In 7 years of therapy practice, I heard dozens of words that are worth celebrating. Conclusions, boundaries, mileposts, and improvement are terrific reasons to rejoice.
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In the past months I have found another word that is worthy of a grand party; the word no.
No is frequently seen as denial or opposition and carries a negative connotation. I am here to announce that we have been looking at “no” in an improper light. Today I want to discuss the power of “no.”
No can be freeing and liberating when you are in tough times. It can offer a break and a chance for healing. So why do we often refuse to say no? You may feel guilty and embarrassed when you deny a request from others.
Because of guilt, you acquiesce and make promises that you might have otherwise avoided.
Guilt has an emotional toll in the worst situations. Promises can push you far past your boundaries may cause harm if you are not careful and in touch with your mental health.
I am not suggesting you enable yourself or take denials to an extreme. A good balance and compromise is a valuable tool. Instead, I am asking you to consider when a “no” could be salvation.
Here are 5 reasons to embrace the power of “no”
1. “No” prevents overwork
The ability to say no can be life-changing for your work and academic stress. You may feel obliged to continue to go, go, go. Sometimes you need to be able to tell yourself “stop!”
Saying no to an overabundance of work is your right and you owe it to yourself. A client once told me that “no” saved her job.
She worked so much and so hard she could barely function on her day-to-day duties. If you never let yourself recharge to 100% you and your work can suffer.
2. “No” gives you a break from life
Few people know better the concept of “no” in their personal life than myself. It took me took ages to realize that it is ok to say no to plans when I simply don’t have it in me to socialize.
While you don’t want to overdo it and isolate, you have every right to simply stay home and be by yourself.
I found that I was overdoing social events to the point that I would not enjoy or be present in the ones I truly loved. Take a break and when you return you will find yourself socially charged and available.
3. “No” helps you reevaluate
Perhaps the greatest power of no is the time it affords. Saying no and spending time with yourself can give you the opportunity to step back and look at your position.
If you never stop to slow down it can be difficult to tell exactly where you are.
4. “No” can be a lifesaver for mental and physical health conditions
Likewise, saying no can bring drastic change to your mental and emotional health. If you have a mental or physical health condition, you need rest.
Resting and refusing an overabundance of activity can have devastating effects. Remember that you deserve a chance to relax just like anyone else.
You are not your condition. Allow yourself the chance to take a load off your life.
5. “No” increases your confidence
The most empowering power of “no” lies in renewed and rediscovered strength. I am not asking you to turn 180 degrees and refuse everything.
However, saying no can have a profound impact and will empower you to take charge of your life.