The Art of Saying NO

There are a handful of powerful words in our language, words that carry huge weight despite being small, simple, and often one-syllable. For example: love, hate, yes, and no. words1

Love and hate are obvious in the power that they hold and the hurt they can yield.  We toss them about casually to describe foods or movies, and we treat them as precious items where issues of the heart are concerned.words

yesYes has positive attributes attached to it: it’s a door-opener, an affirmation, an agreement.  It’s unoffensive and easy to say (Perhaps too easy.)

No on the other hand, has a hugely negative stigma bound to it. It’s a conversation-ender, a nullification, a denial or refusal.  Definitely leans towards offensive, and for so many is very difficult to say. But I feel the word NO has a bad rap. It’s not a bad word, it’s just misunderstood and often over used in the wrong arenas. Sure we say “no” to our kids a lot, or we say “no” to changes in our lives, but again, those are not what NO is best suited for.

no32NO is most powerful when used by an individual to defend their needs.  As my clients and blog-followers know, I do not abide martyrs: people who cannot say NO when they need to; who cannot speak the truth in their heart for fear of rejection, then suffer silently (or all too often suffer while complaining repeatedly).  These are the people who are over-booked, over-whelmed, over-stressed, and under-respected by those around them. (Honesty and assertiveness garner more respect than martyrdom.)

If this resonates even a little inside of you, then please heed these words.  Embrace NO. However, don’t over use it or get so caught up in saying NO to everything that you miss the point of this.  I’m only talking about when you don’t want to commit to that one more commitment that you’ve no time for, or when you feel uncomfortable with a situation, but stick it out for fear of disappointing someone else.  NO is there to keep your true self true.  See NO as your protector.  A way of standing up for what you need.  If given politely but honestly no one will suffer, I promise you. (See last week’s blog on being blunt:

So repeat after me: no, no thank you, thanks but no, that’s not for me, no I’ll pass, etc.


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