There’s nothing more freeing than saying the word, “no”. Now before you think of me as a complete bitch, let me explain. After years of not knowing its true power, I can boldly make this statement and not lose a wink of sleep! I do believe the word no has a negative connotation, but mostly because we tend to use it incorrectly. Here’s the thing…no, is a full sentence. Think about it! When was the last time you said no without having any lingering feelings?
When we–as in women, say no, we instantly feel guilty. We feel like explanations are necessary or we pressure ourselves to say anything but no. Instead we use passive phrases like “sure, maybe, let me think about it”, and “I’ll see”. All just to avoid being labeled the B-word, frigid, or being responsible for hurting someone’s feelings. Quite frankly, there’s nothing wrong with saying no. It doesn’t make you a bad person or unfriendly. It simply means you’re saying yes to yourself and what’s already on your plate.
We shy away from saying no because we feel people will judge us. Guess what? They’ll judge you regardless, even when your no comes without explanation. Especially when it comes with an explanation, because no matter the reason, (insert Kevin Hart hand clap) it won’t be good enough for them.
What I came to learn and value was that, no, gives us boundaries. This word offers us protection, opportunity to refocus, increases productivity and personal growth. I look at the use of this word as a way to practice self-care and self-preservation. I thought of all of the times I said yes when I really wanted to say no. When I really needed to say no. I’m going out of my own way to please others, to be accommodating to others, be available and cater to the needs of others. At the end of my service to them, I had nothing left to offer myself. Everyone was pleased (and in some cases still not as such) with me, but my cup was empty.
What’s in my cup is for me, the over flow is what’s for everyone else. -Mattie James
One of the most frustrating things to deal with is pouring so much into others then having no one to pour into you, or even notice that there needs to be a cup on standby. Mattie James, said something so profound in one of her podcasts…or maybe it was a periscope (not really sure I’ve listened and watched all of it). She said “what’s in my cup is for me, the overflow is whats for everyone else.” Ha! Game-changer! Say this with me, “What’s in my cup is for me, the overflow is for everyone else.” What I found was that it all came down to one word: obligation. Who am I most obligated to?….Me.
Obligation leads us to believe that we must say yes. Whether it be work, a romantic relationship, friends and family. “I don’t want to let anyone down, “everyone is depending on me.” Reality check girl, no one, is depending on you more than you!
Historically, women are taught to juggle, right. We’ve got to maintain the home, stay social, be dressed to kill and stay snatched at all times, stay hydrated, have poppin skin, follow the latest health trend, be well read, and most of all, most importantly, “no” should never be in your vocabulary because you are superwoman and you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Right? Well, that’s only partially true! Jesus is amazing and will definitely give you strength, but you are also empowered to tap into and stand in that same power and say what? NO!
Here’s a formula to follow (with discretion ). Yes = stress, no = growth. It’s just that simple. I urge you to evaluate your true feelings and intentions whenever you say yes. Are you saying yes because you really want to? Or is it to avoid something else. On the other side of no, awaits a beautiful balance of self care, prioritization and self preservation. So actually saying no, is really saying yes…to yourself.