What a great writing prompt!
I’ve come a long way with being able to say no, but it’s been a steep climb. Before, I was afraid to say “no” because I strove to please. I’m sure this was programmed into me as a child. How can I belong if I don’t bend over backwards to do others’ wishes? Oh, right. The belonging comes from being myself, and having healthy boundaries is essential to knowing who I am.
Now, as a mother, saying “no” to my children means I have to get creative, often not using the word at all. “No” can be a gentle deflection, an invitation for tomorrow, or guiding their curiosity in another direction.
“No” comes into play in self-care so often. It’s a word I have to say to others, and to myself. No, I won’t stay up too late again, because I’ll be Zombie Mommy in the morning. No, I don’t really need more chocolate and coffee, I need more rest.
And always, on the flip-side of “no,” is “yes.” What am I saying YES to? Well, if I’m doing it right, I’m saying “yes” to myself. That is the beauty of “no.”