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There is Power in “No”

Do you have a hard time saying no? Better yet, do you fear the word? Crazy how two letters, N and O, when combined create a declarative sentence.


It’s a phrase that stands alone.

Personally—I’ve feared that word. I’m a people pleaser cause I’m afraid of being abandoned. So I feared using the word no for a very long time. I felt if I said no, people would abandon me. Sad right?

It took years before I could say it.

I started small.

When people asked for favors, instead of saying yes right away without looking at my schedule or counting the cost—I started to say: “let me get back to you.” This helped me slow down. It allowed me time to bounce things off my husband and make a better decision.

Then slowly I started saying no but felt the need to explain.

I later realized that no is a one-word sentence. No need to explain, just say no.

I admit it was tough at first. I even felt bad for saying it.

But it didn’t take long to see the benefits of using this word.

A good friend told me that saying no to someone means saying yes to a bigger priority.

There is power in this word.

I learned 4 valuable lessons from the word “no”.

  1. No is a protection. When something or someone is not for you, although it may be tough to process at first, you’ll later be grateful that it didn’t work out. This type of no keeps room open for better-suited opportunities.

2. No signals boundaries. There are some things that are a hard pass and that’s good. It means that you stand for something. You know your limitations and refuse to lose integrity when you act on your no.

3. No identifies need for improvement. Sometimes no is really a not at this time. That means you just have to strengthen a weakness or cultivate a skill before you get the green light.  

4. No builds endurance. I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic—a testament to creativity and creative living. Gilbert tells us about her long journey to become a writer. For every article she submitted that was declined she’d send two more. “Do you have the courage to bring forth this work?” she asks. Gilbert prompts us to be careful not to quit what we are pursuing too soon. When someone tells us no, it can make us stronger, build persistence and stamina to achieve our goals.

No is not the end of the world. Many times, it’s a positive. What lesson did no teach you? Comment below.

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