How to say no – A personal journey

Published by Ali Gordon-Creed on

A friend shares her journey of learning to ‘say no.’

“I was brought up to believe that confrontation, in almost any form, was a bad thing and looking back, as a result of this there have been times in my life where I’ve been something of a pushover.

I was a shy child and didn’t want to stand out from the crowd, I had a happy childhood but it was very much a case of doing exactly as I was told and following a pretty set path.

My confidence grew as I reached my teen years and when I met my now husband his confidence and ability to feel so comfortable in his own skin started to rub off. I adored him, as I still do, and I saw myself becoming a more certain version of myself.

However, I think back to some situations, mainly work related, where I should have stood up for myself a bit more and said no but that old fear of confrontation would rear its ugly head and I’d go along with the crowd, or agree to a project, or meeting that I didn’t feel comfortable with, only to then war with myself inside.

Becoming a Mother has been the absolute joy of my life – I would do anything for my boys and their happiness, health and safety have been drivers for me to find more inner confidence.

Fast forward to the present day, both of my children are at secondary school and last year I found myself in a situation where ‘no’ became a necessary word.

The parent of another child in my childs’ year group had an issue with some teaching methods – she had gone to the school to speak to the teacher and decided to bring my child into the conversation. I knew nothing about this until the parent phoned me and told me the results of this conversation. The old me would have listened, probably agreed, put the phone down and then ranted either to myself or to my husband or a friend about what I was uncomfortable with, how angry I was, ‘how dare they!’ However, this wasn’t the old me, this was the new me, the Mother me! I was polite, I was clear, I expressed that I was not happy with my child being spoken about without my prior knowledge, opinion and consent.

The conversation ended without argument, there were no strong words exchanged, the other party were apologetic for over stepping my boundaries. The conversation ended with me feeling that I had represented myself in the best possible way; with truth, with intelligence and with care for the feelings of everyone involved.

It made me feel in control and empowered. I had spoken my truth, I had remained calm, I was not warring with myself in my head as I would’ve been had I not spoken my truth. I slept soundly that night, no ‘oh I wish I’d saids.’

No is so often associated with negativity, but I’ve learnt that saying no can be a huge positive.”




Categories: How to say no