The Power of NO !!! – For such a short word it is long on significance.
The inherent risk in No.
When you say ‘no’ you risk the possibility of being abandoned or conversely annihilated. You risk the response of alienation by being courageous enough to deny the person or community that has requested something from you. You have to face someone else’s disappointment.
If you cannot say ‘no’, you will end up being burdened or resentful or angry as your boundaries are intruded upon. Your already shaky sense of self is more damaged. The process begins early in life. It’s outcome is long on significance.
The parent/child dilemma.
As a child you even begin to say ‘no’ when your crying becomes screaming. When you rigidify your body to prevent any intrusion to your being. As the child you automatically stomp your feet in defiance and speak your ‘no’ with conviction.
This is such an important developmental stage. Too often it becomes a battle of wills of parent/adult against the child. You must learn to assert your right at this point as this is where it is either supported or denied. This is the stage when it is developed or not developed. The terrible two’s can indeed be terrible. If your right to assert your need or position is ignored or stomped on you will be damaged. If you cannot develop this now you will then be left struggling to assert this right throughout your life.
When your ‘no’ is heard and affirmed you begin to create your individuated self. You learn that it is safe to speak from your need or desire. You learn a strength that allows you faith in speaking your mind. This faith in your own potency is then extended into the world, with the faith and belief that you can withstand any response without your sense of self being damaged.
Of course I am not talking about situations where a child could be endangered. The parent must always protect the child from harm.
I am also not talking about a ‘no’ that comes from sheer defiance and previous injury. From a locked in position of no alternative. Their is no sense of self in this, just locked in defiance and an already alienated position.
Yes No Yes No Yes No
Being able to say ‘no’ means that when you say ‘yes’ you are doing so authentically. You say ‘yes’ with a genuineness or wholeheartedness. You are not saying ‘yes’, just because you cannot say ‘no’.
When you have the ability to know how you feel, what you think and what response you genuinely have, then you have a freedom to move to and fro in the rhythm of your life. You are strongly individuated and able to move into and out of individual and community expectations.
When you can say ‘no’ and ‘yes’ wholeheartedly you end up with up with the Power of One !!