Is it making enough noise to be heard?
Inside you there is a bottom line, a boundary, something you will not, can not accept, a solid NO. If you are like many people, you have ignored this bottom line many times. Perhaps you’ve never even known it existed. Maybe you are just now starting to discover its presence.
If you’re a determined or flexible type you might find yourself trying to negotiate with your inner “no” or over-ride it. (You can’t. It’s non-negotiable.)
If you identify as a spiritual person you might believe that it’s a case of mind-over-matter, that every thought and feeling is negotiable or optional. (It isn’t.)
But eventually you might discover that no matter how much you want it otherwise, an unyielding, non-negotiable “no” demands your attention.
“No” isn’t always a choice
Let me be clear about something: You do not choose this no. You do not create it. You can only acknowledge that it exists, that it is real. Sure, you can ignore it, but it will eventually exact its price. The price of ignoring your bottom-line no can be substantial. Over time, a deep dissonance is created inside you, a part of yourself rebels (or collapses) causing ripples in your psycho-emotional health, rifts in your relationships, and sometimes even physical illness.
Inconveniently, there is also a price that comes with honouring this no. By honouring our deepest no we are likely to lose something we want; this is why we sometimes ignore or betray the no for so long.
“No” comes with grief – Let it come
When we finally come around to honouring the deepest no in us, and the result is that we lose something, we are wise to allow ourselves to grieve for our loss. It’s the appropriate thing to do. Loss means grief. If we are going to get better at honouring our no, we will need to get better at honouring our grief. This is difficult for many people.
I’ll say it again: To honour your deepest boundaries, the unarguable NO that resides within you, you will be called to grieve. If you’ve avoided grief you’ve probably avoided your deepest no. These two avoidances tend to go hand in hand.
“No” paves the way for a better YES
Saying no also paves the way for a more meaningful, clean, powerful, satisfying “yes”. A client recently lamented that they had a hard time saying no, but also a hard time saying yes. They found themselves in a confusing kind of purgatory, an endlessly confusing and frustrating space of neither this nor that. As they describe the feeling, I recognized it immediately. I knew exactly what they meant and how they felt because it’s such a widespread phenomenon.
It’s been made abundantly clear to me through working with hundreds of individuals and couples – If we’re unable to honour the no inside us, to really “know the no”, we will conversely remain unable to trust ourselves to be a full and genuine yes to anything either.
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