Saying No

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In my recent search for housing, nothing has seemed quite right. The places I’m considering seem to be getting closer to right…and it’s disappointing to have so many false starts but I’m sensing saying ‘No’ is an important practice for me at the moment. There have been so many offers. I’m now advocating for saying ‘No’ whenever necessary and trusting that the right people and situations will stick around in your life even if you say ‘No’–even if you say ‘No’ 1000 times!

Anyone who doesn’t respect and accept a simple No, doesn’t have space in my life! Charging money is also a boundary and can be a way of saying No. Not responding to a text/email/phone message is also a fine way to say “No thank you,” to an offer or invitation. Pressuring yourself to respond when you don’t want to is another way of short circuiting your power to say ‘No.’

People who’s boundaries were respected more as children, who were less fearful as children, or who have undergone less trauma may have an easier time saying No. Perhaps those who’s parents were more supported and didn’t feel desperate for them to say ‘Yes’ all the time. I, on the other hand, often notice myself saying Yes to certain things without even thinking about it, and then later wondering why. I also get anxious about how to say ‘No’ nicely, or I consider something I really have no interest in, forgetting that saying ‘No’ is even an option!

I’m currently in a phase where all kinds of almost right or not quite right or all wrong housing situations are coming my way. For awhile I was feeling anxious and frustrated, caught between excitement and disappointment, see-sawing up and down-and experiencing guilt and shame, sensing others are going for a perhaps similar ride when I say “Sounds great!” and then, “On second thought..no.”

Saying ‘No’ is our birthright. It preserves our space and acknowledges our spirit. There is some talk and even valid theory on the practice of saying ‘Yes’ or phrasing all ‘No’s as ‘Yes’es by expressing what you do want or are looking for. For me it can be a relief to simply say ‘No,’ even if I only say it in my own mind and not out loud. Others can handle a ‘No’-they aren’t so fragile that my boundary will break them. I love the idea of saying No, over and over as many times as I need to, to practice remembering that I can, flexing, stretching and building my ‘No’ muscle. People can sense your No muscle, and as you strengthen it, people might be a bit more hesitant around you-hesitant to assume “anything is okay” with you. Yet, I often try to comfort others with reassurance that “anything is okay.” This actually weakens my ‘No’ muscle, if it’s not really okay with me, and I need to be really honest with myself about whether it’s actually okay. This is a power we don’t always own. It is especially important to listen to our inner sense of Yes or No in the beginning of an endeavor/job/relationship. Often times people are very eager to start something and fail to express boundaries early on, which makes it harder to do later. Saying ‘No’ when I initially said ‘Yes’ may still be necessary, but I feel I am learning to say ‘No’ sooner, so I am less likely to allow myself to be harmed or hurt.

I also respect when others say ‘No,’ trusting the Yes I need will come. Trusting a ‘Yes’ will come to the person I said No to. If it’s a ‘No’ for me, it’s a no for them, since there’s only one of me! Every time someone has said ‘No’ to me, I later realized my answer was ‘No’ too (sometimes it took years for me to realize…). Ah the No. The No knows.

Having extreme allergies and other sensitivities has forced me to need to say ‘No’ a lot. There are many indoor places (with pets) I cannot go in without having an asthmatic reaction. I believe my extreme sensitivities in part came to me to teach me how to say ‘No.’ Almost every time I get allergies, the situation is wrong for me anyway and the allergies signal the No. As an empathetic person, saying No can sometimes feel nearly impossible or doesn’t even occur to me as an option. As a healing person, I can easily merge with others energetically, feeling their feelings and healing them, or picking up their energy without always realizing it right away (though I’m getting better at realizing it). This tendency to merge comes from being a healing spirit as well as from the child in me. There’s a child in me that never wanted to grow up and individuate, a child that wanted/wants to be able to rely on others and feel safe, feel taken care of emotionally and even physically in ways I didn’t always receive as a kid. There’s a part of me that feels I deserve to be taken care of by others since I wasn’t always as a child…a part of me that longs desperately to merge, to find attached possessive parents who won’t let me say ‘No.’ And another part of me that is terrified of that and keeps people at a distance, assuming they won’t accept my ‘No’s, or I won’t have access to the parts of me that can voice them.

This is all big stuff that takes a lot of unraveling but right now I’m starting with the basics life is presenting me with: practicing saying ‘No’ over and over. Trusting my ‘Yes’ will come in its own time and all the Nos are strengthening, ripening, seasoning and preparing me for the blessed Yes.

Saying No is a 1st and 2nd chakra endeavor. Yes is 4th and 5th chakra, so I see my ‘No’s as building a root system and a base-a stump- on which Yeses can branch out, leaf and flower.

It’s like #1 we need safety, we need to keep harm away-so we have a home of some kind perhaps. An enclosed structure of any kind is basically a way of saying No. There’s usually a lock on the door, which says No to anyone coming in uninvited. Even the clothes we wear are ways of saying No. Our pants or skirts are often zipped up or buttoned-this says No, you may not see or touch these parts of my body without my permission/invitation. From there we can move on to Yeses such as decorating our houses and clothing-but the No part is so fundamental, so basic, so important (and under-celebrated).

Let’s have a No party! NoNoNoNoNo!

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