The Gift of NO
Yesterday I asked my daughter
to get something from the car for me.
Her response was:
“No I don’t feel like it.”
Expressing my Gratitude
The next day I went to her in a quiet moment and I said:
“Hey kiddo I want you to know that
when you said no to me yesterday
and in fact every time you say no to me
I consider it a great gift.
It means you are listening to yourself
and honoring yourself.
I love it when you Honour Yourself
As your father, your friend
and your guide
this is the most important thing to me.
This is something I want you to
always pay attention to.
Because it means then that
you know yourself and love yourself.
What better gift could you give your dad?”
I could see that she was moved by this explanation.
This is an attitude I have
held with her from the very beginning.
She is almost 19 and I am still reinforcing this message.
She Feels Safe and Free
Knowing I feel this way allows her to
experience a deep trust and safety with me.
She knows she can be herself
and that I will love and accept her as she is.
This creates such a profound closeness between us.
That relationship is a priceless treasure!
There is a common question people ask
when I talk about supporting my daughter
in saying NO like this.
It is usually something like:
What about serving others?
What about family responsibility?
Aren’t you teaching her to think of herself first?
This is a natural way of looking at it.
This is not what happens though.
In order to understand it try and ask yourself
why you do good things?
Is it because you’ve been told to do good things by an authority figure?
Is it because you’re afraid what will happen to you if you don’t?
Or do you do good things because
it feels right?
It feels good?
Don’t you agree that, even when it really sucks,
when it hurts and is inconvenient…
doing the right thing just feels right,
and we know we really couldn’t have done anything else.
There are times when the right thing isn’t clear,
but when it is clear it’s best to follow it.
Inner Knowing is the Guide
It is this inner sense of rightness,
of knowing and of honouring
that we help develop in our kids
by honouring their NO as equal to their YES.
For only when we have
acceptance and intimacy with both,
when we fear neither,
can we truly hear what is
the right thing in this moment.
We will know when to serve
and we will also know when we need to
protect ourselves and step away.
We can hear the YES and the NO clearly.
When this skill is foundational
then service, responsibility, caring and generosity
arise naturally from the spirit within.