By Monica Groves

A major personality trait of many women is the “want” to be liked by everyone.

It stems from not wanting to disappoint or let down their friends and loved ones. This “want” to be accepted leads to us compromising and stretching ourselves too thin. This causes a lack of self-preservation that throws us off our center.

Wanting to be liked comes at a price; the price of your peace of mind and freedom to just BE. As I transition into this new phase in my life, I am learning to say NO. Not only am I saying NO; I am saying No without Explaining.

1. If you are called on to do favors for people repeatedly and it has begun to stress you out, say NO. Love yourself enough to distance yourself from people and circumstances that do not bring you peace.

2. If you are invited out to events at the last minute and would rather stay home or do something else, say NO. It’s inconsiderate for someone to habitually invite you to things at the last minute. It does not allow you time to prepare. Maybe your hair isn’t done or you haven’t de-haired. Now you have to run through the house like Taz trying to get ready for something that isn’t necessary to your peace. It’s ok to decline and if they ask why…don’t even dignify them with a response. You do not have to explain yourself.

3. A major thing that women do is appease; especially in sexual relationships. There are conscious and subconscious undercurrents of sexism when it comes to gender roles. In an effort to be liked and please their man, women will concede to sexual encounters that they don’t want to have. She becomes a body with no voice.

According to the University Health Center at the University of Georgia’s Consent is Sexy, consent is:

• A voluntary, sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual, honest, and verbal agreement
• An active agreement: Consent cannot be coerced
• A process, which must be asked for every step of the way; if you want to move to the next level of sexual intimacy, just ask
• Never implied and cannot be assumed, even in the context of a relationship. Just because you are in a relationship does not mean that you have permission to have sex with your partner
• An important part of healthy sexuality

To start a change in perception, reality and action take inventory. Write down the things about yourself that you value and like and defend them. Stand tall and firm in who you are. Once you value who you are and what you are, you are less like to let others storm the citadel of your temple. The valuing of your temple is how you empower yourself. You are making yourself stronger from the inside out so that when you are asked to do something you don’t want to do you have the confidence to say no. And with confidence comes peace and that freedom from disturbance by outside influences brings happiness.

So say NO if it brings you happiness because in the end you are solely responsible for it. Don’t feel that you have to explain because you don’t need to justify your happiness.

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Get Smart B4U Get Sexy is a movement that aims to end sexual and reproductive health disparities through creating a community of smart and sexy women who are creating a sexual and reproductive health culture that is safe, affirming, nonjudgmental, pleasurable and addresses all our diverse needs in order to maintain autonomy over our own reproductive, sexual health and well-being.