Charnae climbed into bed after a long stressful evening. Her head throbbed from all of the crying, pouting and defiant screams of her two year old daughter. She rested her back against the headboard, plugged her phone up to the charger and flipped on the television to finally get some much needed relaxation. As a business owner, mom and devoted family woman, her schedule hardly ever afforded her such opportunities. Oh good, Power’s on, she thought to herself as she nestled into her fluffy pillows.
Ten minutes into the show her phone began to ring, and without checking to see who it was, she answered.
She pulled the phone back from her face, looked to see who it was and immediately shook her head.
“Hey Tiffani, what’s up?” Charnae replied as she rolled her eyes to herself.
“How are you doing girl?”
“Is everything okay?”
Tiffani sighed heavily, “Life can be so rough sometimes. If it ain’t one thing, it’s another. You know Melvin lost his job again and I got these kids. It just ain’t fair. You know I got pride issues and I still owe you from before. I promise this will be the last time. I didn’t want to ask but Lord know’s I need a miracle. Cousin this will be the last time. I–I promise”
Charnae has heard this story before. Just a few months earlier, she loaned Tiffani several thousand dollars for another one of her “emergencies”. There’s been a history of financial issues and irresponsibility for quite sometime and because they grew up together, she always felt obligated to help. Charnae often gave even after she’d promise herself she wouldn’t do it anymore. The church taught her after all, that she’d have to be a giver in order to be blessed. This kind of giving became an unhealthy pattern, and to make matters worst, Tiffani’s Instagram posts always featured pictures from her lavish frequent trips and striking poses in her high end clothing. Saying no was difficult and this time was no different. Something had to change. She felt like she was being used and was tired of ignoring the feeling she felt when she dealt with people who continued to take advantage of her kindness.
At one time or another we’ve been in Charnae’s shoes. We internally want to say no, but the word yes flows freely from our lips. Saying no in reality is one of the hardest things to say and stick with. People beg and plead hoping we’d reconsider when we tell them no. The pressure mounts and we find ourselves time and time again, reluctantly agreeing to things that disagree with our soul. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there more times than I’d care to admit. Saying no extends beyond situations involving money like above. People, if you let them, will perpetually waste your time, money and energy. They will call you at the last minute when they need things and in some cases will put you in a spot where saying no could make you look like the bad guy. The tactics are indeed plentiful, and can certainly wear you down emotionally. Why is it so hard to tell people you don’t want to go? Why do you feel bad for telling someone you aren’t giving them anymore money? Why does your voice tremble when you tell a clown brother or sister you aren’t playing their games anymore? Saying no isn’t easy but for the sake of your mental health, you’ve got to learn to say it and mean it.
I grew up in the church, so giving was always a topic of discussion. I believed that in order to be a great person, I had to always put myself in a position to help someone whenever they needed it. I’d feel bad when I felt used and would make myself do things because I didn’t want to disappoint God. I had to learn there was a stark difference between genuinely giving or helping because it was the right thing to do vs. doing something solely because I didn’t want to look bad. Your no is one of your greatest weapons. Be a giver, sure, but don’t give when it inconveniences you or puts you in a tight spot. Don’t agree to do something if you aren’t lead to. Don’t say yes because someone is pressuring you to do so. If your answer is truly no, then let your no mean no, period. If they get mad, hang up on you or walk away, then you truly know where you stand. We’ve got to stand our ground in 2019. This is the year you speak up for yourself. This is the moment in your life when you shut the manipulation down as soon as it begins. It takes practice and there will be some growing pains when you start adding a period behind your no. Also, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you’re saying no either. You’re grown. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. NO, MEANS NO! No is the final answer.
In today’s world, now more than even we must take control of our lives. You’ve got the power. You’ve got the strength. You are the captain of your ship. You dictate how others treat you by being firm and demanding that others respect you.