Women are hesitant and afraid to use the one word that frees them, honors them, earns them respect, and gets them what they want. It's a word too many of us think of as negative, but once uttered in the tug-of-war that is divorce, is extraordinarily satisfying. You will come to use with increasing frequency and cherish this word once you master the skill of saying it.
The word is NO.
In her book, The Book of NO: 250 Ways to Say It—and Mean It and Stop People-Pleasing Forever (McGraw-Hill), Dr. Susan Newman, a social psychologist tells us how to get over the hump of being agreeable (and why we should). She talks about her own divorce and how the word "no" changed her life.
You’ll want to start flexing your NO-muscle to begin to feel truly liberated. Here are 5 basic steps from The Book of NO to get you started:
1. Make a list of your "yeses" over the period of a week. One request could send you into a tailspin, while it might take four or more to set off someone else. The real gauge is how pressured, tight for time, or resentful you feel.
2. Pay attention to how you parcel out your time. When your time is well managed, you’ll keep some in reserve for what’s most important to you.
3. Get your priorities straight. Who has first crack at you without your feeling burdened or anxious?
4. Know your limits or start to define them if you don’t know what they are. They can be emotional or physical or both, but there’s a point at which your line is crossed. How long are you willing to put up with your ex’s or soon-to-be ex’s demands?
5. Give control to others to ease your responsibilities. Eliminating the need to run things yourself to be sure they turn out the way you like them relieves much of the pressure you put on yourself.
Following these steps will help you exercise your right to say NO and strengthen your resolve against the barrage of unwanted distractions during divorce and long after. You’ll begin to think NO, before you blurt out, “Yes, sure, no problem; I’ll do that for you.”
The first NO to anyone is the hardest, as Dr. Newman notes, but as you recognize the enormous benefits to your sanity and well-being, you’ll be calling up a NO whenever you need it.
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