The Magic of NO
How Saying No Enables You to Say YES to Something Better
By Colette Baron-Reid
Do you ever agree to do something even when you know you don’t want to? Are you having difficulty walking away from a relationship, job, or living situation that you just know isn’t right for you? Does saying “No” and setting boundaries cause you worry or anxiety? One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my own life and in my work with clients is that sometimes you have to say no in order to say yes to something more affirming. Before you keep reading, pause for a moment and think of one thing you need to say no to. Now, with that in your mind, let out a great big “NO!” No soft-spoken muttering. Really belt it out, even if you’re out and about and have to run into a restroom. Go on… I’ll wait for you! No, how did that feel? For many of us, this simple, two-letter word brings up a whole lot of discomfort, awkwardness, and anxiety. As children, we likely heard “no” so often that we grew to see it as a bad, offensive word. Many of us were also raised in homes where our needs and feelings weren’t valued, and we were taught to put others’ desires before our own. We naturally want to be liked, and we may not like disappointing others because we know how bad it feels. But, here’s the thing: Saying yes when your intuition is screaming no actually does WAY more harm than good. Not only does it cost you time and erode your self-esteem, but it also limits your power to co-create with the Divine. Moreover, people pleasing actually damages the very relationships you’re bending over backwards for because the motive to please is actually self-centered and not authentic to both parties. None of this is good! Ultimately, if you want to live an authentic life, you must do what’s in your highest good, even if that means saying no and disappointing people. Every time you say “Yes” to something that you don’t feel 100% about (whether it’s to going to a party when you’re tired, gobbling down a tub of ice cream, a second date, or anything else that doesn’t feeding your soul), there is a consequent “No” to a future opportunity that you can’t take advantage of. And for every “No” you say, there is a corresponding future “Yes” in the form of space for the universe to fill with something better.
Say Yes to the Magic of No!
Where in your life are you saying yes when you really need to say no? Take some time to journal about these areas.
Say No with Grace
Next time someone asks you to do something, pause and get clear on what’s in your highest good. You might also want to ask yourself, “How would I respond if I knew he/she wouldn’t be upset with me?” If you realize that saying no is indeed in your highest good, then that’s the answer to give. If you feel anxious or worried, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s completely normal to feel uncomfortable when you’re moving in a new direction; the more you trust your intuition on what to say no to, the easier it will get. For example, if someone asked you to watch their dog for a week, but you’ve been working long hours and are already exhausted, you might say, “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m in the midst of several projects right now and have to work late, so I won’t be able to watch your dog.” There’s no need to over explain or defend yourself. Just tell the truth with grace and care. While you can’t manage another person’s emotions, you can control how you choose to make your point.