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“The Power of No”

Updated: Oct 19, 2020

"Wielded wisely, No is an instrument of integrity and a shield against exploitation. It often takes courage to say. It is hard to receive. But setting limits sets us free.” Judith Sills Ph.D., published on November 5, 2013 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

When we are wee, there is no hesitation in saying "NO". The stage, in my opinion, incorrectly but widely known as 'the terrible twos', is a necessary learning phase. It is a developmental stage in which the individual is realizing that they actually have some control over their life. What a child does not have at this time in life, is the experience and maturity to discern in what circumstances saying 'No' is appropriate (appropriate being culturally determined which is a whole other blog topic). The useful aspect of a child's ability to say 'no' is the complete and utter attention to self.

Somehow, in the process of growing up, we often lose the ability to take into consideration the consequences of saying 'NO', or more importantly in regards to this blog, the consequences of NOT saying 'NO' and the effect on our self.

"NO' is seemingly a very difficult word to say. It often brings with it loads of GUILT, SHAME and HUMILIATION. In our minds, we allow those beliefs to exist. Women, in particular, get caught up in believing that they have to do everything for everybody to the detriment of their own health. The never-ending, uphill "I can do everything for everybody" mentality is taking its toll and ending in exhaustion, disease and death.

It’s time to practice what each of us knows deep down to be the wiser course of action. It is time to convince ourselves of the words I hazard a guess most of us would say to our daughters, sisters and nieces but ignore in regard to ourselves,… “There is only so much of you to go around. Start taking care of yourself. Learn to say “NO” when you are asked to take on a task that you know is going to add too much to your plate”. As for the GUILT, SHAME and HUMILIATION that may result…that is for another blog. Remember, the choice is yours to put your self first.

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