Two little letters make up one of the most powerful words in the English language. That word is NO.
According to dictionary.com no is a negative used to express dissent, denial, or refusal as in response to a question or request; to reject, refuse approval or express disapproval of
No is a loaded word.
My own issues with the word “no” stem from my childhood. I was always trying to win my mother’s approval. Somehow I never measured up. I always made the wrong decision. Even though, in my head, I realized that my mother’s lack of approval had less to do with me and more to do with her own battle with alcoholism and mental illness, the damage was done. Despite the face I displayed to the world, underneath it all I was insecure as hell. And I never trusted my own decisions or thoughts.
Hearing “no” was a problem for me. When someone said no to something I “needed” or an idea I had or to my way of doing things, it was a rejection of ME. I heard “you are unworthy”, “you are wrong” or “I don’t like/love you”. What I heard was dismissal and disapproval – the same thing I always heard from my mother.
Due to my constant quest for approval, I often said yes when I should have said no. Sometimes it was to be “liked” and other times it was to avoid the anger or backlash from someone whose approval I wanted.
My insecurities often resulted in my saying no when I should have said yes. If the status quo was comfortable, I stayed there. I avoided risk because I had no faith that I would succeed. I would never measure up. I realize now I missed out on a lot of things.
The road to my peace with the word no has been fraught with ups and downs.
- I said NO to a loveless marriage.
- I said NO to some old “friends” and YES to new ones.
- Now if I say YES to something but later find it is not a good fit for me, I let it go without regret or recrimination.
- I said YES to a relationship with a much younger man and found real love.
- I said YES to installing drywall, running a chop saw and using
a roofing-nailer and discovered a new passion.
- I said YES to getting on the back of a motorcycle and felt alive like never before.
- I said YES to weight training and I am stronger mentally, physically and emotionally.
Living on my own for the first time in a long time helped me tremendously. The key to my taking power over the word No has been getting to know myself, knowing what I value, what I actually like and what is important to me.
- I have come to realize that as long as I like myself (in a healthy way); it really doesn’t matter if everyone likes me.
- I am happy with a few good friends and I find I give more fully because my motives is truly giving rather than seeking approval for myself.
- I can distinguish between wants and needs and simplified my life.
- I have learned that no is not a rejection of me – not everyone is going to agree with me and that is okay! I am much more open to the input of others.
- I’ve learned that it is okay to take some risks – failure is rarely fatal. You will never grow if you keep the status-quo.
Not letting the “no’s” of the past determine my future has be liberating beyond belief. “No” has NO more power to define my self-worth and my insecurities anymore!