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Understanding "No"

For many of us, No is the first word that we learn. It is a word that has a thousand meanings --meaningswhich we regularly misinterpret.
This short word often exposes us to our first doses of low self-esteem which follows us into our adultrelationships in the form of excess baggage. "No, you can't do that." "No, you're not old enough." "No,you're not big enough, pretty enough, or smart enough." "Your mother (father) said no!" "No, you can'tgo out and play." "You're no good." The list could go on forever.

As an adolescent and in our later teens we learn to use this word in a rebellious context, as well as away to establish our independence from our parents. "No way will I wear that." "No, I'm not going tochurch." "No, you can't tell me who I can or cannot date."

Finally, as an adult, the word takes on an entirely new meaning. For older adults, no can sometimes mean,"I can't change, I won't change, I don't need to change --accommodate me!" Sometimes younger adults useno as a twisted way of saying yes such as when their response of "no" is accompanied by a coy smile whenreacting to a romantic advance. This is a stage of game playing and courtship. They can't just jump in with a resounding "yes" as theircharacter would be quickly called into question.

There is often heartache and disappointment associated with word no. "No, you didn't get that raise.""Sorry, no promotion this year." "No, you're not pregnant." "No, you have not been approved for thatloan." "No, I'm sorry, you're just not my type."

Occasionally there is a positive no. "No, you are not the father." "No, you're not pregnant." "No faultinsurance will cover it." "No harm done." "No, I'll pick up the check."

As the years go by, no for many people has never been learned or understood. As a result, theseindividuals often violate the basic rights of others without respect or regard to their consequences. Oursociety specifically has named and in many cases will readily punish violators of the word no. To beprecise, date rape. When involving sexual activity, no does not always, or even sometimes mean yes.

It is never too late to teach someone to respect the word no or learn to acknowledge it yourself. Youhave a right to say no to others, as do they in response to your words or actions. It is important toexamine that your use of the word is not at somebody else's expense or harm. And remember, in this dayyou can always choose to say no to the problems in your life by seeking help and making positive changes.

Then, the final context you will hear will be, "No problems here. I only see a very healthy person."


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