The Power of NO

NO, is a small word that carries quite a punch. I didn’t see the value and the freeing element of that one powerful word until recently. It’s hard to admit, but saying NO has always been scary for me. It’s always been hard for me to express my frustration and say NO if it meant someone else might be uncomfortable. Saying the actual word, wasn’t the problem it was the backlash or the confrontation and the questions that go along with NO.

  • Well, why can’t you?
  • Well, is something wrong?
  • This is so unlike you.

I retired from my teaching assignment in May after 23 years. Teaching was my second career. I worked in public health for 20 years before settling into teaching. When I look back over my life I have worked for over 45 years.

I was actually feeling pretty good; I felt this was a great accomplishment, is until everybody kept asking me, “what are you going to do with yourself?” So I began to feel guilty for being at home in bed when everyone else was getting up at 5:00 o’clock in the morning to get to work. It got even worse when my coworkers would call me and tell me how much the kids missed me. “Don’t you want to come back and help us out a little bit?” was the usually question. ” I would always respond, Yes I really do, but i’m busy. I even went so far as to sign up with not one but two agencies to do a little subbing. Each time it was time to take an assignment I would turn it down. Last week I notified both agencies, that I have no intention of subbing; that may change next year, but for now NO I don’t want to go near a school.

That all changed this week when I decided enough is enough. NO, I don’t miss teaching the kids, I want to teach adult. NO, I don’t miss getting up every morning. NO, I don’t care if it makes anyone uncomfortable. I don’t want to go to work everyday to a job that I don’t feel like i’m contributing to or making a difference in. YES, this feels great. I can’t tell you what a freeing feeling just saying that little two letter word is. I wish I had a camera so you could see the joy on my face just from admitting this to myself.

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