Having the courage to say “No’ means that you trust yourself and your relationship. It means you believe your bond has the strength and resilience to absorb your “No,” as well as the power and to grow in moral fortitude. In saying “No” you exercise that faith, that the two of you, together, can live by the values represented by our No; recognizing that theses values will take you to a level higher that the one embodied by the things that you are choosing to resist.
Sure, you could have five more drinks and lose consciousness. Yes, you could tell a lie and lose your integrity, Yes, you could capitulate to all your sweethearts preferences and then resent him or her because you did. We are defined in life and in love not only by what we have the fortitude to undertake but also by what we have the courage to resist. In a long ago movie, Days of Wine and Roses, a man a woman descend into a wildly gyrating spiral of alcoholism, all the while egging each other on. Finally, the man says “No” to himself, then eventually to his wife.
Life doesn’t always ask us for such intense denunciations, not is the path to our “No’s” always so excruciatingly painful. But we all have things that we have to say “No” to, for ourselves and in our relationships or else move in a direction that isn’t for our highest good.
Sometimes these “No’s” are small and simple, an unadorned statement of preference that’s a quiet affirmation of your right to be yourself. “No, I don’t want to go to the late show; I’ll be too tired for work in the morning. “No, I don’t want dessert,” “No, I don’t want to go to the party.” Sometimes they ask for more strength, require that you actually take a stand: “No, I buy a new car . . . We’re already in too much debt,” or sometimes, as in the unforgettable, movie, they involve issues of life and death: “No, I won’t give up my AA meeting just because you’d like me at home on Tuesday night.” “No, I don’t want to marry you and “No I don’t want to drink or use drugs with you any more. Sometimes you just got to say “I”m not a trash can and stick up for yourself . . .