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Saying 'No' to 'No'! Monday November 7, 2016

Monday morning - the perfect time to some emotional mathematics? How about if we learn this maths from a young child? Would that make it easier?

Negative minus a Negative = Positive

Emotional maths? How does it feel when someone says, "No!" to you. Not nice, is it? So today I'm going to suggest that you say, "No!" to 'No!' - in your head at least.

The idea came up in a conversation yesterday with my good friend, Jenny Rayner. We are both grandparents, and are experiencing anew the persistence children manifest when they really, really want something. Our grandchildren just don't take 'No!' seriously, they just don't take 'No!' for an answer.

How many exasperated parents have said things like, "No means no!" or "Don't you understand the meaning of 'No!'?"

The answer is simple, parents, it's, "No!" As parents it takes years of negative conditioning to get the negative power of 'No!' through to children! We have to be taught the power of 'No!' - it doesn't come naturally. But when we finally get the message, it sticks for ever.

You still have that inner child who knows how to be resilient and persistent. Your inner child still doesn't know the meaning of the word 'No!' Let's make friends with our inner child.

At an emotional level, young children 'discount' their encounters with 'No!' Essentially, they don't hear it, or at least ignore it as irrelevant. This reflects the brain's own trouble with understanding the negative. Try not to think about something - like fresh coffee now!

Returning to the maths, they apply a negative to a negative - they say, "No!" to 'No!'

How different this is to adults. We count the number of 'No!' responses we get - allowing them to stack up and overwhelm. Essentially we say, "Yes!" to 'No!' Let's try a better strategy:

Jesus said to his adult learners that they needed to receive His Kingdom "like a little child" - they had to model childlike behaviours. 'Childlike' not 'childish'. In fact, He declared that unless they received the Kingdom like a little child, they couldn't enter into it.

You and I can do this. We can consciously negate the negative. If the result we are getting is not what we are wanting, we can discount the negative response and press on into victory. And if you value the practice of reflective listening, use it. Everytime someone says, "No!" to you in a conversation, repeat it back to them! This isn't for their benefit (though it might be fun to watch their reaction!) It is for you to remember to say, "No!" to 'No!'

Ready, Steady, No!

In fact 'no' is an anagram of 'on'!

Game on!

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Anna Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 6:47am

Morning Lex, not sure if I'm half asleep but I find this quite confusing. Maybe it's the space I'm in right now but I was expecting it to be about the power of being able to say "no" in order to lay down boundaries, rather than rebelling against a no. I recently had to say no to taking a relationship to the next level (as in someone moving in) and would have found it extremely difficult if my "no" had been greeted with another "no!". Just seeing the flip side of your blog I suppose, but perhaps I haven't understood the emotional math properly. It never was my strong suit...

Lex Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 7:44am

The maths still amazes me, Anna. The original version of the blog included a link to a YouTube video that helped me. Hope this helps!

LP Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 6:48am

Morning Lex, how you doin'?
Game on for sure! A great way to respond to a no is to think of how you can make it a win-win, no one can argue with that!
Have a great Monday Lex and warm wishes to all :) LP xx

Lex Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 7:47am

Indeed, LP! And to answer your question, I am, after many weeks of ill health, feeling amazing. I hope you are too! xx

LP Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 11:01pm

So glad to hear that Lex! :) Enjoy and long may it last! I'm ok thanks and cheered by your wellbeing:) Have a great week. LPxx

DAVE Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 6:55am

Hi Lex,
You're thinking that No perhaps is negative, but a child doesn't have in his mind opposition to what this child wants, he sees everything possible, and it's the parents who put these obstacles in his way, why can't I have that sweet, his mind sees and wants.

Some parents say no maybe they can't afford the requirements of that pier child.

The child doesn't know why, his little brain cannot absorb why he can't have it.
He like some I know end up screaming on the floor of the shop embarrassing all within earshot.

If you treat a child like a child, then he'll grow up 'Childlike' through his adult life, his attitude becomes childish, we see this experience on the roads every day.

But if you reason with a child, show him in great depth, take the time to LISTEN to him until you have in your mind his needs and reasons, you might say, "look jimmy my money in my hand is not enough to buy that sweet", ask child jimmy "what do you think we can do about it" ?

If we ask the child, we are including him and allowing him to feel equal, and an important part of the family.

Between the ages from his first speech until and before he attends his first school....These are the VITAL building blocks which form a child's basic secure persona, and if we treat them during this MOST receptive time of his life, he will NEVER depart or forget these truthful principles...'Teach a Child Correct principles and he will grow up to be wise, we are teaching him to make decisions, that will guide him all through his life.

