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The power of no: how to build strong, healthy boundaries

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No. A tiny, yet mighty word. To hear it can make us feel childlike; sheepish or in trouble. How does it make you feel to say “no”? Strong? Nervous? Guilty? Do you say it often enough?

In July, when the gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from most of her Olympics appearances, citing emotional exhaustion that was affecting her ability to perform, her “no” was a thunderbolt. Reactions were largely supportive, but opinions were divided along political lines in the US. White, male sports pundits (and, predictable as the arrow of time, Piers Morgan) used the word “selfish”. It was a similar story when the tennis player Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open in May, speaking of “long bouts of depression” and “huge waves of anxiety” before her pre-and post-match press conferences.

For both women, after a lifetime of intensive training, in the world’s gaze, the stakes of saying no were huge. But the message was clear: they were removing themselves from systems that might not protect them. A superstar athlete such as Biles pulling away from the most venerated sporting event in the world to prioritize her state of mind felt culturally seismic, yet remarkably simple. Why, if feeling completely overwhelmed, shouldn’t she put others’ expectations second? Why shouldn’t anyone?

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NoJust say no … it may be good for your health Illustration: Spencer Wilson/Synergy/The Guardian

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/sep/02/the-power-of-no-how-to-build-strong-healthy-boundaries?utm_source=pocket_discover

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