"no, not right now" vs. "no forever"

*First published via email on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Click here to subscribe.

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Yesterday, I sent an email about how hearing no and saying no is a bit tough for me, and how asking for emotional consent before interrupting someone else you "expect to support you always" can transform a relationship.

I was reminded of a podcast episode that I recorded over the summer with Rachel Reimer of Rae of Hope LLC when we were working on a program helping people heal through chronic pain and medical conditions.

In that episode, Rachel and I discussed the idea that when someone says no, it doesn't necessarily mean "no forever," just "no, not right now."

Growing up, I remember working really hard to never hear no. I wouldn't ask my parents if friends could come over to hang out, and I never asked to go out with friends after school unless it was something I really really wanted to go to. All because I never wanted to hear no.

No just felt like such a huge rejection. Or another big restriction.

I used to skip swim practice in high school to go across the street to the Tapioca Express where my friends would go. There was also a boy I liked who hung out there every day after school (there's always a boy, right?). And the whole time, I would have my eyes peeled for my mom's big red van because if I was caught, I was DEAD.

Haha, side note. She actually caught me one time. I think the swim coaches called her because they hadn't seen me in a while, and Mom actually drove the car ALL THE WAY INTO THE SCHOOL, where no cars are allowed, STRAIGHT UP TO THE SPOT WHERE I WAS HANGING OUT WITH A BOY. Oh gawd, the mortification.

As adults, my brother and I talk to my mom about our childhood a lot. My brother and I liked to blame her for not letting us do anything, and Mom exclaimed once, "What are you talking about? You never asked!!"

My brother and I looked at each other and went, "Oh. She's right, actually." Face palm.

Because of our fear of hearing yet another no and making it mean, in our own heads, "She's ALWAYS going to say no! We're NEVER allowed to do ANYTHING!" we just stopped asking.

In the episode with Rachel, we talk about how this pent up energy, fear, and anxiety around hearing no can end up manifesting in our bodies as physical symptoms.

I hope you enjoy! Be sure to come back here and tell me your thoughts about this topic and the episode. :)

And as always, a question for you:

Are you not asking for something you want or need because you're afraid to say or hear no?

With love,




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