In so doing we are investing in him, and we will NOT suffer the likes of a 'spoilt Brat' in those teenage years, he will be a self-sufficient independent adult, a man you can be proud of knowing the child that you have taught correct principles, you've have loved him into adulthood.

As adults we need to accept or question why, when professional bodies or anyone who say it can't be done, who's tried and failed ? let me try, and if I succeed or fail it will not ever be for want of trying....Turn negative into positive always in life, 'Swim' the other way and watch in amazement you success at what you THOUGHT and OTHERS thought you could not achieve !we need to BUILD, not RUN away from the negative, to enable us to relish inner confidence and that peace, for which we're all searching.

Tutti Frutti Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 8:12am

Very much in agreement with you Dave. Love TF x

Sheena Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 9:10am

I have to agree too! Ask the child if they have their money on them - early pocket money management an excellent life skill. Ultimately ask them what the 'magic word is' - our children replied 'No' for a good few years. They learned to reason - not versus parents but for their own needs. Sheena

Hopeful One Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 8:08am

Hi Lex- an interesting idea which, I have to admit ,I found difficult to get around.I will reread your blog again to see if I can follow it second time around. When I say 'NO' I always follow it up with 'but carry on' At the end of their tale I then have the option to say 'Yes' or 'The answer is still NO'. That way the inquirer feels he had a chance to put forward their case and takes out some of the sting of a straight 'NO'

Today's offering is topical- like everyone I am watching this cliff hanger!

While stitching a cut on the hand of a 75 year old farmer, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man.Eventually the topic got around to Donald Trump ...and his role as the Republican Nominee for President.The old farmer said, " Well, as I see it, Donald Trump is like a 'Post Tortoise'.''Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post tortoise' was. The old farmer said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a tortoise balanced on top, that's a post tortoise."
The old farmer saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain. "You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, he's elevated beyond his ability to function, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put him up there to begin with."

Tutti Frutti Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 8:13am

Love the joke

the room above the garage Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 8:49am

HO, like you I watch with open mouthed amazement and hope America does the right thing. For all of us. I adore today's joke...may I have permission (autocorrect changed that to 'permit swoon' and I'm laughing!!) to resend on to others? Lovely to see you :-)

Sally Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 8:58am

HO, Great joke. Hits the spot. Trump's brand of politics is dangerous.

Hopeful One Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 9:26am

Hi RATG- please share by all means. Let's send a ripple of laughter across the planet!

Mary Wednesday Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 11:30am

My husband thinks Trump is a "breath of fresh air." But then he voted Brexit and I still haven't forgiven him for that. Adore this joke, HO - thank you.

Maria Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 2:16pm

Thanks for the laugh HO! I'm hoping that I don't have to emigrate after tomorrow's results come in.

Hopeful One Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 4:56pm

Hi Guys- thank you for your lovely comments.

LP Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 11:09pm

Hilarious and SO accurate! :)) if only it were only a joke. Am keeping everything crossed that more wise Americans vote than otherwise. Love and peace people. LP Xx

the room above the garage Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 8:53am

Hello Lex, I'm glad you are feeling better, onwards!
'No' is a protective layer for me, mainly in my actions as I'm not great at saying it. But I do need to battle 'no to no' in terms of what I hold myself back from. Thank you, love ratg x.

Tutti Frutti Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 9:30am

Hi Lex I am going to seem pernickety here, but, as a mathematician and former maths teacher, I need to comment on your maths as I did get stuck there for some time before I could manage to go on and read the rest of the blog which is really interesting.

So WARNING in maths subtracting a negative makes something more positive but a negative minus a negative is NOT NECESSARILY a positive it can just be less negative. It depends on the relative size of the two negative numbers. On the other hand, a negative multiplied by a negative IS ALWAYS a positive.

So for example -6 - -2 =-4 but -6 x -2 =12

I just couldn't let this one go in case anyone has kids they are helping out with their maths. (You can skip the next bit if not at all interested in maths.)

Luckily after a while I decided that I should just treat emotional maths as its own branch of advanced pure maths (basically where you change/remove some of the usual rules ("axioms") and argue only from these ignoring any other ideas (such as common sense) and see if you get anything worth studying (eg non-euclidian geometry). And then I was fine. It's way beyond my skills to know if emotional maths would prove mathematically interesting but it certainly provided an interesting analogy over the word "no".

I am not sure quite where I stand on what you have said. On the one hand I can see what you are saying that accepting a "no" straight away can limit us but I also see Anna's point that we need to be careful about respecting others if we are going to push back on a "no".

I hope you are not offended by the maths lesson (on stuff which you may well already know and just didn't express precisely enough for me). Love TF x

Lex Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 11:05am

Not offended by the maths lesson, but it is clear that I've not got my point across very well today. I'm trying to convey the fact that the brain needs to learn to accept negatives and that children take a while to get this. With adults so sensitive to rejection, I think it is really helpful to understand that you can reject a negative for your own sake, without disrespecting the other person. This is just about you, not about them - it is self protection. Does that help? Not feeling eloquent today!

