know your no’s

A friend of mine recently put her foot down with her husband. It wasn’t a hugely major issue but all hell broke loose. You see, she’d never really said no before. Before, she would generally react to most suggestions from him by saying no; but it’s always been a bit of a weak no and he knew if he bogged her down with facts (dubious ones at times) and a barrage of words, explanations and reasons, she’d eventually relent and he’d get his way.

We’re taught by the media and society that we need to say yes – to adventure, to excitement, to life. No doesn’t cut it really.

So, we strive to say yes to all sorts of things.

The problem is, before you say yes, you also need to know your no’s. What won’t you do? How far will you NOT go?

There’s a trend on social sites to post a picture of a gross insect, food or activity or something and call it a ‘nope’. So nope has taken on an interesting connotation – it means – no way am I going to do that. Not a chance in hell. I know my limits and this is beyond those limits.

When it comes to living life, we don’t often know out limits, though. We don’t often understand what our no’s are. And I’m not talking about the huge ‘nopes’. It’s the little ones that can start to lead us down a path of no resistance if we don’t stick to them.

So many women fall into relationships that end up being abusive in some way or another. That’s generally because they forgot their little no’s. That niggle in the back of your mind is usually a little no making itself heard. We ignore those little niggles often.

And sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between those little no’s and the frisson of excitement we feel when we’re about to do something spectacular. So, don’t beat yourself up if you got confused and ended up somewhere you really didn’t want to be.

Your no’s can be flexible, but only in the little things. For example, you can say no to scrambled eggs, but if that’s all that’s on offer, a little relenting won’t kill you.

But if someone treats you badly, relenting on that will only lead to more bad treatment – if you give someone permission to treat you in a way that’s uncomfortable, it may well escalate into something that’s dangerous – to your life, your soul, your heart.

Start with your small no’s – such as no bungee jumping (one of my no’s), and perhaps no to eating live monkey brains, and then move deeper to things like ‘no to someone making me feel like I don’t deserve to be on this earth’. List your no’s so that you recognise them when situations pop up and that niggle begins.

Once you get your no’s in order, your yesses will become so much more meaningful – filled with conviction, passion and joy.

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