Monday, May 28, 2012

The Power of NO!

We all do it. We Say Yes too often!

When our plates are already full to the brim, we say yes to one more commitment. We say yes to participating in activity or event that we don't really want to attend. Our answer is often "yes" to the question, "Is that ok?", even when it really isn't. Life and relationship decisions are often made with our answer of yes, even though we know in our hearts that the yes is not a 100% agreement.

We need to start saying NO!

No is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be a very empowering thing. Sure there are times when it is not ethical or appropriate to use no. When our assertion of no is used to hold down another's legitimate right and power, simply for the sake of our own selfishness, then that is not a positive use of the word. If we say no to every single thing that comes our way, then that is not good either. There are also times when we use it in our own self talk ("no I won't ever be able to", or "no that could never be me") that it has a negative effect on who we think we are. But when used properly it is a very powerful tool that preserves our time, our self, and empowers us to reach our goals and sense of fulfillment.

But there are also times when it is a good thing to say no

Each person has a different set of life circumstances and obligations  Some things you may not be able to say no to because of family responsibility, need to provide, and need for something to get done.  Outside of that, there are times when saying no is a good thing.

1. Health, Safety and Welfare Are at Stake - This is usually a pretty easy no to say.  When we can foresee that a yes answer could compromise us or those around us that word can easily fall from our lips.  However, even this one can be tricky to say if there are other factors shielding our foresight.  The prospect of promotion, relationship or reward can shield us to consequences.  Be aware of this before automatically saying yes to a sounds too good to be true prospect.

2. Yes is an Appeaser - When we say yes simply to avoid a conflict, then no was probably the right answer.   Yes in this case is used as an avoidance tool of dealing with a larger issue.  A better way to approach the situation is to discuss, clearly and and without blame, stating your reason for not agreeing.  Saying yes when it's just to appease the other doesn't leave you feeling good about the experience.  Either way there may be some conflict and discomfort, but by using your no it opens up the possibility for discussion and dialogue.

3. When Your Pitcher is Empty - As women, we tend to pour out of ourselves even after we have nothing left to give.  For some reason, we commit to filling other's cups, even when the pitcher is dry  Recognizing this is not only healthy; it is necessary for us to be able to function, exist, and truly live in the amazing way that we were created to live. Say no when you are dry.  After all, we can quench another's thirst if our pitcher is empty!

4. When Your Yes is Your Pattern of Accommodating - As a reformed accommodator, I know what it is like to set my ideas, dreams, and plans aside so someone else can have theirs.  I used to say I was flexible, but one day I realized that the truth was that I didn't give my own feelings, dreams, wishes and plans the same respect that I gave others.  Once I saw the value in my own assertions, I was able to stop living everyone else's life, and start living my own.  Do I say yes on occasion  still? Of course. But I have learned to balance that with a healthy dose of  no.

Each person will use no differently. That's OK.  What is important is that Women Enough know that they have the power, the authority, the courage, and the confidence to say no.  Just because another asks, requests, suggests, or expects, does not mean that we are obligated to say yes.  Instead, we need to search and know ourselves.  We need to not be hesitant to empower ourselves and embrace the power of NO!


  1. It is hard to learn to say "no" - I agree with you on the iimportantance of learning to set boundaries and saying "no". Great post! - I found you on sharefest :)

  2. This post is very powerful. As women, we often fulfill the agenda of others and out ourselves last. You gave some great indications of when we need to rethink the amount of times we say yes. I have learned that NO is not a bad word. It is very empowering and we deserve to live life on our terms. I found you on sharefest.

    Take Care, Robin