The Power of Saying “No”
If you don’t know my mom, then you need to know this: she is an incredibly strong woman with a huge heart. She is a force to be reckoned with and a role model to many – especially to me. She is my definition of #unapologeticallystrong and I love her for it. Recently, we had a long talk and we got on the subject of how hard it is to tell other people “no.”
Because it is hard. Incredibly hard.
Even for strong women like my mom. And unfortunately, I think saying “no” is particularly hard for women because we tend to put other’s needs above our own. But I think that is something that we could all afford to work on. Because there are some amazing things that happen when you start saying “no,” and work instead to create boundaries and put yourself first.
You gain freedom. By saying “no” (or yes for that matter), you are dictating how you use your time. How powerful is that?!
You become stronger. I’m not going to lie… There were times when I was hurt when other people said “no” to me. It doesn’t always feel good. But by saying “no” myself more often, I have learned that it isn’t a personal attack on me. It is just them respecting themselves enough to be honest with me and I respect them even more for that.
You are better able to help others. When you are running yourself ragged to make others happy, you are neglecting your own needs. This is the difficult truth many of us face. On the flip side, when you start putting yourself first, you can better serve others because you are coming from a better place in life. This allows you to give more, and give more joyfully.
You live with less resentment. Life doesn’t always play out like we want it to. By learning to say “no,” and creating boundaries for the situations we are in, we are able to accept that we have done what we can and are more open to the outcome – whatever it may be.
You gain respect. See point number 2. When others see you drawing a line in the sand, they find out quickly that you are being true to yourself, and they learn to respect your decisions and you.
With practice, you are better able to navigate uncomfortable situations. Obviously saying “no” can cause you to fumble around, especially at first. But keep in mind that saying “no” does not mean you have to do so in a mean way. It can be said with respect and (although it seems counter-intuitive) compassion.
You live life more in line with your values, and in turn become happier. Which is what it’s all about, isn’t it?
With all of this said, I would like to leave you with a couple of quotes from Brene Brown:
“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”
“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”
Until next time!
P.S. I know I have already recommended this book to many, but if you haven’t already, you should pick up a copy of Brene Brown’s latest book Rising Strong. It dives into this topic and so many others – it is a life changer and it is one of the first books that I read, and wanted to re-read immediately after.