaction that is always pleasing to both parties. In fact, exercising your new voice that isn’t quite so willing to accommodate may take many by surprise.
Yes, you will get feedback. ‘It is unlike her. Who does she think she is? She can’t behave like that,” they may whisper. True. It is unlike her, which is exactly more reason for her to be who she really is, she is Goddess, Warrior, Queen in her world of “No.” She sees that attaching strongly to her desires may threaten the codependent and flaky boundaries she formed for so many years. She threatens to change the rules of relating with all the Others in her life. She isn’t liked, but highly respected. She doesn’t make friends because she pleases, she makes friends because she knows herself well and others can rely on her ability to be honest, direct, and clear.
When are you saying Yes, when you really mean No, you lose your footing. You just accepted responsibility for someone else’s desire or manifestation. You weren’t willing to see the results of a moment of discomfort versus more moments of discomfort. Push yourself through the tinge of fear and you will sense that there is a bigger freedom on the other side of No.
The power of saying No will eventually feel comfortable, absolute and can be done smoothly. The awkwardness eventually fades and others rely on you for your clarity. Yet, a strong point must be inserted here. Try not to say No too much. You could be someone who uses it a little too often and have read up to this point thinking, this exercise is meaningless as I am so GOOD at saying No. First of all, congratulations on finding your voice. Secondly, what are you getting out of saying No so often?
I would guess that it makes you feel more Power and Control and yet, you find yourself alone a lot more than you desire. The Others in your life do not feel they can ever rely on you for what they need or want from you. Saying No too often will begin to feel lonely, perhaps a lot less stimulating than those who are choosing to say Yes to something different or new. Some say Yes because they said No for too long as they eventually came to realize that a Yes was necessary to fulfilling a need, a desire, pleasure or excitement.
During this winter and holiday season, I want you to experiment with this. I want you to say No to persons you never have said NO to. I want you to say No more often. Don’t explain or apologize or make any excuses. Just say a simple, “No.” Practice it in safe environments with people you know that love you. You could even explain to them you are practicing your “NO homework.” Say it with kindness and grace, firmly and simply. Notice where you feel it, how it feels a few hours or days afterwards. Some are going to experience anxiety, almost panic, with the concern over the Other. Many of you will be smiling to yourselves and giving your shadow self a high-five. The gift of No can change your whole life. It is a great way to practice Self-Love.