Letters to our Daughters: It's OK to say 'no'
My name is Letonia Farr Page. I am a mother, a wife, an author and a certified relationship coach.
Growing up I was always the shy, timid, reserved one. I was afraid to say no. I compromised a lot and I was a people pleaser. People knew they could ask me for something and I would give it. I was well-liked but because I would never say “no” I learned not to deal with conflict well. I had created a pattern of putting others’ needs and wants first because I was afraid of rejection. People pleasing made me feel accepted. I became a professional settler with no sense of self. I have since learned to say “no” and take my power back and I want the same for you.
You are going to go through a lot in your life and every decision you make will determine the path you’ll travel. In high school, I decided I wanted to be an Army nurse. Why not? I was an Army brat and I loved to “care” for people, so it just made sense at the time. I received a 4 year Army ROTC scholarship to attend nursing school. I recall being at advanced camp my junior year of college. I was dating a young man and having some relationship issues. In short, I couldn’t focus at advanced camp and ended up failing. I ended up losing my scholarship and I had no idea what to do next. I was embarrassed and humiliated. I didn’t fail because I wasn’t capable, I failed because of poor decision making.
Looking back at that time in my life, I understand that it was not just that one decision that got me to where I was, but it was a pattern of many decisions that got me to that point. I was able to rebound, complete nursing school and later complete my Master’s degree; however, I “lost” a few years in the process. This is just one of many examples I recall of how people pleasing has affected my personal goals.
Having developed a “mindset” of people pleasing, it was difficult for me to learn to say “no.” I didn’t just waive a magic wand and have the feelings of guilt, doubt and insecurity just disappear. It was a daily process and every time I said “no” the next “no” became much easier. I am not saying that it’s not OK to say “yes.” I am not saying not help people. I am simply saying, stand up for yourself and your morals. Don’t give in to things that you know deep down inside are not right for you. Trust me, you will thank your older self for it later. Trust your intuition. Make wise decisions that honor your sense of self. Don’t let others' opinions of you dictate how you feel about yourself. Make sure you are following your dreams and not someone else’s because your dreams are what is going to make you happy, not someone else’s. Don’t doubt yourself. It took me over 30 years to finally “get it.” Regardless of how shy, timid or uncertain you think you are, you have it in you to accomplish anything you desire to do.
Although my path is different than what I dreamed about in high school, I made a new path by overcoming many obstacles and I have found my inner strength. We have this innate ability inside of us to overcome more situations than we can even imagine. I went from being voted “most likely to succeed” in high school to losing my college scholarship. However, my inner strength kicked in and I completed my Bachelor’s in Nursing and went on to earn my Master’s degree. I never imagined that I would go further and become an author and a certified relationship coach. If you’ve made some “poor” choices along the way, it’s OK, just don’t get stuck there. You have it in you to conquer anything you desire. Take that first step today with faith and determination.
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ABOUT Letters to our Daughters
Letters to Our Daughters is a B2F Girls! campaign that aspires to empower girls with the courage to overcome obstacles and follow their dreams as they learn from women who have overcome many challenges and have positioned themselves to live a fierce life. We hope that the stories will be healing and empowering for both the writer and the reader.
ABOUT B2F Girls!
B2F Girls! is on a mission to equip girls nationally with healthy self-esteem so that they can be the best version of themselves. When this happens, everyone benefits. B2F Girls! offers a robust certification program and training intensive, complete with resources, implementation guides and support for women who have a calling to mentor girls. We also produce national female empowerment events.
B2F Girls! initially started as an organization called Tween Style Power that offered free local workshops for girls ages 10-17 that addressed the areas of self-worth, body image and leadership. After our first successful year of implementation, we began to notice we were receiving an influx of women from various parts of the country asking how they could implement a similar program for the girls in their communities. It was then that we recognized a gap that required a systematic and accessible way of providing the training we were already offering. This made way for the launch of B2F Girls!