The Art of Saying ‘No’

Change ahead The Art of Saying no

Sometimes we let negative emotions build up. We take it upon ourselves to keep going, even though we know it is against our wellbeing. We sigh, huff and puff, complain, talk negatively, and yet, we don’t change a thing and continue on a path that we know deep inside is not right.

I had let emotions build up for a few months and it started affecting me unpleasantly. I had been patient and had tried different strategies to change the situation but nothing worked. Until the day I reached my limit. I had to acknowledge it. So, I said “No, I can’t continue like this. This is not working for me”.

By taking a stand, acknowledging my boundaries and by gathering the courage to say ‘no’, the situation improved tremendously. I felt so empowered and so proud of myself for listening to my intuition.

How many times have you found yourself overwhelmed by tasks to complete, requests, time-consuming obligations, or bad relationships and said ‘yes’ to them regardless of how you truly felt about it?


When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.  Paulo Coehlo.


Gathering the courage to say ‘No’

It can be scary to speak up for ourselves and say ‘no’ but it is necessary, and setting boundaries is healthy. Saying ‘no’ is actually a mark of self-respect and self-care. You have the right to say ‘no’. We need to be able to break bad habits and remove ourselves from situations that do not do us any good. We need to learn how to say ‘stop’ and not feel guilty about it. Saying ‘no’ will make you happier and stronger. You will feel empowered. You finally open the door to happiness and abundance. We may think that saying ‘no’ will have negative lingering effect whereas it will make people respect you more for being honest with yourself and clearly marking your boundaries. You will inspire and set an example for others. ‘No’ means you know your limits.


Finding a way of saying ‘No’

First of all, give yourself permission to say ‘no’ and don’t feel guilty about it. It is possible to say ‘no’ in a nice way, with love, by acknowledging your limits and being true to yourself. Timing is important as well. ‘No’ is a moment of clear-headed choice as you hold your ground. ‘No’ is not the same thing as being rude. As Dodinsky wrote: “To be happy is to wisely use the power of saying no. Don’t be afraid to disappoint people who only conveniently remember you when they need something from you.”


You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage –pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically- to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside’. Stephen Covey


Changing your language

When being asked, show gratitude but say that you are unavailable. Sometimes you don’t have to give an immediate answer so delay your answer by saying “I’ll think about it” or “I’ll have to get back to you”. Remember that ‘No’ is a sentence in itself that does not require justification or explanation.


The meaning of ‘No’

By saying ‘no’, you are saying ‘ This is who I am, this is what I will do or won’t do, this is what I believe in, this is how I choose to act’. You are the agent of your own limit, by establishing your boundaries and maintaining them, you draw a clear perimeter of Self, like a line in the sand and you decide who or what you let in. You are in charge and empowered.


The Dalai Lama, when asked about what surprised him most about humanity, answered: “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then, he is so anxious about the future, that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies without having really lived.”


How does it work?

Saying ‘no’ to a toxic situation or relationship, to social pressures, to the negative chatter in your head, to negative inner conditioning, to people who you know don’t deserve to be around you, to self-sabotage is a strong act of self-preservation. You create a shield around you and you only decide who or what to let in.


The huge healing powers of the tiny word ‘no’

Others will stop exploiting your, your kindness, your generosity. You will notice how people who were having a negative impact on your life slowly move away. By saying ‘no’, you are showing the Universe what you accept or not and that will lead to attracting more of your deep heartfelt desires. You will feel truly empowered and proud of yourself. You then allow the door to open in order to welcome happiness, abundance and manifest you wishes. You will probably find that people respect you more for being honest with yourself.


I am thankful to people who said “no” to me. Because of them, I did it myself. Albert Einstein.


While saying ‘yes’ is a sign of risk-taking, open-mindedness and courage, saying ‘no’ is equally a sign of courage, self-respect and potentially risk-taking. So, how come it is not as much celebrated? Because when you say ‘no’, people often misunderstand it. Keep in mind that how people react to it is none of your business, it is theirs.

Celebrate your courage! Celebrate setting up your boundaries! Celebrate speaking up for yourself! You deserve it and it feels amazingly good. Go on, try it!



Further reading: The Power of NO, James Altucher



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