No to Yes

Lots of people have trouble with saying no. It carries with it the connotation of negativity, obstruction and disappointment. People much prefer to say yes. I know that you and your kind really do struggle with saying no. You prefer to be regarded as a can-do kind of person, positive and accommodating. You also find it difficult to say no to people as you really do not like to see the disappointment on their face should you respond in this way. It makes you feel bad and accordingly, you either avoid saying it in the first place or you change your mind if you have said it. Occasionally, you will take refuge in the realm of uncertainty.

“I will think about it.”

“We shall see.”

“Let me reflect and I will come back to you.”

“I just need to check something, but I think it should be okay.”

You want to say no, but you find that you are unable to and therefore you trot out one of these insipid responses and ultimately you will end up saying yes. We know this is a common trait of yours and something we rely on and play on. We are aware that you do not like to say no and therefore we will press and cajole to ensure you say yes. Do not make the mistake of thinking that we need your validation and approval. Far from it. We do what we want. We like to hear you say yes because it underlines our power over you. We can always make you say yes. Sometimes you do it straight away (especially if we have you conditioned correctly). On other occasions it requires some persuasion and in the remainder of cases we need to pull out our manipulative tool kit to achieve the desired result, but we always get there. You are designed to say yes, we programme you to say yes and you do so even if it is ultimately detrimental to you. You feel you need to please and that need is greatest when it comes to us.

By contrast we are firm disciples of the word “no”. It is a word of strength. It is commanding and authoritative. Those who can say no have fortitude, steel and resilience. We say it regularly. We are untroubled by the fallen expression, the noises of disappointment and pleading. In fact, should you beg and plead we will just keep saying no and sit back and enjoy the fuel that you provide to us by your behaviour. Beseech us, blackmail us, bribe us and bombard us with requests, nay, demands to say yes and every time we will bat you back with a firm no as we savour your increasing anger, frustration and upset.

We do not associate the word no with negativity. We see it as a positive word. It is one that enables us to assert and maintain our superiority. We are able to use it to control you and keep you in your place. We are fully aware that whoever is on the receiving end of the word no automatically feels bad because they have been denied something.

“No I do not want to have dinner with you tonight.”

“No, you cannot borrow my car this evening.”

“No, you cannot go out with your friends tomorrow evening.”

It takes guts and integrity to say no. You struggle to say it because you are used to being exploited and taken for granted. You may try and dress it up as being someone who always helps and is a facilitator but the reality is you end up being used. Notice how in those instances above where I stated no, I did not give a reason for the refusal, I just said no. That takes real strength. I do not need to fall into providing explanations for my decision. It is my decision, the answer is no, that is an end to it. I can do this because I am not accountable. I can do this because I do not feel bad when witnessing the disappointment of others. This enables me to achieve more and avoid being burdened unnecessarily.

You can learn a lot from my use of the word no. Just do not think of ever using it towards me. That’s a big no.

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37 thoughts on “No to Yes”

      1. Yes you did but you did not go into detail. Will you break something? Stomp around. Come close to the one who said no and look them in the eye so they can see the rage?
        I just had my piano lesson, so now I have lots to catch up on.

      2. I will do whatever is required in the situation to extract fuel to heal the wound caused by the criticism. If that means smashing something and doing so would not affect my façade, then the smashing will happen. If this means standing over somebody and glaring at them until I see them shrink from me and the fear in their eyes, I shall do it. If it means standing behind somebody and sensing their body stiffen as I tell them what will happen to them when they reach home away from the eyes of others, I will do it. Whatever manipulation is most appropriate given the situation and the need for fuel will be deployed.

  1. Lol. I did many times and also said yes others. More yes than no. Now I am learning to say No when i dont want to say yes. No more people pleaser. It feels good to say no to protect yourself from harm . I dont use it to hurt, just to protect myself and respect myself. Great article!

  2. How true HG.!! Funny story – when I was 18, before I had met all the N’s in my adult life, I dated a boy (not a N). He was a good guy and we dated for several years. During our 2nd year together, he actually helped me practice saying “no”. He thought I said “yes” to everyone and it wasn’t good for me.

    I distinctly remembering sitting in the car with him for well over an hour, while he would repeatedly ask me questions and I was supposed to say “no” with conviction. If I wasn’t convincing enough, he would repeat the question. I remember at the time thinking it was funny, though I did get better at saying “no”. But now after reading your post, it seems so fortuitous that it happened to me. Great post again HG.!! Thanks 🙂

    1. I had a friend do that with me too! Just for a few minutes. She even made her requests sound convincing, and she tried to do some bargaining, all that. I knew the answer was supposed to be “No,” but it was still hard. I think it’s a good exercise. Probably one all of us could do, either again or for the first time.

      Except you types at the other end of the spectrum. Your exercise would be saying “Yes,” without hidden clauses or inherent debt.

      1. I am entitled to do as I please. Telling me no denies me that right. This is a criticism. My fury is ignited. You will be subjected to cold fury or heated fury dependent on the situation, but you will be made to pay for having the temerity to deny me.

      2. Do you think I would stay there? I could not be caught. I was OUT OF CONTROL. If I had a child like myself, well, let’s just say there would have been another hole in the desert.

      3. I would STAND on the naughty step and scream at the top of my lungs for hours. My mom would just be happy I went away to another room.

  3. This HG is one of the most powerful things I have learned from you. I very rarely used the word no throughout my life. I never wanted to let anyone down. I always wanted to be the positive one and to help out where I could. But I realized that it showed people how they could take advantage of me and exploit me. I have shared with my counselor how you have showed me how your kind condition people like us to never use the word no. It was gradual for me. Eventually the word no was hidden somewhere that I couldn’t even find it anymore. I was just easier to not even consider saying it. I now practice how you would consider saying no. Not everyone needs a reason to why I’m saying no. Now I’m trying to say “no thank you” and leaving it at that. Thanks HG.

  4. Being able to say no to things, so as not to overextend yourself in your professional or personal life is definitely an empowering thing. Especially, if delivered in the right way, such as offering your assistance in another form or postponed for the next event, it in fact makes people appreciate that when you do help them it is of value. I never struggled with saying no…until JN came on the scene. Ehhhhh!

  5. What I know now, I wish I had known all my life….BUT..it’s never too late to learn “It’s never too late to be what you might have been”.George Eliot. Thank YOU HG TUDOR

  6. Bravo, HG. This is something I have had to teach both myself and others I work with. It’s a huge issue for those with low self esteem and women in particular are conditioned by society to be “nice” and “pleasing”.

    This is what I teach: “No is a complete statement”. No need to excuse, waver or debate.

    Now, I just said “no” Friday when I broke NC. I said no repetitively. It was good, hard, self care and self respect. No to getting back together, no to meeting up, and no to further contact.

    And, NO! I recommend everyone who has a hard time saying no t start practicing. Start small, no I don’t want milk with that. No, I got plans at that time. No, I’m not lonely.

    Cue “I ain’t missing you at all”…..loved John Wait in the 80s.

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