It is a powerful word! I used to be hesitant to say it. Especially to certain people. Thank goodness I’ve gotten light years better at using it…for the most part! I love that dang word and will say it with the quickness. Not only will I not hesitate to use the word, I won’t waste my time giving most people an explanation. Yes! There are some, for whom it is very hard for me to say no. My nephew Vincent and my little cousin Mia, are at the top of that list. Two of the most amazing little kids I’ve ever met!
Will I have to force a smile? The answer is no! Is it to make someone else happy, but I won’t be happy? The answer is no! Am I being taken advantage of? The answer is no! Will I be doing a disservice to myself, if I do xyz for you? The answer is hell no!
It's likely that we are unaware of the surge of strength we draw from No because, in part, it is easily confused with negativity. Where negativity is an ongoing attitude, No is a moment of clear choice. It announces, however indirectly, something affirmative about you. "I will not sign"—because that is not my truth. "I will not join your committee, help with your kids, review your project"—because I am committed to some important project of my own. "Count me out"—because I'm not comfortable, not in agreement, not on the bandwagon. "No, thank you"—because you might feel hurt if I turn down your invitation, but my needs take priority.
According to Psychology today, “Negativity is a chronic attitude, a pair of emotional glasses through which some people get a cloudy view of the world. Negativity expresses itself in a whining perfectionism, a petulant discontent, or risk-averse naysaying. It's an energy sapper. Negative people may douse the enthusiasm of others, but rarely inspire them to action. Negativity certainly ensures that you will not be pleased. You will also not be powerful.”
There is a lot of positive power in using no in the right way. You don’t say no to purposely hurt others; you say no to protect yourself from people and situations that can hurt you. When you say no to draining people and situations, you open up the space for positive energy and relationships to enter your life. Your no creates the necessary boundaries that give you time for yourself, time to focus on your self-care and interests and what matters most to you.
No is both the tool and the barrier by which we establish and maintain the distinct perimeter of the self. No says, "This is who I am; this is what I value; this is what I will and will not do; this is how I will choose to act." We love others, give to others, cooperate with others, and please others, but we are, always and at the core, distinct and separate selves. We need No to carve and support that space.
In an issue of Entrepreneur Magazine, they provided 5 benefits of saying no:
Time to do whatever you’ve put on the back burner.
Power to be more in control of your life.
Confidence to say no more often. The first time is the hardest.
Safety from overextending yourself.
Opportunities you didn’t even know were out there. Since you are more available, you’ll find them.