Strong Minds Accept No Graciously

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“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.” Tim Ferriss

How did we become a society that cannot hear the word No? Why are we so sensitive to being told No? There is yes and there is No, there is night and day, dark and light, yin and yang, and on and on. So to be balanced and have strong minds we need to accept No in the same way we accept yes.

No simply means I cannot do what you ask. It does not mean I reject you. It does not mean I don’t like you. It does not mean I will always say No to you. Can you get me a glass of water? No I can’t, thank you for asking me. Please ask me again in the future. I cannot do as you ask. Period.

When we attach all this “stuff” to the word No such as: you don’t like me, you are rejecting me, you are not allowed to say No to me, I am causing conflict if I say No and on and on that is our problem. No simply means, I can’t do as you ask.  People tell me they don’t say No because they don’t want to hear No. Now that is a great way to go through life handicapped. When I was training for my Black belt, I had a great teacher who had us spar using just hands, or just our legs, or just our voices. While that is a great training exercise, it isn’t a great way to operate all the time. My assessment, that is what you are doing to yourself if you say I don’t say No because I don’t want to hear the word No. Now that means you have to say yes to everything. That sounds like a big burden to me!

It is so important to teach our children to be able to handle the response of yes and/or No. At this time I can’t do as you ask. When your child becomes frustrated and/or disappointed, you, as a parent must deal with those emotions. If you as a parent think the child is being rejected, you won’t be able to help your child. This is the way the world works. Sometimes the world works easily so we can get those lessons and sometimes it challenges us so we can get those lessons. The world may say yes to you and the world may say No to you at different times. We must learn to grow from the feedback we are given without a major emotional breakdown. Strong minds can say No and they can receive No graciously. Do you want to have a strong mind or a weak mind?

Find a friend and do this exercise together. First one of you will make simple requests of the other and the other will say No, Thank you for asking. Notice your body and its reactions.  Then switch so you both learn to say No graciously and then hear No graciously. Speak about what you felt in your body once you said No and then once you were on the receiving end of No. Do this over and over and over until your body doesn’t have any reactions to saying No or receiving No. Start with simple requests, may I have a glass of water, and move into the more challenging areas such as dating, sex, money or whatever is “hot” for you.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu


(c) Anne Brown 2014. Permission needed for reproduction in any form.

Follow me on Twitter @scienceofno and like my Facebook page Backbonepower The Science of Saying No for more updates!


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