Tutti Frutti Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 7:09pm

Thank you Lex that's helpful. Sorry you all got the worst of me this morning and a wholly unnecessary flight into maths which I concentrated on rather than on mental health. I should have been more careful particularly as we know you have had a rough time recently. Anyway, I assure you that after a day of checking data I now have the numbers out of my system for a while. I think I do understand your point. There will be times when people suggest to us that we can't do something when really it's not a matter for them at all. In that case we don't need to justify ourselves to them we can question what they have said and why and if appropriate just go ahead based on our own assessment of what to do. In other cases if there are pointless or unjust rules holding us back it is good if we are able to argue our case (though very daunting sounding). In the third situation however if someone who is affected by what we want to do says no to us then any questioning or persuasion needs to be done very carefully and respectfully and ultimately no means no. I hope that you are OK with today's comments. Sending apologies and hugs. Love TF xoxo

Mary Wednesday Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 11:34am

Darling Lex, I'm not in a good place today, so can't comment positively.I will try re-reading this when I don't want to scream "No means bloody NO, you idiot!" I think this is because I have historically been really bad at being assertive and actually saying NO. I need my "Nos" to be taken seriously.

Lex Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 4:07pm

An idiot I often am, and in my experience, 'No!' rarely means 'No!' It's more often a request for more information, especially if the giver's intent is positive. But you're allowed not to debate this today... or ever! Not my finest blog...

Jul Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 12:00pm

No means no in many situations. Most seriously in my view when men think that no means yes. I have been in a situation when I meant no but was too weak to carry it through and ended up going along with the scheme. I have regretted it ever since or regretted those times ever since. I suppose there are situations where you can reject a negative for your own sake without disrespecting the other person but I will have to think about this! Quite a sensitive issue Lex? Anyway it's great to hear you are feeling better. Jules xxx

Lex Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 4:06pm

Yes, Jules, this blog is just about our response to 'no' - no intent to control or manipulate or even disrespect the other party. xxx

Vickie Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 12:25pm

Hi Lex,
Your point resonates with me perhaps due to my current circumstance. I've come to realize that I have surrounded myself with "no" people - People who put all kinds of limitations on life based on society or the limitations they were raised with. These are the people who say no you don't have what it takes to get the job, the relationship, start a company, etc. These type of "NOs" can make people stop chasing their dreams. I dislike the phrase "NO THAT CAN'T BE DONE". Makes me want to bring it "ON".

On the other hand, there are "nos" that set boundaries which of course should be honored.

Lex, your blog was thought provoking so even if I missed your point I enjoyed the exercise:)

Continue to be well.

Lex Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 4:03pm

Thanks Vickie... as long as we walk away realising this is not about the other party but about protecting ourselves and staying positive, I may have succeeded in the end!

The Gardener Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 12:51pm

All you puzzled people - only naughty Lex making sure we are awake and ready to go on a Monday. Mr G in respite, bitterly cold, I've taken up my historical research, working in a Mairie which is very warm (heating stuck on maximum) and economising on our own. The 'no' idea brings memories of my battles with the children who all had legal minds from when they could speak. No 2 vandalising a wall. Sharp reprimand. 10 minutes later he was doing it again 'But you did not tell me not to do it HERE'. Thought in mind yesterday when I committed the ultimate crime of drawing on a wall. I wanted to change my boring upper landing. Pannel edging on a door needed a little touch of colour - did not want to buy any paint. Found the grand-childrens colouring box - wax crayons did the job a treat. I've said before that Mr G and his brother are anti any project in it's infancy - so I have to make and argue a case and hope to win the day. I say they are pessimists - they call it risk assessment! Tutti Frutti - just read yours - going back to my French registers - much easier.

Tutti Frutti Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 7:12pm

Sorry Gardener. Don't know what came over me this morning. Enjoy your break. Love TF x

The Gardener Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 12:56pm

just read HO's joke - amusing as ever but scary as too near the truth. How can the 'greatest nation on earth' only find 2 characters beyond retirement age one of which is clearly nuts. one feels their appalling crime rate could rise by one judicious murder - very un-christian - but I reckon if Trump get's there he'll have to live his life in a suit of armour.

LP Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 11:30pm

I agree with the scariness of it TG, how such a character could seriously have so much support has been quite alarming!

LP Mon, Nov 7th 2016 @ 11:27pm

Maybe this can be seen as a no such word as can't idea too.
There's a French proverb that says" to belive a thing impossible is to make it so."

Lex Tue, Nov 8th 2016 @ 9:34am

Deep wisdom there, dear LP x

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