The Only Thing Holding You Back Is “No”


Do you remember the first time someone ever told you no? Of course not, because it was most likely before you were able to say the word itself. No was the word our parents used subconsciously with our best interest in mind to keep us safe and innocent. There were no mistakes to regret, no hearts to be broken, and no rush to grow up.

Now can you remember the last time someone told you no? Like it was yesterday because of the impression the word left on you. This word that used to keep us wholesome and protected has now taken on a different connotation.

We hear it all the time from the ones who mean the most to us. It’s those people who unconsciously set the template for the expectations you make for yourself. Have you ever noticed the way someone lights up while talking about their passion and starts running over their words because they can’t fit it all into one coherent sentence? Then suddenly, they stop themselves and apologize. And you realize at some point in their life, someone they respected chose to put them down and tell them no. Now something they were once so passionate about just doesn’t seem as important. It’s shameful, the effect one word can have on another person.

I myself am a dreamer. I’ve always loved the idea of being what people expect me not to be. With time, I’ve learned that people are always going to want to change you and break you until you fit into their perfect mold. However, one person’s idea of this cookie cutter image is going to be completely different from the next person’s. Once you continue to change who you are, you’ll end up running out of new things to become.

In my opinion, no is giving up on a relationship the moment it hits a rough patch. We’re left with a numb, shattered feeling that doesn’t escape our chest until we get a clear answer as to what exactly happened. Hearing “It’s not you, it’s me” is now second nature to us, so we go looking for answers on aisle 10 at the grocery store and leave drowning in a gallon of chocolate ice cream. It’s easy to opt out early and save yourself from future pain; but then again, who said love was easy?

No is the pathetic excuse we tell ourselves to avoid making a mistake. Society leads us to believe that success is right around the corner, when really success is in another city. We’re so afraid of the consequences from failure that we tend to live life too cautiously. Trying to avoid failure is like trying to avoid coming to a red stop light. It’s inevitable. As much as we’d like to continue cruising down the street, life will always throw in bumps in the road to keep us in check.

What is the solution, you may ask? Don’t take no for an answer. Be the exception and become the person you’ve always wanted to be regardless of public opinion. You’re the writer of your own book; use words for good and don’t let others tell you differently. I can guarantee the words you’ll regret most are those used to deliberately hurt someone else. So be good to people and agree to go on dates even though you’re afraid of heartbreak, take chances regardless of the outcome, and never give up on what you believe in. It’s a wonderful legacy to leave behind.

featured image – Lauren Rushing