There’s a word you have been telling yourself, almost from birth. It might have been one of the first words you heard as a child other than your name.
Other than when your parents repeated “Mommy” and “Daddy” to you to try and get you to speak for the first time.
While this elemental nature might seem like a good thing, there is one word has the power to choke out your growth and life if you don’t take care of it now.
What is this word? NO.
Why is “No” so powerful?
No, I won’t tell you. Not yet.
No, because you haven’t done anything to deserve it.
No, it’s not going to happen.
No, you can’t have it.
No, you’re not supposed to see this.
No, it’s not meant to be.
No. It ends the discussion.
“No” can stop you in your tracks. It sparks conflict, creates tension, halts the flow of love, joy and promise.
Saying No can be an end. It can end your growth and the hope for a better tomorrow if you let it.
You might not remember all the times you’ve heard the word No in your life, but I can promise you that it’s been far more numerous than the Yeses you’ve heard. Why do you think that is?
Shut the door and lock it
Our minds have doorways, hallways, entryways. Access points. It’s where creativity gives birth to new ideas. Which leads to actions taken to pursue a goal, grow something that you’ve been working on, or push forward with momentum.
One of the biggest obstacles to all of these things are the thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs you have about whether any of it will work or not.
Which is why saying NO can be so dangerous to your growth, progress, and momentum. Saying no keeps success from happening. Because saying No shuts the door to all of that and locks it, keeping you away from reaching your dreams, goals and aspirations.
Some people respond differently to No than others
Maybe it has to do with your personality. Maybe it has to do with your astrological sign. Maybe is has to do with the order of your birth. I’m a ENFJ on the Meyers Briggs personality chart, which is more contemplative and emotionally driven than other personality types.
I’m also a Sagittarius, which explains my philosophical and contemplative nature. I’m a first born, which means that I took a lot of responsibility for everything I did and saw that I had to constantly be an example to my younger sister.
When I was growing up and I’d ask my parents for something, if they said No I interpreted that to mean No Forever. So I didn’t go back later to ask again.
My sister on the other hand had a different idea. I’m not sure where she got it from, but “No” to her was never a permanent thing.
No just meant “not now.” Two hours later (or sometimes less) she’d go back to mom or dad and ask for the same thing, maybe in a different way. She was unwavering in pursuit of what she wanted. And for the most part, she was great at getting what she wanted.
I didn’t feel that same sort of confidence and ease. So I wasn’t good at getting what I wanted.
Processing “No” as an adult
I realize that I’m the reason why things haven’t worked in my favor for professional and personal pursuits when it comes to people saying no.
It’s not the people who have declined my offer for the business. It’s not the relationships I wanted to be stronger than somehow weren’t. There’s a shared responsibility.
My part (in a lot of ways) is not knowing how to deal with the word “No.” Because it felt like the shut door that couldn’t be reopened.
I find myself saying No too much. Or I find myself responding to a thought or possibility with an instant No. Which leaves me at times feeling like I can’t do much. Or that the odds are ever against me.
To combat this, and to change the game, I’m replacing the word No with alternatives. Particularly for those internal conversations that involve possibilities or opportunities.
So far, it’s been really encouraging to not approach something with an inherent No, even if it’s something I really don’t want to do or have any interest in. Still keeping the doorway open or another potential possibility presenting itself feels more refreshing and hopeful than slamming it and refusing entry.
Try these other alternatives for No
Ok is one of my new favorite sayings, ironically enough. It’s actually what I respond to my inner critic/inner bully with more often now than I used to before. Because Ok is like a mental eye roll, like saying “whatever!” to the perpetually negative mindset that tries to pop in and say you’re failing and a loser.
Ok just acknowledges you heard it but gives it no emotion. Emotion is the key to infuse into anything that makes it happen.
Maybe opens up the possibility that it might or might not happen. Which is also refreshing. No commitment. No pressure. No worries.
Oops, look at all those Nos! It’s unlikely that taking pressure and worries out of any situation is a bad thing.
While we’re on the subject of saying No to certain things, and being ok with that, I’ll conclude with a few things that are perfectly fine to say No to. Aside from what I just mentioned. These are things to shut the door on in your mind and heart that actually produce more peace, joy and happiness.
What is healthy to say No to
When we tell ourselves “No” we’re often doing so from a place of judgement on what is and what will/won’t be. We’re telling ourselves that we’re in control and we know what’s best.
Which is often not true. Eradicating judgement against yourself and others is a great way to open up doorways for peace in your mind and heart.
The same is true for assumptions. Don Miguel Ruiz’ seminal book The Four Agreements is one of the best sources for understanding basic tenants of a peaceful life.
The third agreement is Don’t Make Assumptions. We all understand the adage of making an ass out of at least two people when that happens. No is an assumption in and of itself. So do away with it.
Thanks to social media it’s now easier than ever to take anyone’s statement and misinterpret it to create tension, angst, and resentment among other people. All of that is grounds for offense.
Which is why so many people spend the majority of their waking lives in one mode of offense or another. It’s insane.
Choose Love instead
Love yourself. Love others.
It’s especially confusing to see religious people spend so much time being offended. Religion is about Love being the all-mighty force that creates worlds.
Almighty Love (God) doesn’t have offense. It’s not possible. So why try and exercise the antithesis of Love and still call your actions holy?
Fear is the opposite of Love in every way. Here’s a closer look found in my book Be Solid: How To Go Through Hell & Come Out Whole:
Love sets you free. Fear binds you up and holds you in prison.
Love protects. Fear runs away.
Love hopes. Fear doesn’t believe that good outcomes are possible.
Love gets up even when it’s (proverbially) punched, hit hard, or knocked down. Fear throws in the towel.
Love never fails. Fear is perpetual failure. It doesn’t come back to try and win again. Fear is game over.
Of all the things to eradicate in your heart and mind garden, it’s what removes Love from living and taking root. Which is why changing your dialogue, both what you tell yourself internally and what you allow to come out of your mouth, will determine the whether your life will produce wholeness or something else.
Want more ways to eradicate “No” from your way of thinking and living? I’d Love to share what works directly with you over a virtual coffee conversation. It’s easy. No sales pitch or pressure. Just a great conversation and a way for us to connect. Looking forward to talking with you!