by Ina Muntean

“No.” Only two little letters that carry not only meaning, but a charge of emotions bigger than we want to let in. So, let’s talk about it a little bit. 

Lately, my personal surroundings have been full of “no”. It has been more of a transaction-type of “no”, similar to karma, where my family or I would have a huge gain on one side, but the next day something else would happen that would turn that happiness into a little stall or fail. At some point, this pattern of good-bad would inevitably create the idea in my mind that putting too much effort into something we love would somehow manage to bring us down by a mirrored ruined circumstance somewhere else. I realized that the effects of a bad occurrence had a bigger and longer emotional impact on me than those of a positive one. And so, I decided that I would take the power away from “no”, and return to it, but with a new meaning. Because we all struggle with the daily “no”, I want to help you see it from a different perspective. 


Now, I want you to take a moment and think about the meaning of the loaded “no” in your life. Be that you got rejected by someone, that you received a refusal in a job interview, that you couldn’t get approved for more credit at the bank, that your offer for your dream home wasn’t accepted, that you couldn’t place your kids in the school of your choice, that you simply couldn’t get a return at your local store for whatever you have bought, or that your ideas were rejected at work – these situations and so many more weigh can you down more than you actually realize. What do you feel in those moments? Do you feel like you’re fighting with ghosts? Do you feel like the world is against you? Do you feel like your effort was in vain? 

Many times, we downplay our feelings of joy and happiness, because there are many more rejections we experience on a daily basis. The emotional whirlwind goes from a rejection grows from doubting oneself into feeling powerless in front of an army of “no”, and, worst of all, those little phrases like, “well, I’m not sure this is for you,” “I don’t know if you can do this,” “do you really need this?” In our insecure minds, we already have formed reactions to hearing these phrases, and convince ourselves we will fail in the end. But what if we were to take all of these little “rodents,” look them in the eyes, and tackle them like they should have been long ago. 

OK, try to think now about how you react when you receive a disappointing “no” in your life (you see, there’s a hint I already gave you with that description). Now, think about how often you feel those feelings. Daily? Every other day? Every week? Think a bit harder, because this exercise will increase awareness upon your own life. If it happens often, I want you to ask yourself: “Why do I give away the power to all of these negative feelings and let them dominate my days? How can I make them work to my advantage?” I have a partial solution for you – get comfortable with “no!” 

Yes, that’s right – let’s all get comfortable with the word! If “no” is such a big part of our lives, and there’s no way for us to avoid it, why don’t we simply shift our perception of it?! Instead of becoming numb from a “no” we were so afraid of, what if we shift our thoughts to the possibility of, “I’m going to go into this meeting understanding that my idea might be approved, or it might not. Let me think of a plan B in case it will be rejected.” This little exercise can help develop more strategic thinking and will radically calibrate your disappointment in the case of a negative outcome. 

Another good mindset is to try your best but expect nothing in return. If it’s harder for you to adopt this attitude, that’s totally fine. Just try thinking as if you are volunteering, and you are helping others (even if the “others” is you!). Do your part, and don’t expect anything in return. While it may seem a bit emotionally detached, it will help you in the long run to see any “no” as just another possible outcome, which can save a lot of your sanity and reduce overthinking or overanalyzing a situation. Trust me, been there, done that! 

In especially difficult moments — moments when you have put 1000% effort and passion into something, moments you do your research and you rehearse, moments you feel with your whole heart that will turn your life into a fairy tale, but in the end, you receive a huge and heartbreaking “NO” — it’s okay to feel down. It’s incredibly normal to cry and weep about how much you feel down. So, go ahead, scream if you need to. BUT, the following day, I want you to wake up and think about this: 

“All my efforts were not in vain. I worked my ass off, and it made me an expert. I did my part better than I expected, and I discovered a side of me I never knew existed. I got rejected, and it brought me to my knees. Well, I accept it! I accept this defeat because something bigger and better is waiting for me, because it will make me stronger at the end of the day, and because it will teach me a life lesson I was probably looking for, even if I can’t see it clearly now!”  

To my reader: I’m in pain myself now from a “no” I received a few days ago that overflowed my cup, and which I choose to keep private. But I strongly believe that what goes around comes around. What we put into the world will come back to us in a better and more sophisticated form. Don’t you ever doubt it, and never, ever should you doubt yourself! 

The way I chose to deal with this recent big “no” was to allow myself to feel the explosion of defeat, but then pick up myself from the ground and look at the positive outcomes. I chose to see the good in the situation. I chose to be grateful for the opportunity because it humbled me, but also because it allowed me to see how much more I am capable of achieving. 

I chose to share this story because we are all experiencing things like this, but many of us were never taught how to handle them properly. I might be a weirdo in a way, but I choose to psych myself up about all the possibilities still waiting for me out there. I choose to share them all with you and support you in your journey. At times it feels difficult to chase the positive in a bad situation, but it’s not about putting-rose-coloured-glasses-on-to-hide-your-pain (which can be temporary and self-destructive.) 

The power of “no” lies in how you handle the make-it or break-it moment. It can light up perseverance within you, or it can dull you to the core. However hard it may be to persevere in those moments of “No”, it will grow your resilience in unimaginable ways. 

So, my wonderful reader: Sit back, do the work, and enjoy all the magical paths that stretch out in front of you! 


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