Saying No as a Path to Women's Empowerment
Deanna Grey, certified Life Coach, teaches women how to empower themselves by saying no and shares 5 ways to get started.
There is often a stage in a woman’s empowerment journey when she begins to intentionally use the word ‘no’. For women who have been taught to put the wants/needs of others before their own, the word no can help set boundaries and engender self-confidence. A well-spoken no can be liberating. While I don’t recommend women adopt no as an overriding precept for creating a healthy/happy life, it does have its place in our vocabulary.
Saying no to an over busy schedule, saying no to a night out with friends when what you really want is a quiet night at home and saying no to your partner when he/she is in the mood for intimacy and you aren’t, are all ways the word no can be empowering. For some women, saying no takes courage and is not something they’ve had a lot of practice doing. As we say no to activities/requests/demands that drain our energy, attention and spirit, we are sending ourselves the message that we are important, that our wants/needs have value. We are honoring ourselves as individuals deserving of being treated with respect. An increase is self-respect is an empowering by-product of saying no.
If saying no is new and brings up worry or fear for you, start small. Here is a simple plan you can follow:
1. Create a list of activities that you typically say yes to when you’d rather say no.
2. Rank the list of activities from least likely to bring up worry/fear when saying no to most likely to bring up worry/fear.
3. In front of a mirror, practice different ways to say no when being asked to do the least worrisome/frightening activities on your list. Examples: ‘No, but thank you for asking.’ ‘Thank you for asking, but I’m going to pass.’ ‘No, not my thing.’ ‘No, but how about we do ____ instead?’ ’I’ll pass because I’m taking some time for myself today.’
4. For several weeks, say no using one or more of the phrases you practiced. Pay attention to how you feel when you say no (relieved? afraid? satisfied?), because eventually saying no will begin to feel good, really good!
5. As you gain experience and confidence in saying no to the least worrisome/frightening activities on your list, start practicing and saying no to the more worrisome activities on your list. Examples: ‘No, I’m not interested in doing that.’ ‘That doesn’t appeal to me, so no.’ ‘No, that wouldn’t be satisfying for me.’ ‘No, I don’t want to do that.’ ‘That might be fun for you, but it wouldn’t be for me, so I’m saying no.’
Over time and with practice, saying no to things that we don’t want to do becomes part of our self-care. Saying no actually creates more room in our lives and schedules for us to say yes to things that inspire us, excite our souls and create feelings of peace, happiness and joy. You deserve to be honored and respected by yourself and others – saying no is one path toward that end.
As always, I am honored to hold a sacred space for you as you discover your value and your power. I believe in you.
In Light, Love & Joy,