The power of NO can give us the permission to say YES! While I was teaching two amazing workshops at the lifestyle swingers event “Valentines in Niagara” I learned something so valuable, I was moved to make a little addition to my workshops going forward.
When I set up a safe and non-judgmental space at the beginning of each of my workshops I always have participants make three permission and power statements. For example: “I give you permission to be horny!” or “This is a safe and non-judgmental space!” But during the Niagara workshops, I was inspired to include a statement that would help people practice saying “No thank you.”
Here is how the exercise works: One person asks “May I touch you?“ The other responds with “No Thank you.” When I first saw this, it was amazing to watch everyone’s body language and how hard and uncomfortable it was for some of them to hear “No,” and how challenging it was for some to say “No thank you” with a loving tone. So if people are reacting that strongly to a fake experience, think how people may be feeling in real situations. If we don’t feel we can or should have the right to say “No thank you” how can we feel safe to express our desires? When you are denied your personal or physical truth, which may be “No thank you,” then it is very challenging to feel safe enough to speak your truth.
So let’s explore the word “NO.” Why do we have hard time saying it and even harder time hearing it?
When we are children, around the 2-years-old mark, we go through a “No” phase that is a natural part in developing independence, testing our own limits and the limits of others, and learning to voice and express our personal boundaries. This is a very important development stage, and most of us didn’t get to go through it in the explorative manner we needed to. The adults around us unknowingly squashed this “no” stage as fast as possible because it is very hard to get anything done when your child is soooo uncooperative. I understand and have empathy for those parents, but this is why many of us are no good with “No.”
- Some become a people pleasure and say “yes” when they don’t want to
- Some rebel and always say “no” when they may want to say “yes”
- Some hear the word “no” and react from a place of rejection
- Some may never ask for what they want because they are so afraid of hearing the word “no” they stop risking it
- Some may become angry in tone if they feel you have made them voice the word “no”
- Some may not be able to set boundaries or respect others’ boundaries
These are just the few disadvantages of not being able to learn at the age of 2 that your “no” should be respected, just as you should respect the “no’s” of others.
Time to talk about YES:
When you feel comfortable saying “No Thank you” and you are comfortable allowing others to say “No Thank you” to you, the happy by-product that I have noticed is your comfort and ability to say “YES” seems to increase. Most of the time I am comfortable with saying “no” to others, but I have been working on being okay with other people having the right to say “No thank you” to me. When I ask for what I desire, want and need, it is super important to allow others to be able to say no to all or some of my requests. Remember, we’re talking about making requests, not demands. Instead of feeling rejected or hurt, ask “Why?” and respect their answer, just as you would like others to respect yours.
How does this affect your sex life? The most important part of any sexual experience is speaking your truth and asking for your desires. Honest, real and safe communication is key to having an epic sex life! If you cannot say “NO” when you need to and cannot hear the word “NO” then how can you feel safe and trust in your lover.
P.S. If you have had physical, emotional, or sexual trauma, your personal, emotional and physical boundaries have been interfered with. Please reach out to get professional healing support so that you can claim your voice.
“No thank you” and “Yes please” exercise:
- With a partner (this can be anyone you want to practice with) decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B.
- Partner A will ask 3 questions: May I hug you? Would you like more food? Will you go out tonight with me?
- Partner B is going answer “No thank you” in a loving tone to each question.
- Both partners should take mental notes of how their body felt when they asked or answered. How did you feel emotionally? What thoughts or stories did your mind have?
- Now partner B asks the questions and Partner A responds with “No thank you.”
- Then again pause to take mental notes of your body, feelings, and thoughts.
- Partner A will now ask, “May I touch your hand?” Partner B will respond with “Yes please.”
- Partner A now softly touches partner B’s hand.
- Both make a mental note of how your body felt and what thoughts you had during the interaction.
- Switch and have Partner B ask “May I Touch your hand?” Partner A will say ”Yes Please.”
- Partner B touches Partner A’s hand softly.
- Both make a mental note of how your body felt and what thoughts you had.
I hope this helped you gain some new insights on yourself. Practice saying “No thank you” when you don’t want something and saying “Yes please” when you do. Listen to yourself and honor your internal truth. I will write more about this topic on another article to cover the “but I don’t want to hurt others’ feelings” issue. On that I will quickly say, speaking your truth from a kind and loving place is less hurtful than lying to make someone else feel better. In the end the respectful truth is always better than a lie.