The Power of “No”

A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.

I’ve always hated this saying.  It’s absolutely no fun especially for a girl who doesn’t like to say “no”.  I say yes to dessert, shoes, wine, whatever.  I don’t like to deprive myself.  As soon as I do, I’m very sad about it.

My dad didn’t say “no” to me.  I felt that whatever I needed, he would say yes.  If I needed money to pay my rent or get me through a month, he always helped.  He even said, “yes” when I knew he probably should say “no” and I was asking because I didn’t know what else to do.   It was never a “yes, but you need to do x, y, and z”.  It was just an untethered “yes”.

I’m not sure what happened in his life that led him to always saying “yes”.  Maybe it was his blue color upbringing and a life with little money.  Once he had money he probably never wanted to feel the way he did when he was a kid.

Unfortunately his inability to say “no” to me taught me that “yes” was the only option.  It led me to eat too many desserts, make too many credit card purchases, and drink too many glasses of wine.  It made saying “no” a bad word.

Never saying “no” seeped over into all areas of my life.

“Work on the weekend?”  “Okay.”

“Skip your workout and meet for happy hour?”  “Yes!”

Charge those shoes you want so bad?”  “Yes!”

“Go on a date with me even though I broke your heart?”  “Okay.”

I am only just learning, the concept of saying “no” or saying exactly what I want for that matter.

“How about this nice table by the service entrance?”  “I’d rather sit at the table up front by the window.”

“How’s your meal?”  “Actually, it’s cold.  Is there something we can do about it?”

A lot of people I know might be surprised to hear that I have struggled to ask for what I want.  In business, I’ve been much more successful at asking for what I want.  I’ve had no emotional attachment to it to a certain degree.  But saying “no” especially where there’s emotional attachment has been totally foreign to me.

I got a great piece of advice yesterday.  “Saying ‘no’ today means saying ‘yes’ later.”  It’s so simple but felt so incredibly empowering.  I tried it on with all areas of my life:

“If I say ‘no’ to charging something today, it means zero credit card debt tomorrow.”  Woohoo!!!!  Oh my god that feels good.

“If I say ‘no’ to that miscellaneous purchase, it means ‘yes’ to having more money in my pocket.”

“If I say ‘no’ to skipping my workout than I say ‘yes’ to my health and feeling good.”  Yeah!  I want to be healthy and feel good.  Who doesn’t?

If I say ‘no’ to drinking another glass of wine, I say ‘yes’ to feeling alert in the morning, not drinking useless calories, and putting health first.”  Yeah!

When I think about “no” in this way, everything changes.

“No” feels good.  “No” feels positive.  “No” means saying, “yes” to my future.


One response to “The Power of “No””

  1. ellennewhouse Avatar

    Wow…..well done! I like “NO”!! It opens up a whole world of YESes!!! Thanks for your honesty!!

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