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  • Writer's pictureMarianne Wieland

The Power of 'NO'

A small word but with a powerful meaning. Sometimes overused and sometimes not used nearly enough. Some say 'no' to everything, even before the question is finished. Those that have been hurt often, tend to keep themselves at a distance to keep from getting hurt again. They may come across as distant and unfriendly This is a state of self-isolation, which is a form of depression. It stems from fear. Saying the word 'no' to everything, feels powerful, and that makes it hard to see the dark side that has been built up. The opportunities missed.

The other side of this powerful word belongs to those who find it very hard to say 'no' at all. Some find it difficult to say 'no' to even the smallest thing and find themselves being taken advantage of. Most in this situation have a history of some kind of abuse, be it mental, physical, or sexual. The abuse has worn them down over time to where they automatically agree to something they don't want to do or find themselves in a situation they didn't see coming. But they go along because they can't say 'no'. Those who suffer from this, are also in some form of depression, stemming from low self-esteem, and are easily bullied.

As most of you know, I work in counseling so I deal with these issues often. But, in most everything I write, I also have first-hand knowledge. I can tell you it is very hard to break out of these patterns and very easy to slip back into one of these situations before you realize that you have. Once again, I will use myself as an example of how that can happen.

I have an Instagram account and I love birds, so I follow a few people who post pictures of birds. One guy raises parrots. I had never seen him write in anything but Arabic, so I never understood anything he was saying. One day he posted a beautiful Macaw. I commented, "Beautiful bird". A few hours later I got a message, in English, from this guy thanking me for my comment. I explained that I had just given my parrot away. He asked about the parrot and finally asked where I live. I said I live in America. He said he lives in Tunesia. Now, every friend I have had from Tunesia asked for money or sex and I have had to block them. That was a 'red flag'. But he then explained he was a professional football player with a knee injury. Too late, I realized he had seen my profile saying I was a nurse. He asked advice on his injury. I answered his questions, being happy to help. Then he asked to do web cam. I thought that was odd, so I said I don't do that. He began to 'cyber bully' me to do web cam so he could see my chest. I did not see that coming and told him what I thought of his request. I said 'no' but I should have blocked him at this point. Then he said he was sorry for making the request and he would not bother me again. He said he felt ashamed of himself with several 'crying' emojis. I said, "Don't worry about it. I am sorry for being so harsh in the way I responded to your request." He sent back several 'heart and winking' emojis.

That is when it hit me. He had made inappropriate requests to me and I ended up apologizing to HIM for it. I blocked him right away. It can happen to anyone. Even to those of us who have managed to learn to say no. Many are good at finding your weak spots. If you get requests such as this or worse, or are being bullied, shut them down. Block them. You don't have to take it. When you get messages, read them well before responding. Don't take every friend request. You don't have to. If you are suffering from depression and looking for a kind word from anyone, please consider getting help, before something like this escalates into the danger zone.

'No' is a powerful word. Learning how to use it in the right way makes you powerful too.

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