I have a fascination with words. I'm verbose. I use all sorts of words to get my point across. I talk with my hands and I'm expressive to my core.
I'm a writer and a speaker. That's my thing.
But for years and years, there's one word that intimidated me to no end. I couldn't say it freely, let alone think of the using the word without breaking into an anxiety-induced pool of sweat.
It made my heart beat fast and my ears flush all sorts of hot. And not in a good way.
The word with so much power? The word my mouth held tight to as if it would cause me to unravel once letting go?
Two letters. So simple—yet so damn hard.
So, what the hell was the big deal? What was so difficult about saying the word NO when the need arose?
Well for me, for almost 30 years of my life—it was everything about the word.
Being raised in a broken home that required people-pleasing at all times didn't help. Neither did the fact that I was a product of this broken home, riddled with daddy issues and dying for acceptance at all costs. Suffering from an inner self-hatred so strong it caused me to do all sorts of things most young girls would balk at.
I'll spare you the details.
But then, somewhere down the line, I had a daughter. I had a little girl that I fell in love with so deeply, I became somewhat obsessed with making sure she could never feel the lack of self-confidence I suffered from my entire life. I became determined to build a strength within myself so that I could emulate all those strong female qualities I lacked for so long.
I became a peaceful warrior of female empowerment. And ironically, it all started with the word NO.
This word became my armor and shield, protecting me from anything that dared tread on my ability to live how I wanted to live. It became my guard against having to partake in anything I didn't believe in or that didn't bring me joy. It made me feel accomplished, self-assured, and sexy.
Sexy in that "I have full control of my happiness" kind of way.
So how can you adopt this word into your daily repertoire to help you feel sexier and more empowered?
Here are three scenarios in which those two little letters can make all the difference:
1. In business:
Whether you're in business for yourself or working for the (wo)man, I know you've said yes to a bunch of requests when you really felt like saying no. We're taught to comply, respect authority, and in the process, chip away at the strength we've built as adult beings. Maybe it was when you lowered your price just to snag that client. Or maybe it was when you got asked to cover more work on a group project than anyone else. This is when saying no will save you from losing time, money, a whole lot of sleep over a decision that impedes your ability to succeed and love what you do.
You know that saying, "No good deed goes unpunished"? You'll really understand it if you don't learn to say no—even to your boss.
2. In friendships:
This was a hard one for me. With friendships, I always found myself saying yes as a means to please, even if I was dying to scream NO at the top of my lungs. Being an empath, though, I knew how hard the word could sting, so I avoided using it in order to avoid conflict. I never wanted to be left out or thought of as the "difficult one." Because of this, I always ended up betraying myself and wasting hours of time when I would have been much happier doing anything else, even for the simplest of reasons.
Stop saying yes to plans because of a bad case of FOMO. Don't agree to dinner at a restaurant you hate. Don't agree to run an errand that will take you out of your way and cause you to miss something important in your own day. Your friends will respect you more for this, I promise. No one respects a doormat.
3. In love:
This was the most important area of my life to learn to say NO in. With all matters of the heart, it's only natural that we're torn between how we feel and what we know is right. Imagine how skewed this was for me, a broken girl desperate for love. I said yes to dates with men that I knew had bad intentions. I let myself get taken advantage of for the simple reason that I was scared to be left alone. This cost me time, innocence, money, and damaged what little self-confidence I had.
For goodness sakes, say no when it doesn't feel right. Say no when you feel uncomfortable or pressured. Say no to save yourself pain. Some men are like drugs—just say no.And with all of the above, if you ever run into a situation where your heart is telling you no but you just can't muster up the courage to say it, take a look in the mirror. Remind yourself who matters most. Say the word "no" to yourself and watch the transformation. "No" makes you strong, and strong makes you sexy.