The power of NO and how to use it


Do you say yes when you really want to say no?

Do you say yes even if it may cause you upset, discomfort, or financial or emotional harm?

If so, you’re among a vast group of women who want to please others and struggle with setting or upholding healthy boundaries.

You want to be liked, and you worry that saying no will disappoint others, and they won’t like you.

I know just how it feels. I’m a recovering yes-aholic.

The need to please is often rooted in childhood. It comes from the deep desire children have to please their caregivers. It’s important to recognize that survival is the ultimate motivation behind the desire to please. Immature child minds reason that if their caregivers are happy, they will care for them, and they (the child) will live. If the caregivers are unhappy, they will withdraw or express displeasure causing the child to feel abandoned and her perception of survival threatened. Many of us are still moved by this old wiring.

For some women (men, too), disapproval is almost unbearable.

Thankfully, as adults, we can see this dynamic clearly and let go of the need to please. Our survival does not depend on pleasing others. In fact, it’s far more likely to depend on us making intelligent choices and upholding healthy boundaries so that we can invest our energy in life-enhancing activities. 

Another barrier to saying no is worrying about what others might think. Here’s what you need to know:

–The people who love you love you, and they want you to make the best decisions for your life.

–The people who love you only when you do what they want are teachers here to motivate you to set healthy boundaries.

–You don’t know what other people think. You’re thinking for them.

–What YOU think of YOU matters more than anything anyone else thinks.

Consider the following questions:

What do you think of yourself when you go against your true desires? What do you think of yourself when you fill up your time with things that prevent you from doing what really matters to your life? What do you think of you when you can’t trust yourself to only make decisions that improve your life? 

And here’s another good one:

When you meet someone who is happily in control of their commitments, joyfully agreeing to the things they choose, and graciously declining unwanted requests, what do you think of them?

I respect and admire them for living on purpose. I also feel comfort and ease because when they say yes, I can count on them to show up eager and content to be there.

I have little confidence in someone who goes against their own desires. 

If you’ve struggled with setting boundaries, you can choose to end that era right now. You can choose to love, honor and support yourself.

How you treat yourself teaches others how to treat you.

Setting boundaries does not mean being rude, selfish, or acting like a jerk. It is a generous act that results in less stress, increased happiness, and more time for what matters most to you.

The next time someone:

–asks to stay at your house, and you don’t want them to
–asks for a loan $___ (btw, never make a loan, make it a secret gift, if you can’t gift it, don’t loan it)
–calls you incessantly to wear you down
–attempts to guilt you into doing something you don’t want
–solicits for the greatest cause ever
–hard sells you on what you don’t want
–you get the idea . . . 

Remind yourself: It’s okay to say NO.

Next, kindly and firmly—using as few words as possible and little to no explanation—decline the request, set a boundary, or offer what you are willing to do.

If it makes it easier, use words like unable, can’t, or say you have other plans. It’s okay.

If you must, silently finish your boundary-setting statement with your truth: I cannot let you stay at my house (without feeling unhappy with myself).

Imagine all of the things you could enjoy, accomplish, and avoid if you said NO whenever you wanted to say it.

Everyone with a life you admire has learned this vital skill. It’s your turn.


Begin today. Leave me a comment and tell me one or two things you’re going to flex your NO muscles on.


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