I have always been a yes madam kind of girl. I still am though but sometimes it puts you into spaces where people take advantage of you. You can also put yourself in spaces that are very uncomfortable for the sake of other people. I don’t know if its the fact that I cannot stop smiling or the negative perceptions that come with saying no. But haaai… Kunzima mtase.
There has always been this perception that if a woman says no, she is bossy or too assertive. Or that she thinks she is better. I have always been afraid to be perceived as mean or nasty but, I have realised that the skill of saying no may be vital in the journey of becoming a woman.
Perhaps the root of it lies with never feeling like you deserve to be in a particular space. I remember listening to someone I would refer to as an older sister. She spoke about how because of her background she felt the need to apologise or squeeze her feet into shoes that are two sizes smaller. The minute she realised that she belonged there not because of people but because of her hard work. Things began to change for her. She stopped apologising for being in spaces. She began saying no to things she knew did not sit well with her. She says it felt freeing because it meant taking back the power that she placed in other people.
I can’t write this blog and confidently say that I have crossed that bridge and that a ‘No” will always be guaranteed to come out of my mouth each time I genuinely do not want to participate in something, but I am trying… I have begun with stopping this apologetic attitude with how I respond to my emails.
My “ Thank you so much for your time.” has changed to “Thank you for your time.”
I know that doesn’t look like a big difference but to me it is.
Learning to say no is learning to stay true to yourself. Learning to say no is setting boundaries. It is learning to guard your heart. It is learning to do things not for the sake of other people but because you wholeheartedly want to.
So the next time you say no, don’t feel bad about it. Be at peace with your decision.