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"No" is a complete sentence

“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.”

Josh Billings

Over the bank holiday weekend, I said 'yes' to a meeting when I really wanted to say 'no'. And when my insides kept telling my head that 'no' was a much better response, I then decided to do the awkward undoing of the 'yes' and sheepishly rescheduled the meeting with lots of apologising and embarassment. If only I had said 'no' in the first place it would have been so much simpler.


It got me thinking ...

How many times have your found yourself unable to say ‘no’ to something that you would like to say ‘no’ to?

➡️ When that co-worker asks you to take on additional work?

Yes, we say, of course! (wanting to say … no, I can hardly manage my current workload and that work is not my responsibility).

➡️ When a friend asks you to a social event that you don’t want to go to?

Yes, we say, that sounds wonderful! (wanting to say … no, going out with people I don’t know is not my thing anymore and really I’d prefer an early night or to hang out with you over dinner).

➡️ When a family member asks you to do yet another favour for them?

Yes, we say, happy to! (wanting to say … no, I’m overwhelmed with things to do at the moment and could really do with not adding something else to the list).

You get my jist.


We’ve all been in situations where we’ve said ‘yes’ to something we didn’t really want to do.

And there are many reasons for this.

  • Perhaps we fear DISAPPOINTMENT of others and don’t want to seem rude or offensive.

  • Perhaps we feel GUILTY and that it is our responsibility to help others wherever we can.

  • Perhaps we lack CONFIDENCE and are uncomfortable asserting ourselves or worry about the consequences.

  • Perhaps we have a tendency to OVERCOMMIT and may overfill our schedule without creating space for downtime.

  • Perhaps we fear CONFLICT and have a desire to avoid confrontation with friends, family or colleagues.


However, being able to say ‘no’ is a powerful tool

that helps you take control and prioritise your own well-being as well as manage the expectations of others.

Saying NO means you value your time.

Saying NO allows you to set healthy boundaries.

Saying NO helps you focus on what you want.

Saying NO encourages you to be brave.

Saying NO supports others.

Saying NO is self-care.

And before you shrug your shoulders and roll your eyes as if to say that ‘No’ is selfish, I would like to reassure you that it is not.

The Oxford English Dictionary (I’ve always wanted to quote from the OED in an email – it’s the English Lit BA in me, haha!) states that being selfish means only caring about yourself rather than other people.


But the benefits of you saying ‘No’ to others are many:

  • It shows respect: When you say 'no' to someone's request, you're being honest and respectful of their time and energy. It's better to decline a request than to take it on and not be able to follow through.

  • It creates useful boundaries: Saying 'no' is an important way to communicate your limits. By doing so, you're letting others know what they can and can't expect from you.

  • It encourages self-sufficiency: When you say 'no' to someone's request, you're encouraging them to find alternative solutions or to take on the task.

  • It reduces resentment: If you say 'yes' to a request you don't really want to do, you may end up feeling resentful or burned out. By saying 'no', you're avoiding these negative feelings and maintaining positive relationships with others.


You deserve to be true to yourself, and to others.

So next time you find yourself in a situation where you want to say ‘No’ but that cheeky ‘Yes’ is rising to the surface, don’t be afraid to assert yourself and answer as you would truly wish to.

Learning to set healthy boundaries will help release some of that discomfort that comes with saying ‘yes’ when your gut is telling you that it would be best to say ‘no’.


Has this resonated with you?

Have you had a situation recently where you’ve said ‘yes’ and wished you said ‘no’?

Drop me an email and share your experience with me!

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