I’ve been talking about boundaries (Introducing Boundaries and Influence vs. Ownership) a bit lately, and today’s post falls under that general category as well. To summarize, with boundaries we are to be responsible for our own property (our thoughts, feelings, and actions), and we cannot be responsible for those things in others.
When we respect others, we respect that they own their own property and that we do not own or control their property. That means that we cannot try to control someone else’s “no”. Let’s apply the golden rule: “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you”. That means if I want my “no” to be respected by others, I also need to respect the “no” of others (even if I don’t agree with it!).
Have you ever said no to doing something with a friend and they can’t seem to hear your no? They keep nagging you and trying to get you to feel guilty for saying “no”. They demand answers, and don’t seem to give you the freedom to choose. It’s really frustrating, isn’t it? The reason it feels so frustrating is that, fundamentally, we aren’t being respected.
However, if you want someone to respect you in this situation, you must also respect someone else’s no, even if you really want them to do something or spend time with you. It’s two sides of the same coin.
People who are healthy individuals can hear our no and respect our no, even if it doesn’t align with what they want in the moment. Of course compromise does need to occur in situations, so discussions can of course be had. But, when push comes to shove, our NO MEANS NO and we need to have that respected. Healthy relationships will allow us the freedom to say no (without trying to induce guilt, remove their love or acceptance, etc…).
Here’s my challenge to you this week: Own your no! Evaluate your relationships to see which ones are healthy, and which people will respect your no. Evaluate yourself as well to see if you accept someone else’s no or if you try to violate their right to a “no” in their life.
Now it’s your turn to share! I’m sure we’ve all had someone try to take our right to say “no” away- what does that feel like? What is so tempting about not respecting someone else’s no?