I like to say I came out of my mother’s womb saying “NO.” Maybe I am being a little too dramatic so I am going to say… My first word was “NO” and my first statement was “No, don’t touch me.”

I was not like most toddlers; I didn’t enjoy being held by many people. Because of that many people thought something was “wrong” with me or I was odd. As I grew up, I continued to use the word “no” and it was frowned upon by others. Instead of being odd I was now “mean and hateful.” Which was the opposite of who I was; I just knew what I did and did not want to do. I felt excluded because I did “fit in.” So, I changed to accommodate others. I wanted to be accepted.

As I stopped saying “no” and starting saying “YES” I began feeling beat down and overwhelmed. Most of my relationships were one-sided. People were getting their needs met; however, I was left feeling empty. They were unconsciously and consciously taking advantage of me. I can’t put all the blame on them because I allowed them to treat me this way because I always said “YES.”

During a moment of reflection, I had an A-HA Moment. If I valued myself as much as said I did why was I allowing people to treat me this way? I was putting people’s needs over my own. Although, I knew I was exhausted mentally and physically I was still running around the world trying to be there for everyone else. The people who I was helping looked well-rested and great, yet I was looking like I had been run over by a truck! I was verbally saying I loved myself but my actions were saying something totally different. Remember, that little saying, “Actions speak louder than words.”

I have learned that there is power in the world “No.” I was not mean because I said “No.” In fact, I was practicing self-care by being assertive, setting boundaries and protecting myself from others.

By nature, most women are nurturers. We put their kids, spouse, family and friends before ourselves. With all that is going on in our lives, we often forget about ourselves. We make ourselves an after-thought and often times unknowingly hinder those we love by becoming short tempered, ineffective and impulsive. As a result, we expect other people (spouse and close friends) to step in “rescue” us. We hope they will plan something or perform a kind gesture to relieve our stress and it would be nice if they did but it is not their responsibility. People are not going to treat you better than you treat yourself. Remember, you set the example of how YOU want to treated. In other words, teach people how to treat you!

Bottom line: Saying “NO” says:

I love myself.

I am aware when I have reached my limit.

I have established boundaries.

I am not going to allow people to take advantage of me.

I love myself.

Remember:  Their emergency is not your emergency!

Living Your Life On The Offense 



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