Actually, No.

Here’s the thing. (Yes, there’s always a thing.) I was raised to be a good girl. My default position is to respect authority. Be cooperative. Don’t make waves. Accommodate others. And above all, always, always be polite.

Well, you know what? Fuck that. All those values are great if everyone is playing by the golden rule. But it’s been my experience that most people do not. As a result, I’ve been bullied and taken advantage of my entire life.

I’ve had it up to here. (No, not there. Much higher than that. Here.)

I’m over it. I’m done. I will not be pushed around anymore. Not by strangers, not by loved ones, and definitely not by politicians. I am establishing the sharp boundaries that I’ve always allowed to remain fuzzy at best. This far, and no further.

I’m not planning to become a bully. I’m not going to be gratuitously rude or selfish. But I won’t be passively stepped on. I am learning to stick up for myself. I’m learning that I have a right to say no. It’s frustrating that it’s taken me so long to figure this stuff out.

We need to teach our children to be respectful, yes, but also not to take any crap. Because as the world becomes more crowded, there will be plenty of crap to go around. And then some.

It is possible to be kind and strong at the same time. It’s okay, and very necessary, to stand in your power. It may take practice to reach that acceptable balance. But it can be done.


Be kind. Be strong. Be grateful.

12 thoughts on “Actually, No.

  1. Sam

    Persons who were both “kind and strong” and didn’t take any crap include: Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, ……so, yes it is possible to be both. A lot of people in my life have confused my passive nature to be a weakness…boy were they wrong. Sam 5/1/17

  2. Your comments have a lot to consider about being BOTH kind and strong. It is difficult to be polite and respectful but also be able to say NO and “set boundaries” as needed. It is a struggle for most women. We need to support one another in self-care of not accepting abuse or even just small-scale disrespect in daily life on the job and etc.

  3. Carole Lewis

    I am happy you figured it out… it took me 70+ years and I am not totally there yet.

    Now Rock Your world.

  4. lyn sutton

    Practicing on salespeople can be fun. Once you’ve given a polite. ‘no thank you, I’m not interested’, and they ignore it, get creative with your respectful response about their lack of respect. (Think of it as educating them.)
    When you say no, you may hear, ‘Oh, you don’t mean that’, from people in your life. Then, if you stand your ground, ‘Oh, don’t be like that’. If you mean it, sometimes you have to walk away and be like that. (Just teaching them who you really are.)
    ‘NO’ can be so freeing. 🙂

      1. lyn sutton

        Same here. Had to hide the ‘Yes’ welcome mat. People mistook it to mean doormat. Now there’s an enter at your own risk mat. Don’t disrespect and there will be no risk. Of course the welcome mat is always out for you.

  5. Elaine

    Once upon a time I was given invaluable advice. It sounds simple but it gave me the strength to begin saying no. “Saying no gives another person a chance to contribute.” Trite, I know but it gave me the impetus to look at what I was being asked to do versus what I really Could do.

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