It’s Ok to Say “NO”

I know the feeling of refusing someone can be difficult. I remember when I was younger, saying “no” meant that I was hurting someone’s feelings and I would feel horrible if I said “no.” What I did not realize, that not saying “no” can also hurt me too! “No” comes in different forms to different situations and they all mean the same “no.” I am here to tell you that “it is ok to say no.” The second grade, I remember it so well because I knew someone who did not say “no” although I was not in her shoes in that moment. I was looking on the outside judging her. I had no right to judge her because little did, I know, I was not able to say no when it came to certain situations. I was sitting across from her in the other group of tables and a boy was sitting next to her. She had her head down looking at me and when I glanced down, the boy was touching her privacy and she just laid there and did not move. I thought to myself “Why doesn’t she push him away and say no?”, but it never occurred to me that maybe she is scared to say “no.” Although, we were in the second grade, I knew how can we want something in that manner to happen to us? I never got around to ask her about the situation, and I left it alone and moved on. Years later, I was in her shoes not being able to refuse others who were harming me because I felt that I was going to harm them by refusing them. My heart, so pure, scared of hurting others by using one word. I was in a relationship where I felt that “no” was not an option and that lead to a lot of self-hurt. I did not realize what I was doing by not using the word “no” until I was completely torn. I did not refuse my friend that day because I felt bad not accompanying that him/her to the party they wanted to attend although I did not want to go. I got dressed and I was dragging myself out of the house, but I felt obligated to go because I had to be a good friend. We arrived at the party and the women were outnumbered by men. I knew two other women who had attended that night, so I felt a little comfortable after seeing them. Time passes and the person I came with, switched their mood against me and asked all the women in the party “who is going with me because I am leaving?” All the women, including myself volunteered to leave but the person I came with told me “No, you’re staying, you’re not getting in my car.” I turned around and looked at all the men behind me and they all gave me a look like I was on the menu. The person I came with left me there and in that moment, I had a feeling that this is was a setup. Only one of the women I knew, stayed and realized that if I was stranded there, something bad would happen to me. Because she stayed, I was saved, and we went home instantly. I realized then, I was close to the possibility of being sexually assaulted because I could not say “no.” This experience is one of the many experiences I have had where I felt like saying “no” will hurt someone. It is ok to say no! Don’t feel bad when you say “no” if it means putting yourself and safety first.

No means no!