The Power of No!

Like so many women ‘of a certain age’, I was enculturated with the need to please and as a result, I’ve spent decades saying yes to things I really don’t want to do.

So as I fast approach my 60th birthday, I’ve decided that it’s time to learn to use that deceptively simple word “No!”

A moment's sanity in a sea of acquiescence.
A moment’s sanity in a sea of acquiescence.

Men don’t have any difficulty in saying no, often quite forcefully, to anything that doesn’t suit them. Even little children use it repeatedly. In fact, it’s often the first word many of them learn and one that they continue to utter defiantly throughout their childhood and teenage years. So why is it that we woman battle so to employ it?

According to everything I’ve read, the benefits of learning to say no are as many as they are varied but at its core, it’s all about time. Apparently, saying no to requests, invitations and activities one has no real interest in frees up an enormous amount of time.
We are all so programmed to be more, have more, do more and rush, rush, rush that initially at least, doing this may be scary. However, I know that at least for me, contentment, creativity and a sense of well-being are all directly derived from escaping the whirlwind and slowing the pace life. Happiness comes from having time to enjoy the simple things in life. Coffee and the crossword in my pyjamas, an early morning dip in the pool (or even better, the sea), a long walk on the beach or a leisurely lunch with good friends all add immeasurably to the quality of my life and I’m determined to do more of all of these.

Sage advice!
Sage advice!

As with everything though, there is a time and a place. A clear but gently delivered ‘no’ to a child (of any age) will often lead to a reinforcement of boundaries and perhaps, after a few minutes, hours or days of theatrical pouting and door slamming, a closer relationship. Meanwhile, a emphatic refusal to carry out a reasonable, if mind-numbingly tedious chore for your boss will at best cause an arctic-like chilling of the work environment and at worst, the immediate cessation of your income-producing activities!
Even in the most ideal of circumstances, saying no, however diplomatically, takes a healthy dose of courage and sadly, some people will be offended. Nonetheless, the next time someone asks me to do something I just don’t want to do, I intend to politely say “No, thank you” and spend that reclaimed time doing something that makes my soul sing.
So why don’t you join me in my quest to live a quieter, more contented life because, as they say in that awful, clichéd advert “You’re worth it!” (I know, I also can’t believe that I just wrote that!).

Give yourself permission!
Give yourself permission!

That is, until I next meet up with someone and utter those all too familiar words:
“You want me to … (fill in the blank)? Umm, okay … no problem!”
What can I say? Old habits die hard and learning new behaviours is a very long and difficult process!
What is the one thing you wish you could say no to?

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14 Comments Add yours

  1. Emma says:

    So Cath… Is there any chance you could……………..

    1. Oh yes, Emma. Anything for you 🙂

  2. Vibrant says:

    “Men don’t have any difficulty in saying no, often quite forcefully, to anything that doesn’t suit them. Even little children use it repeatedly. In fact, it’s often the first word many of them learn and one that they continue to utter defiantly throughout their childhood and teenage years. So why is it that we woman battle so to employ it?”

    This is such a sexist comment lol 😀

    NO. I am joking please don’t take me wrong 🙂

    I really enjoyed reading this post and that Paulo Coelho quote is beautiful. I feel only suggestion I have is about the font size and everything else is perfect!

    Love and light ❤

    Anand 🙂

  3. Hi Anand
    Sexist? Me? Never! I call it experienced!! 🙂
    Thanks so much for your suggestion. I’m not sure how to change the font size but will definitely look into it.

  4. Daphne says:

    Very difficult to say no to family and close friends 😫

    1. I agree with you, Daphne but the point I was trying to make is we should say no to the things we really don’t want to do for the people we really don’t want to do them for. We all end up agreeing to do things for people who aren’t important in our lives and that’s the time we need to recover. Like you, I don’t really want to say no to the people I care about (like you) 🙂

  5. Camilla Smith says:

    Yes, well, No, Fine! One of those truly meaningless phrases that jus must have been created by a woman … to get around saying no? 🙂 I confess the last time I did have the courage to say no … was … uhmm … let me think…. ? Seriously though its is maybe just about stalling until it is the only thing you can do. Am I really waiting to say no to a life changing event until April 1, or am I merely delaying the inevitable fall out. I will be saying no! but you should see the back up evidence I have already amassed 🙂
    How are we ever going to crash through that glass ceiling if we don’t say no? Definitely experienced sexism!

  6. Oooo, this sounds intriguing Kym. Can’t wait to here all the details when you’re ready to share!!!! xx

  7. Because the month of November starts with “NO”, I started years ago, in the month of November to say no and mean it. When someone ask’s me to do something I simply say, November starts with no, I must say no, but thanks for asking. It takes a lot of practice but, it get easier in time.
    You can do it You’re worth it!

    1. Thanks so much for the positive encouragement 🙂

  8. Joana Salazar says:

    It’s hard to say no sometimes especially when you’re a teenager and you need to fit in, damn peer pressure.

  9. astridswords says:

    No can truly be an important word to learn for the care of our person, we cannot always please others without making sure we are cared for.

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