Saying “no” can be difficult and at times, even downright scary. Like when bullies are trying to force you to do something you don’t want to do and threatening either physical harm or worse social exclusion if you don’t do what they want you to do? I know the feeling because I’ve been there.
Nobody wants to get hurt, and the natural human response is to submit to make the pain and torment, or the threat of, stop. In your mind, you’re thinking, “Alright, alright! I’ll do it if you’ll go away and leave me alone!” I get that because it’s what I did. I submitted to my bullies many times, too many times, falling for the false promises that they would let me be and stop hurting me. But-
They never made good on those promises. The harassment didn’t stop. If anything, it only got worse! Anytime I did say no, I got threatened and yes, even physically attacked.
Saying no to a bully is never an easy option. It’s often risky, especially with bullies, because they don’t take no for an answer, least of all from their targets! However, not only is it necessary and imperative, but it feels darn good sometimes!
If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve said the word “no” a lot more than I did, regardless of the retaliation I would have faced, unless one of my bullies had done something drastic, like pulled a gun. That would’ve been an entirely different story.
In no way would I advice anyone to risk their life. If someone pulls a gun on me, I will do what I must do to stay alive! I’ll do what he wants and tell him what he wants to hear. I’ll dance a jig wearing fluorescent orange and white polka-dotted bell bottoms if it keeps me from dying!
But if they only threaten me with the business end of their fists and I know I’m only going to come out of it with a shiner and a fat lip, then it’s much safer to say no. Those wounds will heal. But the psychological injury of wishing I hadn’t let myself down will last for years.
However, if you do choose physical safety first, I want you to know that you’re not wrong for that. In no way will I ever think less of you if you submit to your bullies’ demands. As I mentioned earlier, a natural reaction is to obey to keep from being harmed.
Today, I say that little two-letter word a lot more and will continue to say it in the future, no matter what people say, how they feel about it or what they do. I would much rather get the crap kicked out of me and still feel good about myself for taking a stand than to spare myself a beating because I caved under pressure and let myself down by doing something I didn’t want to do. To me, that’s worse than getting my butt kicked! But that’s just me.
My physical wounds healed, but knowing I let someone else force me to do something I neither wanted to nor agreed to, left a psychological injury that took a long time to recover from. I ended up asking myself, “Now, why didn’t I tell those creeps to take a flying leap off the highest cliff head first?” That feeling of powerlessness was worse than the physical pain I would have suffered.
So, permit yourself to say that tiny little word because it can be so empowering! You may indeed get your tail kicked, but at least you’ll feel good knowing you got hurt because you stood for something! Those psychological benefits will significantly outweigh the embarrassment of any beat down! Besides, you forced a bully to do something foolish and which will likely get him in trouble with an adult or the law! So, I ask you! Who’s the real winner here?