Spell on backwards” ~ Frankie (Keyshia Cole’s mother)

Babies learn to say no early. I’m sure it’s a mocking of our saying no to them and understanding it’s power in a small way. Have you ever heard a baby “exercise” his/her right to say no? They say it over and over. At times, it’s not even appropriate. They’re still learning where no belongs…and in learning that, they learn their power.

As we grow older, we become impressed upon by peers and family. Sometimes we WANT to say no but, we don’t because we’ve learned that, with our parents for example…it’s disrespectful to say no in response to a direct command. “Clean your room, Kali…”. Had I met that with a “no”…I might not be sitting here right now. You learn early on as a child/adolescent…that no isn’t a power you get to exercise often. Our parents DO however, teach us to say no to drugs…alcohol…sex…peer pressure, etc. Some of us learn to do so…others don’t. Fears become a part of our psyche. Usually this happens when we enter societal institutions like school and work. Even playing as a child in the park is a societal institution, in which playing with other children is a huge factor in building a child’s social skills for adulthood. It is in these tender, vulnerable moments that we learn to say, YES. “Wanna play?”…”YES!”. Eventually to become accepted…we learn to say YES more often. Of course there are times when that yes should have been an emphatic NO but, again we learn the power of YES and NO. 

YES, get’s you things. Often times…it gets you approval, favors, affection and other temporary fixes. Yes, is sometimes even a safe way to get out of a discussion or a lecture. Rather than hear all the many reasons, manipulations and such as to why we should do what’s being asked…we just say yes.  What happens here…is the ensuing of a vicious cycle. This is where a person can be enslaved to his or her fears of what can happen when they say NO.

“They’ll be mad…”

“They’re family…”

“They’ve done things for me…”

“If I don’t…I’ll never live it down”

I learned some key points a while back. I was reading an article in the O magazine by Oprah…and it gave me a few questions I should ask when deciding whether or not I wanted to do something asked of me. I don’t remember the questions verbatim, but it went a little something like this…

  1. Do you want to do what is being asked?
  2. What benefits you from doing what is being asked?
  3. What is the worse that can happen if you refuse?
People pleasing is a bad way to live life. If you’re always worried that if you don’t do this “thing” that people will be upset, reject you, alienate you…then you’re always going to be in the position of doing things you don’t want JUST to maintain favor. Wanting to be liked is something we’ve all come across at one time or another, but it is how we cope with that feeling which matters. Once you learn that life DOES go on without you. That hell, if you refuse to do something it WILL get done one way or the other…that, the TRUE blue friends and family will get over your refusal and still love you…saying no, will fall off your tongue like water.

One should never have to prove their love or value by doing things they don’t want to do. Being a doormat, saying yes to all favors, pleasing everyone but yourself…will only lead to misery. YOURS.  You’ll only end up exhausted on all levels, possibly putting your health in danger and being good to NO one if you continue in this direction.

Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself…you can’t take care of anyone else…especially those who DO deserve your care.

Here are some tips on how to say “no” via O Magazine —> NO!!