No - It's Not The Worst Word You Can Say
A small word. Just 2 letters.
But a word with so much meaning, so much power.
If we use it right. If we mean it and stick to it.
But it's a word that so many of us struggle to use when we need to the most.
It's a word that causes a huge amount of internal conflict, because even when we know it's the right answer, we believe that those 2 letters, that one word, says everything bad about who we are if we use it.
If we say no, we're unkind, mean, not nice, difficult, confrontational, rude, selfish, disrespectful, unlovable, undesirable, unhelpful, unsupportive, everything that people don't like.
So instead we say yes.
Yes is easier.
It keeps the peace, it makes everyone else feel better, it doesn't cause as many problems, it's the polite thing to say, the nice thing to say. It makes us easier to love, easier to get along with, easier not to get angry at.
But sometimes we want to say no. Sometimes we need to say no.
So why is it so hard to say, especially to someone we love who is dealing with addiction?
Saying no is about asserting ourselves and about taking the responsibility of actively choosing what we will and won't accept, do, say or feel.
Saying no is about directing the course of your actions and your outcomes, regardless of what others would have you do.
The thing is, when you say no and someone doesn't respect your answer, they are trying to control you, manipulate you, force you to give them the answer or follow the plan they wanted you to.
When you say no, I won't, no, I can't or just no and they try to change your mind which ever way they can, you haven't been heard, you haven't been respected, your choice hasn't been valued above what the person you've said no to wants.
It is said that no is a complete sentence. And when you're strong in yourself this is usually the case. But if you've lost your sense of conviction, or never had it to begin with, no tends to be the start of a negotiation. A negotiation with those who know you don't have the courage to push back, to get you to the point when you change your mind so that they can get what they need and have it the way they want.
The thing is, it's not their fault.
We all take the easy road, if we can, and having people in our lives that will step aside for us, do things our way or give us more of themselves at their own expense makes living a life with addiction that much easier.
But what does it do for the person who said yes, when they meant no?
It erodes their self esteem, it keeps them small, it makes them do things they don't want to do, it causes them to feel frustrated and disrespectful of themselves, it takes away their power and creates a feeling of having little control of their lives.
It feeds regret, and shame. It wastes energy and depletes confidence.
From one word?
Think of all the things you have said yes to for the addict in your life, when you wanted to say no?
Then think of the feelings that came with those moments and, because I've been in your shoes, I feel pretty confident they will match some of those I have mentioned above.
The old slogan Just Say No seems ironic when it's the addict you need to say no to as much as they need to say no.
Because they can't say no we live with and love addicts. Because we can't say no we enable them to keep saying yes to their addiction.
Learning to say no is one of the biggest steps of freeing YOU from the clutches of addiction. When we say no we stop enabling, we stop feeding the addiction, we stop creating a safe space for it to stay settled and permanent.
It won't be easy, it won't always feel good, but when you can begin to say no you take back your power, you take back your choice, and you begin to decide what will be allowed in your life.
And you will be surprised how quickly the addict in your life begins to understand that you are no longer open for easy manipulation and enablement.
You can regain a much more even footing with this simple word and also regain a sense of control over your situation.
You have every right to say no. It's a word you can choose, just like anyone else.
It doesn't mean anything about the kind of person you are, it simply means no.