“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” – Josh Billings
One of the most powerful words in the English language is this two-letter word “NO”. A simple, clear and assertive “NO” has the power to transform any life – more so if you are a girl/woman/married woman/mother/grandmother. And yet, many of us are guilty of using this word so very sparingly. Most women I know just cannot get themselves to say NO. The words just fail to come out.
Many times I wonder why it is so hard to say No? It usually is the compound effect of your upbringing, the social conditioning and a woman’s own fears and inhibitions on the repercussions of saying NO based on past personal experiences and the experiences of women around her.
As a girl her No is never really heard or taken seriously. The No is dismissed in the blink of an eye that many girls wonder if they even said it out loud and were heard. Most girls don’t even dare to repeat the No. With time, she forgets the word itself – let alone when to use it and how.
As she grows and matures into a woman, she realizes and recognizes that there is power in the word. Sadly, she still cannot get herself to say No. When she cannot take it anymore, she musters all her courage and says No. Once. Twice. Thrice. They listen, and say “A woman’s NO means YES”. Her No is ignored. She fails. She is helpless. She gives up.
So she says Yes – To accept what comes her way and To appreciate what happens her way
Then she gets married. Now, it is almost unacceptable to say No. To her husband – within the bedroom, within the four walls and in society. After all, a dutiful wife has to dance along with her husband. Then, there are the in-laws who are elders, and elders should be respected. So she needs to abide by their wishes. Consequently, there really does not exist a word called No.
So she says Yes – To expect nothing to come her way and To live up to their expectations
Then she becomes a mother, and she herself does not like to say No. Especially for the children. After all, when she did not say No to everyone else, why should she say No to her own children – her own blood and flesh whom she so loves unconditionally. So she continues to say Yes to their needs, desires, dreams, wants and expectations. Now she can never even imagine herself saying No.
So she says Yes – To surrender her life for their happiness
Then she becomes a grand-mother and now she is scared to say No. What if they abandon her? What if they ill-treat her? So she again says Yes. Yes, to sign all the documents. Yes, to all the conditions. Yes, to whatever they ask and receive.
And she continues to say Yes – To live and exist in the sunset years of her life
In saying “YES” to everyone all the time, she ends up saying “NO” to herself almost all the time. Is it really worth it? I don’t think so.
Once in a way, say “YES” to yourself and “NO” the others. It is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
“No is a complete sentence and so often we forget that.
When we don’t want to do something we can simply smile and say no.
We don’t have to explain ourselves, we can just say “No”.
Early on my journey I found developing the ability to say no expanded my ability to say yes and really mean it.
My early attempts at saying no were often far from graceful but with practice even my no came from a place of love.
Love yourself enough to be able to say yes or no.”
By Susan Gregg