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Reframing no.

How do you feel about saying NO to someone? I am asking this because for most people it is really hard!! For me it’s hard. It feels like slamming the door to someones face! In my mind I am somehow putting them down, letting them down or being a bad person if I say NO. I feel ashamed and for some reason guilty.

Last night I couldn’t sleep and suddenly it hit me. Why does NO have to be a bad word?? Why have we positioned it as such a spoiler in our minds? Of course it starts with when we are 1 year old and mom starts screaming ”NOOOO!! Do not put your finger there!” Or, ”NO, stop it right now, drawing on the wall is not ok!”

Year after year we learn that NO means ”the end of fun”.

NO means stopping on our tracks doing something, or stopping us before we even get to do anything! NO as a word is carrying such a burden, such a stigma, in our minds and that’s what makes it hard for us to use it. It makes us feel bad.

So I was lying in my bed (all my great ideas come at night time) and thinking about the new positive reenforcing education for dogs. And I vaguely remembered that NO for a dog is way too abstract, and you should instead direct the dog to do something she understands. For example to stop the dog from jumping against you when you come home, you should tell her to sit down (instead of repeating no) and then reward her. Could this work for kids too??? My precious daughter is drawing on the wall, instead of NO I could just suggest ”Honey, why don’t you use this peace of paper that we can frame your beautiful drawing and put it on the wall?” or ”Honey, mummy saw a big booger in your nose, get it out fast with your finger (instead of putting that precious finger in the socket)”.

This lead me to think why not create a way of positioning NO as something else than I described above? Could there be a way of freeing us and this little word from its hard image?

Well yes, I do have an idea. What if we started to reframe the word, intensionally give it different meaning in different situations?

What if we could see NO as opening up to an opportunity, a new way of creating what we want and a possibility to tae a different approach?

*If I decline this request I am giving an opportunity for someone else to do that project

*If I say no to this person she will have an opportunity to connect with someone

*Saying no opens up a way to do things differently

*When I say no to this I am putting myself first and showing me I care for myself

*Saying no is a way to keep my schedule open to keep a promise

*No is a huge a possibility to step out of comfort zone and grow as a person (for me and the other person)

So instead of feeling guilty for saying NO to someone, we would create this tingeling sense of excitement inside our soul by taking into account all the good things that may arise from this.

I'm starting to like this idea more and more.

And hang on. I remember times from very recent history that someone saying NO to me has indeed been a blessing! Can you think of a situation, the shittier the better, where the end results have become better because of a NO? How many times NO has turned out to be an opportunity for you? That is what we call proof!

Renja is a love and transformation coach who inspires women to live lives true to themselves. Her strengths lie in listening and problem solving. Her clients describe her with words like: open, warm, firm, dedicated and creative. She is the founder of Ahaa Helsinki, that aims to bring down to earth coaching available for everyone. She believes in making decisions, creating visions and taking action. She absolutely loves what she does, and she is always open for women who are willing and committed to create better lives for themselves.

Renja has a master's degree in Economics and completed the Mentor Masterclass Life coach training program.

Renja writes two blogs: one in english here. And one in Finnish here.

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