The Power of “No”

20150223 griot3

March has been declared Women’s History Month for almost thirty years, twenty eight to be exact. But, we don’t necessarily need a national declaration to bring attention to the impact women have on society, do we? When I think of women who shaped the nation I know today, I imagine Sojourner Truth pioneering the abolition of slavery. Assaka Shakur, political refugee, continuously advocating for women’s equality or Melba Beals, fifteen years of age, one of nine who physically endured the integration of public schools. The list of powerful women are endless: Rosa Parks, Hattie McDaniel, Maya Angelou, Coretta Scott King, Shirley Chislom, Condoleeza Rice, Michelle Obama and let’s not forget one of the first women in history, Eve, who even to this day, independently changed the course of history – and no one is letting her live that down.

Despite all the impact, guidance, and influence women has had on our nation’s history, how much time you think those women took for themselves? Honestly, how much time do you take for yourself? As women, some of our best characteristics are to work tirelessly for the cause, the mission, the objective. We will go the extra mile, stay late, put our wants and needs on the back burner for others. As much as that work ethic produces great results, simultaneously, if you’re not careful, it will wear you out. It will leave you so drained you won’t have the energy to enjoy anything else in your life. So how does the 2015 woman pursue everything she desires and still keep herself balanced?

20150223 griot2Just say no – unapologetically.

I could write a twenty page dissertation on the benefits of saying no without reason. And there are that many, but I will spare you the lengthy read. Below I will give you my top three benefits of applying this life tool to every area of your life.

  1. Saying No creates boundaries – listen, you should not be available to anyone or thing twenty four hours around the clock. You have to take time for yourself to recharge. It is imperative to carve out moments of silence so you can think, and connect to your higher self, and center yourself. Saying No is how you create this space. Remember, you are no benefit to others, if you are running on fumes.
  2. Saying No adds validity to your word – When you say “No” you are modeling to others that your words have efficacy. Of course, you have to back up what you say with your actions, but that is a given. When your words are valid, you are creating trust in your relationships. People want to feel secure in all their relationships: work, personal, platonic, romantic, alike. If others know they can count on your words and actions to match, they will want to continue to build relationships with you. If you never say no, what will your yes be worth?
  3. Saying no conveys certainty- As women; we are often not taken seriously. Yes, I know it is 2015. Yes, I know we have a whole month dedicated to us. Yes, I know a woman president will be next or at least I hope so. Well, hopefully, in my life time. But when we say No and follow that up with an explanation, it communicates doubt. It appears as if you are seeking approval in the stance you just made. Be confident and assured in your decisions. No really does mean no.

Do you think any of the women who made waves in our society blundered, stumbled or compromised their stance? Not at all. They all grasped the importance of saying No, without explanation, reason, or unapologetically. There are no special tricks to saying No. No special way to phrase it. The important factor is to just do it. Do it often. Do it – unapologetically.

20150223 griot4Nikenya Hall is a native Oklahoman transplant New Yorker since December 2011. With a Bachelors in Psychology and Masters in Human Relations: Counseling from the University of Oklahoma, Mental Health Professional Nikenya Hall is redefining dating, relationships, and everything in between using her degrees, ten years of professional experience, and day to day life chronicles. Throughout her therapeutic sessions, daily conversations, and overall observation, Ms. Hall noticed a void with young professionals with expressing their authentic needs and wants in romantic and platonic relationships alike. From this observation SNIT Chronicles: Spicy Nikenya in The City was created to guide those to a path of fearless authenticity. Her private practice, Achieving Balance Counseling and Holistic Institute will be launching in the fall.


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