The word “No” often comes with a negative stigma. it is often associated with rigidity, lack of cooperation, and selfishness. Is it possible that saying “no” may just be the most loving word you could say to someone? I believe so. I work with a lot of adults, primarily women, who tell me how they feel burnt out, have lost control of their schedules, or are feeling used by an unhealthy person in their lives. They struggle with saying no and setting limits in their lives. As a result, they build resentment and frustration, or they enable unhealthy people around them. Take for example a woman who is with an alcoholic. She struggles with saying no and pays for his substances. She allows him to live with her while he’s unemployed spending the day drinking for smoking pot. Her saying yes to him is preventing him from facing the consequences of his choices. In a way she is hindering his growth. Now there is no guarantee that her leaving or setting limits would get him to grow, but it won’t happen by her doing what she’s currently doing.
You see we must realize that sometimes tough love is necessary for the health of our relationships and the people around us. The same goes for not creating healthy boundaries at work or in every aspect of our lives. Of course, the next barrier I see is the guilt that shortly follows saying no. The best suggestion I tell clients is that you must remind yourself that tough love sometimes hurts in the short-term, but it doesn’t “harm” in the long-run. Giving yourself the time to feel the guilt and then remind yourself that you can handle can be helpful. Reminding yourself that people being mad at you is something you can handle is important too.
The power of “no” allows for growth and honesty. Let’s start adding the word “no” into our daily lives and see how it is transformed.