The word "NO" has never ever crossed my mind- has it ever crossed yours? Of course it freaking has, no matter who you are or where you're from, every human being has heard this empowering or dis-powering word.
How can hearing the word too familiar "NO" be dis-empowering? Well, it really is determined on how it's used. When we come into this world, we probably heard our mothers say no to our older siblings, and if we didn't have any, maybe to our daddy's and vice versa. So we already can feel the emotions that go along with a strong no or a soft no. A soft no can go something like this, "Darling, I'm saying no for right now because we are going to find another activity to do instead!" There was no anger associated with the "no"and that person's dignity wasn't compromised. They probably still feel good about being able to do something else.
But in many cases this is usually the normal everyday use of the word "no"! It goes something like this, "I f'n said "no", what part of f'n "no" don't you understand bitch?" Very different scenarios, but the same word is used. A child who hears "no" with anger and or other negative feelings associated with it, will mostly likely feel less than and or not worthy of feeling like they can pursue much of anything because of fear and doubt.
The more anyone hears the word "no, you can't do that, you can't have that, you don't deserve that, you no good for nothing, and no you will never amount to anything", it will cause tremendous self harm in the form of self hate and hate for others.
How can it be empowering? Well, if you think about it, a person focused on their goals is able to say no, but in a way in which makes their listener not feel as they are being controlled or negated. The other party feels that what the other person is doing means a lot to them and they won't be as hurt. And amazingly, this can be applied by children as young as 5 or so.
I have lived both sides of this word "no" and I am totally recommending that you use it with caution with your self, children, spouse, parents, friends, and etc. If we can empower, why not? The choice is yours!