When opportunities to use the skills I teach others arise in my own life I can still be amazed that they work. Although I know professionally that they do work, it is still amazing to me that the simple act of saying NO to someone when asked to do something contradictory to what I believe, works!
I was recently confronted by someone who demanded that I apologize for everything I had ever said, felt or thought. I simply said NO!. I am not even sure that capital letters and the exclamation point were added or necessary. It was really just a no. They left angry. They may never be in my life again and for that I am sad but I now know that they were not in my life anyway, not in a healthy way. You can’t lose what you never had. With some people you can only “have” them if you sell your self to their demands.
No is such a simple word. It is just two letters and not great letters at that. One letter is just three marks up and down like someone could not make up their minds which way to go and the other letter is an empty circle. Even as simple as it is, it holds great power. Power if used in the right way Just think about it. One syllable but it doesn’t roll off your tongue, it comes out of your mouth with force even when said in a nice way. It sets boundaries. It allows us to get our point across without using lots of frivolous extra words. It has power but it also has compassion. It is straight forward.
Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, better know in the self help field as simply Sark, has a quote that I like to use. She simply says that “”The appropriate uses of the words ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ make more room for love” It is used as a quote before the first chapter of a book I use in my practice. The authors are Jan Black and Greg Enns. The book is on boundaries. When I ask patients what the key work is in this phrase, some get it immediately and some have to think about it. For my purposes the key word is appropriate. When we can learn to use those two words appropriately, we have already begun the journey to self actualization.
So if I say no to someone they will not like me. The issue is not that they will not like you if you stand up for yourself, they probably won’t like you anyway and that is their issue. Bullies, those who do not like anyone that does not do their bidding are usually so worried about themselves that they have no interest in liking others. Saying no is mean. What can be mean about standing up for what you feel and believe? Being mean is allowing others to base their feelings on whether you comply with their demands. They are the mean ones. We have as many rights as the next person and if they feel you are hurting their feelings they are usually only manipulating you into giving them their way.
Do I feel good when I say no? I feel like I am whole. I feel like I have rights. I feel like I am not allowing others to manipulate me. I feel like I am also giving the person I say no to the right to have positive feelings too. Practice not only saying no but saying yes too. They are both great words that, when used appropriately ,can change our lives.