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The Power of No helps you to be free. Never again hesitate to say No in these four common scenarios!
100 years back, the world was very different than it is today. Various forms of caste oppression existed across the globe. Kerala – a southern state of India known as Gods own Country – was not different from the rest of the world. Worst taxes, we could ever imagine, were imposed on lower castes. Lower castes had to pay taxes to the King of Travancore on land and crops, wearing jewelry, men growing mustaches and women covering their breasts! The intention of these heavy taxes was to flourish the upper castes and keep lower castes always in poverty.
Nangeli, a poor lower caste woman, decided not to pay the humiliating breast taxes anymore and continued to cover her breasts. When the tax collector came to her house to collect the pending taxes, she asked him to wait for a while. She cut off her breasts and presented them in a plantain leaf to him. She died on the same day. Following the heroic act of Nangeli, breast tax system was canceled.
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On December 1st, 1955, four black people sat in the middle row of a Montgomery bus.
Those days, segregation rules existed separating black and white people in public places. In buses, blacks could sit in the back seats allotted for them. The front seats were for whites only. Blacks could sit in the middle seats only if whites did not want them.
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A white man boarded after all the seats were full. The driver told the four blacks to stand up so that a white man could sit down. White and black people were not supposed to sit together in the same row those days. Three others got up. But Rosa Parks, a civil rights activist, stayed in her seat. The bus driver told her to give up the seat. Rosa simply said “No.” Rosa Parks got arrested for violating the laws of segregation.
Rosa Parks’ simple act of saying NO led to a series of protests across the United States against segregation rules and became a milestone on the way to equal rights for blacks in the United States.
Each person must live their life as a model for others. - Rosa Parks Click To Tweet
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The power of No
These two powerful women have demonstrated to us the power of No. Even in this era, we are reluctant to say “No.” In our day to day lives, we may not be facing similar kind of discrimination our previous generations have faced. Still, we struggle to say No.
Everybody around us would prefer to hear a “Yes” from us. “Yes” is commonly viewed as open-hearted, risk-taking approach. The power of No is rarely celebrated the way it deserves.
No is the declaration that we value ourselves. Click To Tweet
“No” is the declaration that we are not perfect beings and we all have limits.
On the last Women’s day, I heard on T.V many women talking about the sacrifices women do in their daily lives. Some even said that we work 24/7, we work inside the house and office, we get no sick leaves. These are not the words of any incompetent, poor women. These are the words of upper middle class, educated women. While I salute each woman for her sacrifices, I wonder when we are going to love ourselves. When do we start to value ourselves? When do we start to use the power of No against these old norms?
There is lots of negativity attached to the word “No.”
It is not easy to use the power of No:
- No is an oversensitive word and difficult to deliver.
- Even if we, tactically frame and give it, it might hurt others.
- It can lead to conflicts.
These are no reasons for ignoring the power of No. Following are some of the benefits you gain by exercising the power of No.
- The power of No helps us to stand up for ourselves.
- When we start using our power of No, we realize that people start respecting us more. People start valuing our time and stop exploiting us with worthless inquiries.
- Our value of “Yes” improves. We say “Yes” only when we can deliver it.
- The power of No helps us to maintain a work-life balance, as we can say No to avoid overloading ourselves.
- Do you think your No does not matter in a relationship? It is a warning to you that you are not truly being loved.
Do you find yourself in any of the below scenarios? Never hesitate to use the power of No.
It is always great to be helpful and generous to people around us. Being generous and supportive generally, brings happiness to all of us. But when the support or help is against your principles and values, never hesitate to say No. Going against your actual values will never make you happy.
For instance, suppose you went out with your friends. You do not drink alcohol. You have even told your wife that you do not drink. Friends are forcing you to have a drink, while you are at a bar celebrating a get-together with your college friends. Your Mind runs through “I do not like it!” “What about the promise to my wife.” Your friend says, “We do not tell your wife. Just Enjoy!” Do you avoid saying “No”? Your friends would like a “Yes.” But a “No” means you love yourself and value your principles. Isn’t your integrity important to you?
Many times, saying “No” boosts your self-esteem.
Read our articles on why you lack self-confidence and how to build self-confidence
Most of the time, you get derailed from your goals as you do not realize the power of No.
It is, again, the last date of project completion, Jimmy is working late to finish off his tasks.
On receiving a call from his girlfriend, Jimmy said he has not yet completed his job. His girlfriend criticized him for being always late to dinner. Jimmy asked himself: “How can I not listen to my colleagues who ask for help? How can I not give my opinion on the political issues when a discussion happens daily on my cubicle?”
Well, Jimmy has not known the power of No yet! While being kind and helpful is necessary, we need to prioritize our responsibilities. The power of No is an important tool to use in meeting your goals.
Never forget to use the power of No whenever someone tries to exploit you. Click To Tweet
Every time, Samson goes out with his friends, he ends up bearing all the expenses. Is not it high time Samson uses his power of No and stop this exploitation?
Jenny and Sarah are friends and colleagues. Whenever Sarah gets any work, without doing any research or analysis, she asks for help from Jenny who is more experienced than her. These frequent requests are overburdening Jenny. Shouldn’t Jenny use the power of No and let Sarah know about it!
Even in our most significant relationships, we face many sorts of exploitations. We do not oppose it because we fear to lose them.
Instead of being unhappy and doing the household work, next time when you feel tired, acknowledge that and ask for help from your dear ones. You will thank the power of No!
Does your friend always give you anxiety-driven bits of advice about health and social issues? Instead of silently suffering, use your power of no. Simply say, “No. I am not comfortable with listening to such pieces of advice”.
Sometimes, we realize our mistakes. When we understand, we are on a wrong path, never hesitate to use the power of no and turn yourself around. But as per social norms, these mistakes may seem to be the right things to do.
It could be joining a law college and then realize how stressful is going to be a lawyer’s life. Your choice may look great to people around you. You know deep down it is not going to make you happy. Then, do not delay using the power of No and take a new turn in your life.
Habits define us. Check out our articles on habit building here.
I understand that the power of No is not easy to use. We need to look at the bigger picture; we are not going to be happy without valuing ourselves. When a situation demands a No from you, never run away from using the power of No. Do you use your power of No? Please do share your thoughts as comments.