The Power of Saying “No!”

dreamstime_s_161021280

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.

And the winner is...

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?

Victims of Bullying: Why it’s So Important to Set Boundaries

Vector prohibiting palm

You must have the courage to love yourself, even when it angers the people around you. That means setting boundaries, being clear on what you will and will not tolerate.

During grade 6, my first year at Oakley* Schools, I lacked boundaries because I didn’t know how to enforce them. Without those limits, I gave away my friendship, time, energy and power to people who never deserved it and left nothing for myself. I was bending over backward to please others, treading lightly, being careful not to rock the boat, and make other people angry. I had been conditioned to think that I wasn’t enough, and I should be anything other than myself. And I thought that being friendly, being accommodating, and being available would win me love and friendship. It didn’t. It got me the exact opposite- walked over, bullied, and mistaken for a fool because the people I was overly friendly to never extended the same to me in return. Without meaning to, I gave the impression that I was desperate to fit in.

A year or so later, during the seventh grade, I began setting boundaries because I was tired of being a doormat. However, first impressions are powerful and it was too late. The power dynamic and others’ expectations of me had already been set. What I should’ve done was drew the line from day one.

In junior high, although my boundaries were clear, many others violated them every chance they got for no other reason than to demonstrate their power and show who was boss. Anytime I said ‘no’ to any of my classmates at school, I would face retaliation of some kind- guilt trips, threats, or physical beatings because they had grown too used to me being a pushover. They were afraid that if I developed a spine, the benefits they were getting at my expense would stop. Therefore, the retaliation was their way of reinforcing their power and dominance and keeping me subdued.

But now that we’re all adults, let any of them try that today, and they will be very disappointed. Back then, I often wondered why nothing ever seemed to work out. Understand that timing is everything. And that you do have power, but for it to work, you must know how to use it and you must stand up for yourself the very first time bullies come for you. Otherwise, your place in the pecking order will become iron clad and once that happens, you might as well not have any power at all.

No entry sign

I didn’t realize it then, but during those early years in Oakley*, I was going about it all wrong. ‘You see? You must put yourself and your needs first. Never lower your standards or your boundaries! It’s okay to be kind, but never be nice! The difference between kind and being nice is that kindness is genuine. People are kind because it’s the right thing to do, not because it can win friendships or favors. Also, kind people never give at their own expense.

Nice people, on the other hand, want friendship and approval. Also, people who are nice give at their own peril and stick their neck out for others to step on, thinking others will come around when they realize how much they care. “Nicies” are under the impression that the more you suffer, the more it shows you care. Um- Wrong!

It gives the impression that you’re a pushover, a kiss butt, a bootlicker! Being nice never awards you any respect because there’s usually an ulterior motive and the reason for your niceness is to avoid conflict! Being kind, on the other hand, is genuine and others can sense the genuineness. Being kind is much more respectful. Being ‘nice’ is for wimps.

Understand that anytime you set boundaries, there will always be those who will hate you for it and retaliate. And they will fight you for a while to wear you down. That’s what bullies do! However, stick to your guns. Keep fighting for your right to be treated with respect. Show them that you will stand up to them no matter what they do, and eventually, they’ll get tired and realize that you aren’t worth the effort. They’ll go find an easier target.

So, always set limits and be prepared to fight to protect them. Be kind, yes! But if people start taking your kindness for being a fool and treating you like crap, don’t be afraid to tell these people to kiss off!

Being kind to others means being kind to yourself first.

*Not the real name of the town

The art of subtle bullying – how to identify it and how to deal with it

Mommy Me is a blog about parenting and as we know, if you’re a parent, there may come a time when your child becomes the object of bullying in school. I enjoyed reading this post and it has a lot of great insights. Please feel free to follow Mommy Me’s blog!

Mommy Me

Bullies don’t always act directly. Some bullies want to make sure no body knows that they have such intent. They can bully you in a way that no one notices but inside they may be tearing you apart. Such bullies torture you subtly but constantly and so powerfully that it might affect you emotionally and lower your productivity at workplace, school or even at home.

How to identify it ?

Isolating you :

Subtle bullying can happen almost anywhere. If you are in a group, say group of friends or at workplace, you might be isolated from that group, you might not be invited for parties or events. And the bullies make sure you get to know that you are not invited in the most subtle way after the event and you end up thinking about the reasons for not getting the invite the whole day.

Criticizing your talent :

View original post 330 more words