No. Two letters with more power than N and O put together.
As women, we’ve been told all our lives to be “yes, men.” We want to please, we want to care for, we want to prove our worth and value, and so we say yes to everything in hopes that we won’t be found out that we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing.
Here’s a fun fact for you: No one knows what they’re doing. We’re all making it up as we go.
In the last year, I’ve changed my marketing strategy to be focused on a feminine energy source. This is a very woo woo way of saying that I’m choosing gut instincts over what I’ve been told I “should” do. I’m choosing language that inclusive as I continue to learn more about my own privileges and how I might be shutting people out, specifically those who don’t look like me. I’m choosing to create and engage with my own natural rhythms and to not force something to come out of me. Basically, my whole outlook on feminine business strategy can be found in this blog post to sum it all up.
But here is where I am not embracing the feminine and instead choosing the healthy masculine–saying no.
The healthy masculine, as opposed to toxic masculinity, which is what most of our culture is exposed to, is an energy that is here to protect us. Our culture loves the hustle culture, which is defined as masculine and is energy that’s always moving, striving, and growing without any rest. It’s 100% masculine all the time without the balance of the feminine.
Healthy masculine energy looks like boundaries that are there to support the softer, subtler, more grounded, feminine energy. Masculine energy is always looking out for the feminine.
And so we come back to no.
No, gives us structure. It defines where we will and won’t spend our energy. It prioritizes our values, makes space for rest, and allows us to keep our sanity. AND it’s one of the hardest words to say.
We don’t want to let others down. We don’t want to disappoint. We don’t want to turn down a project when we need the money. All of these are the fears we hold if we say no.
But as my favorite saying goes, when you say yes to one thing, you say no to another.
Whether you are intentionally saying no or not, you are saying a no, to something. Yes, to the project that won’t make you enough means no to a project you would have loved, or no to creating the portfolio that will set you up for the work you want to be doing. Yes, to helping your friends with their house warming party means no to the bath you promised yourself a week ago, or the time you would have spent with your kids. I think you get the idea now.
We need the feminine energy that lives inside of us (this applies to men and women but is often stronger in women) to nourish and love and ground ourselves and those around us. But the feminine needs to be balanced out with the masculine. The archetype that defends and protects. And just like the archetype, you have to protect your time and energy. You have to defend the work you want to be doing or prioritizing yourself and your family above all other relationships.
Saying no is a practice.
Start practicing today so that you can make space for the things that matter most–health, community, and creativity. The rest can see itself out.
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