Why we should start ascribing more power to the two-letter word, no.
“Do you mind taking on this additional project? We need another person to manage the execution.”
“Can you come out Friday? My cousins will be in town.”
“Can you walk my dog for me this weekend? I’m planning on staying at my boyfriend’s place.”
No, no, and sorry no. That two-letter word once floated into my mind as I would verbally spit out another word with a smile, Y-E-S. That little two-letter word has so much power but is easily replaced with another word, one that has three letters-go figure! Is it the greater character count that sways us into giving yes more power? Could it be the fear of being viewed as rude if one were to say no? Would saying no somehow lessen my credibility as a decent human being? Would saying no make me look like an outspoken outcast?
Saying no to your boss, co-workers, family, and friends is often a quite challenging thing to do. However, when you take on responsibilities that you know are too much to add onto your current load, you set yourself up for feeling consumed. Time is the one thing you will never get back, which is why being conscious of how you choose to spend your time is crucial. Saying no puts you in the driver’s seat for how you want to manage your time and for what you allow into your life. It also allows you to give greater attention and energy to what you have already chosen to focus on. Time is one thing that you will never get back, so choosing when to say no for yourself is a key element in life.
From the relationships we have to our values and beliefs, the word no is a word tailored uniquely to each individual. It’s a word that can give others insight into what you stand for as a person, your likes and dislikes, and even your commitment to follow through with what you say you can or cannot do. The word no shouldn’t be associated with fear or uneasiness. It sets a bar that aligns with your true identity, and for that you shouldn’t be punished. For example, saying no to a night out definitely aligns with me, but for a good while I pondered saying no out of fear for how others may view my decline in nightlife attendance. I used to feel bad about it, but now I don’t. I’ve started saying no to nights out that I know only lead to unfulfillment, a lower bank account balance, and me wasting half of my following day by being a couch potato. When I started saying no I made time for me to do things like reading, writing, re-charging, and nourishing the activities and relationships that bring me joy and a sense of purpose. Keeping your well-being in mind is important, and if you have to say no to a task, date, project, or whatever it may be that is absolutely okay.
Beyond saying no for yourself, saying no is needed to create change on a greater scale. In a world of chaos filled with people of all different races, religions, and belief systems, the word no is one filled with great power. As a nation, we need to understand and believe that this little two-letter word is beyond just that. It has the power to create transformation. We need to say NO when someone in power abuses his or her role. We need to say NO when senseless acts of murder are happening in our school systems. We need to say NO when someone else thinks they have the power over our bodies. We need to say NO when families are being torn apart and children are dying. We need to say NO when people are harmed because of their sexuality. We need to say NO when someone inflicts pain on a community because their belief system differs than theirs. We need to say NO to the injustices that happen to innocent people who are stripped of the rights that every human being should have.
Nois far more than just a two-letter word.