The Positive Power Of Saying No
The year following her massive success, Shonda Rhimes, attributed it all to what she had dubbed her year of YES! Rhonda had lived her life saying No to almost everything due to her social anxiety and her desire to please people. She later on learned that saying No was more damaging to her character and decided to get out of her comfort zone by saying Yes to everything. Well, almost everything.
After reading about her story, I realized that for reason unknow to me society has attached a whole lot of negative connotation to the word No. It’s good to say Yes but it’s wiser to also bear in mind what it is that you’re saying Yes to.
I used to believe that saying no is negative and not the nicest thing to say. However, I’ve come to understand that there is power in saying no and why I need to embrace it.
I wish I’d learnt to say no a lot earlier in life but sometimes I insist on learning things the hard way! Aside from being a people pleaser, I used to believe in working hard as my overall core value. I, for some, reason believed that the harder I worked, the more pleased I might be, the happier people in my life would be with me and the more they would love me. Hard work defined me. Success defined me.
So I took the time to ask myself why it was so important for me to stop pleasing everyone. This helped me realize I was afraid of saying no because my biggest fear was rejection. I was afraid that every time I did this, I would disappoint someone, make them angry, hurt their feelings, or appear unkind or rude.
Having people think negatively of me was always the ultimate rejection for me. Whether they would say what they think about me to my face or not didn't not matter; It was always the thought that they might look down on me.
From this realisation I knew I needed to make changes. Therefore, I wrote down 5 reasons I would start saying NO.
1. I SAY ‘NO’ BECAUSE I VALUE MY TIME
Saying ‘no’ is the best tool I’ve used to distance myself from negative people or situations. I constantly remind myself how valuable my time is. This has helped me to not hesitate when it comes to saying ‘no’ to something I really don’t want to do.
Saying ‘no’ requires a strong sense of self knowledge and in the end it will reinforce your emotional well-being.
2. I SAY ‘NO’ BECAUSE IT CAN BE A BRAVE ACT
‘No’ can be difficult to say without hedging or including an explanation. When you say, “I’ll have to think about it…” or “I’m not sure, maybe…” These phrases are usually confusing to others, like is that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ but also dilute your own certainty about what you want.
Consider each time you say ‘no’, without a hedge or explanation, to be a brave act of self-respect.
3. I SAY ‘NO’ BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT I WANT
Rather than immediately responding to a question or a request, I usually take time to ask myself, "What do I really want?" Sometimes, for various reasons, we have to do things we don’t want to do. But if you find yourself constantly saying ‘yes’ even when you don't want to, you should consider your own needs. You may build up resentment within which can damage relationships.
4. I SAY ‘NO’ TO STAND MY GROUND
Some people won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. They’ll urge you and come up with all kinds of creative solutions to make you say ‘yes’. When encountering won’t-take-no types, stand your ground and repeat your initial response. If you find yourself wavering, recall the reasons you chose to say ‘no’ in the first place and consider how good you’ll feel if you remain true to yourself. You’ll find this fortitude carries over into other areas of your life.
5. I SAY ‘NO’ BECAUSE AT TIMES IT MEANS ‘YES’
Every time you say ‘no’ to one thing, you’re saying ‘yes’ to something else. ‘No’ means freeing up your time (and, in some cases, your emotional bandwidth) to engage in other, perhaps more positive, activities. If you feel badly for turning someone down, reframe your response, offering to do something another time that you want to do.
Like Shonda, It is good to say yes, but it’s better for one to say yes to things that build one’s character. I’m not saying go around saying No to everything. Get out of your own way and comfort zone; say yes to things that help you become your best self. Say yes to love, good friends who only want the best for you and to every good thing that brings you peace and joy. I have shared why I choose to use the word no. I hope that it will get you started on your own journey to becoming your best self.