Understanding NO, A Little Word with Enormous Meaning

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 1:00
Posted in category Ask Rickhead
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Post written by Rick Doyle

Understanding “No”, A Little Word with Enormous Meaning

Ask Rickhead: looks at little problems and big problems and for some it can be as small as not understanding a little word like no. What do I mean? 

For many of us, “no” is the first word we learn.  “No, don’t touch that.” “No, it’s time to go to bed.”  No can be perceived a thousand different ways in which we regularly misinterpret.   

This tiny word often introduces us to our first doses of low self-esteem:  “No, you can’t do that.”  “No, you’re not old enough, big enough, pretty enough, strong enough or smart enough.”   “Your mother/father said no!”   “No, you can’t go out and play.”  “You’re no good.”  “What is it about the word no that you don’t understand?”  The list could go on forever.  These repeated blows to our self-esteem follow us into our adult relationships in the form of a lack of self-confidence.  “No, our relationship didn’t work out, but I didn’t expect it to.  They never have my entire life.” “No, I’m not good enough to ask them out”.  “No, I didn’t ask for a raise or promotion, I probably will just get passed over again”. It is such a small word with such and frequently it carries such an enormous meaning.

During adolescence and into our later teens, we use the word no as a form of rebellion as we attempt to establish independence from our parents.  “No, I will not wear that.”  “No, I’m not going on vacation with you.”  “No way, you can’t tell me who I can or can’t date.”  “No, I am not going to college.” “No, I’m not going to work or get a summer job”. This is training for us as we get older, understanding how we weild this little word could end up meaning more than we give it credit for.

Finally, as an adult, the word takes on new meaning.  For older adults, no may mean, “I can’t change, I won’t change, I don’t need to change -accommodate me”,  while younger adults use it as a twisted way of saying “yes” such as when a response of “no” is accompanied by a coy smile and tilt of the head when reacting to another’s romantic advance.  To simply jump in with a resounding “yes” would call their character into question. 

There is often heartache and disappointment associated with the word no.  “No, you didn’t get a raise.” “No promotion or bonus this year.”   “No, you’re not pregnant.”  “No loan approval, sorry.” “Nope, you’re just not my type.” “There is no chance of us getting back together.”

Occasionally there arises a positive no.  “No, you are not the father.”  “No, you’re not pregnant.”  “No fault insurance will cover it.”  “No harm done.”  “No, please, I’ll pick up the check.”

As the years pass by, many people fail to learn and understand the word completely.  As a result, they often violate the basic rights of others without respect or regard to their consequences.  Our society specifically has named and in many cases will readily punish violators of the word no.  To be more precise, date rape, rape, tresspassing, and a host of other crimes all societies way of saying you can not or should not do something that harms or offends others.  When involving sexual activity, no rarely means “yes” unless it is followed by the words “don’t stop!”

It is never too late to teach someone to respect the word no or learn to acknowledge it yourself.  You have a right to say no to others, as do they in response to your words or actions.  It is important to ensure that your use of the word is not at somebody else’s expense or harm.  “No, I’ll fix that broken step tomorrow.”  And remember, in this day you 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 the word associated with will be “No problems here.  I only see a very healthy person.”

To Ask Rickhead a question, please email: askrickhead [at] topicisland [dot] com

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3 Responses to “Understanding NO, A Little Word with Enormous Meaning”

  1. Skeriscerce says:

    July 18th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Hello-Great place here

    …see you around soon…

     

  2. avcxcas says:

    June 17th, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Loved your previous books, I’m sure I’ll love this one too. Keep it up!

    Tony

  3. Paarco5 says:

    April 17th, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    A seriously interesting publish- but one I cannot agree with I’m afraid.

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