Monday, July 13, 2015

NO is a good word

When the kids were little tikes, they would often disagree about the games they wanted to play together. They would easily get into arguments. When one of them would come to me, frustrated, I'd tell them NO was ok.

Everyone has the right to say NO.

Someone would always balk at this because they weren't getting their way but then I would remind them that it works both ways. You have the right to say NO, too.

We would talk about ways to handle being on the receiving end of NO but my end goal was for them to realize that hearing NO didn't have to be traumatic. It was just part of the conversation. The challenge was to keep the conversation going and not to get stuck in the NO, emotionally. 

Now as the kids have gotten older, saying NO for them has gotten harder and a bit more complicated. For the record, they have no issue expressing NO's when I asked them to do something but, with friends and family, NO has gotten tangled with other emotions, not hurting someone's feelings, fears that someone will get mad in return and no longer be their friend or just a struggle with good and bad choices and the voice inside their head (that sounds an awful lot like their mother's) reminding them about kindness and being helpful.

On more than one occasion, both kids have confided in me the difficulty of wanting to say NO in a situation but not knowing how to for fear of any of the above reasons.

I know how they feel. It took me a long time to learn that it was ok to say NO and to notice my patterns for people pleasing. I stressed myself out royally for many years letting other people's expectations and emotions dictate my own.

For this reason, it's been real important to let my kids know that saying NO isn't a bad thing and if we think it is, we need to investigate and get curious about those feelings.

Saying NO is about establishing personal boundaries. Saying NO is about respecting and valuing your time and space. Saying NO is about saying YES to ourselves and remembering that our feelings are just as important as anyone's else's.

So how do you say NO?

That's what we're going to explore this week because how you say NO and express yourself can make all the difference in how a situation unfolds.

Happy Monday:-)

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