It’s Okay to Say “No”

My son can’t even talk yet, but he knows how to tell us “No.”  He knows how to communicate that he doesn’t want something.  I would imagine that at his age it is easy for him to say no without worrying about the social consequences of him speaking the truth or hurting my feelings.  Saying no can become more complex as you grow older because you realize that as egos develop people will take more and more offense to you having a boundary.

I think we can all learn from each other, and in this instance, I can learn from an infant.  No matter how uncomfortable it is, and no matter how old we become, we should still be able to say no with the certainty of a child.  While we never want to purposely offend, we can still say “No” while keeping in mind not being offensive to others.

I remember when I started setting boundaries in my life.  My therapist told me that it would take work, but I didn’t realize quite how much work it would take.   People were not used to me having a boundary, so when I said ‘No” they became upset, were offended, and took it personally.

I found that it didn’t matter how kindly I said “No.”  No one could accept the fact that I was not allowing them access to me that they once had.  I can tell you that after months and months of holding my ground, they got the idea.  Once I was able to stand my ground and not budge no matter how fiercely my no was protested.  I was eventually heard.

I was never rude, but stern.  I still loved everyone whom I was saying “No.” I was not telling them no because I didn’t love them, I was telling them “No” because loving me meant not allowing people to cross boundaries that I was uncomfortable with.

If you feel like you have to say yes to appease someone or to keep from having a rift in a relationship, you may try to make up an excuse as to why you have to say ‘No.” The problem with continually giving a reason is that it gives people the idea that if you can do something then you will do something. 

Sometimes I have the ability to do something, but I need people to understand that my having the ability to do something does not mean that I will. You might be thinking that your loved ones and those close to you won’t protest your boundaries, but I have found that people who are close to you are the people who have the most expectations of what it is that you ought to be doing.  It’s all right to say no without defending yourself. No is a complete sentence.

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