When your boss asks you to come in this Saturday on your day off.
“No, sorry. I promised my family that I would spend the day with them.”
When you find yourself impulsively eating snacks for no other reason than to escape what you’re feeling...
“No, I should stop.”
When someone asks you to get coffee on Saturday morning, but it's been a long week and you need time alone to reflect and gather yourself....
“Sorry, I won’t be able to this week."
But... how do you know when it's the right time to say no?
When saying no to others is difficult for us, it's often a sign that when we were young, we were never taught that our desires, moods, and voice mattered. And it reveals itself in our inability to stand up for what we want. But, we did learn that our mom’s opinions and fears mattered... or maybe it was our father's rage or pride. Or maybe it was someone who violated us sexually or verbally without our permission.
The silence that followed our feelings when we were young taught us that our voice, or our "yes" and our "no,” don’t matter. Our voice was violated. And crossing such a landscape taught us that our role isn't to form our world, but to get out of the way of it...
And here we are fifteen or thirty years later knowing that something needs to change. We know that if we don't value our moods and opinions, no one will for us.
Yes, it's painfully difficult and you'll mess up and get pushed over from time to time and forget as you learn to speak up.
But if you don’t start saying no, no one ever will for you.