By Glenne Fucci, Regular ContributorSeptember 23, 2015
No. It’s such a simple two letter word; it may have actually been one of our first words. Yet, as we grow older we can find ourselves struggling to say it. It looms over us and no matter how hard we try to fight it, yes always seems to win out, even if not explicitly.
From a young age we’re programmed to be agreeable, to please others, to do whatever's asked of us, but we sometimes forget that we have the power to make our own decisions and to do what's best for ourselves.
Saying no can be incredibly difficult. It can be for the big stuff or the little stuff. Maybe it’s the moment in which your parents ask you if you want to continue participating in an extracurricular activity. You want to say, “I may want to try something new,” but you worry that you might disappoint them if you say no; so somehow a yes slips out. Or maybe it’s a Friday night in college and all your girlfriends are heading out to a party, but you have a massive paper due Monday. You’re too afraid to miss out on the evening, so you push the paper aside and then find yourself struggling to catch up on it the rest of the weekend.
We all fear saying no because we don’t want to disappoint; we don’t want to miss out; we don’t want people to think we’re rude or unfriendly or aggressive (or so many of the other words that women are unfortunately characterized with). We forget to think about ourselves and to go after what we want and what makes us happy. If we never say no or speak up for what we want, we can slowly start to lose ourselves.
image via patheos.com
In high school, even college, using your voice seems like a daunting task, but it’s so incredibly important to do so. As you become an adult (or some semblance of one) you want to be able to speak up for yourself in your career, your relationship, or just your daily interactions with other humans. When you’re in your twenties, so much of your life can feel out of control, but at the end of the day, knowing that you’re in charge of your own life makes you feel as if you’re on steadier ground.
It sounds silly, that saying no sometimes will make you feel as if you have some greater agency, but having the confidence and empowerment to do so carries far beyond.
It can say to the world that my voice, my opinion, my feelings, and my experiences matter. Women around the globe aren’t allowed to say no and are punished if they do, so we should appreciate and embrace our freedom to do so. We should always remember that we are agents of our own bodies, our own minds, and our own states of beings, and that doing what’s best for ourselves is super important. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t care or ignore the wishes and desires of others, but it is to say that you are equally as important. The more we care for ourselves, the more capable we’ll be of changing the world for the better.
We are all fiercely independent, strong, intelligent ladies, and we shouldn’t fail to contribute our voices to the communities around us. We all have it in ourselves to say no, whether something doesn’t feel quite right or if we would prefer sitting home in sweatpants and watching Netflix as opposed to going for a big night out. If we start saying no to the small things that don’t make us comfortable, pretty soon we’ll be voicing our opinions on the bigger stuff in our careers and relationships. Then after that we’ll be impacting the world in the most positive of ways. So girls, we have more control of our lives than we often give ourselves credit for; we’re capable of so much more than the limits we sometimes set for ourselves. Go out there, use your voice, fight for what makes you happy, and stand up for yourself even when things get tough!
Do you have a hard time saying no? How does saying "no" empower you? How can we have the courage to stand up for what we need and want more? Tell us below!
Glenne is a third year law student hailing from NYC, University of Michigan ‘13 grad and Beyonce enthusiast. Currently residing in Korea, her interests include duathlons/triathlons, traveling near and far, documentary films, consuming sugary cereal, watching mid-2000s teen dramas and singing her heart out at Betty Who concerts. You can watch her attempt to navigate Asia and beyond on Instagram @glennefucci.
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