Wielded consciously, “NO” is a tool of integrity, boundary protection and maintenance. It often takes courage to say the word no and is sometimes hard for you to receive it until you learn to embrace boundaries. Boundaries promote your values and ultimately sets you free. Healthy boundaries come from your awareness of the distinction between you and the people whom you share your life.
Boundaries protect you, make you feel safe, secure and mentally and emotionally healthy. When you communicate your boundaries and use the word no, you allow people the opportunity to respect you and your limits. When you don’t set or communicate your boundaries, then others won’t know them and therefore, have no way of knowing your limits. They will think you are saying yes to everything.
No keeps you true to your values and yourself. No recognizes that you accept responsibility for yourself and your life. No allows you to love yourself more deeply and ultimately allows you to love others more deeply. And when you love more deeply and unconditionally you can say yes to life. A blissful yes that opens your heart to abundance, opportunities and your limitless choices.
Saying no is healthy for you mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. A healthy grounded no comes from self-wisdom, esteem, respect, awareness and love. You have the right to say no to anything that is hurting you, to standards that no longer sever you, to people who drain you, and to beliefs that are not true or real to you.
A healthy no is a NO:
- that chooses YOU because your needs and desires are important. Say no to being a slave to others or situations that don’t bring meaning to your life or that drain you.
- to untrue stories about who you are and what you need and desire. You close yourself off from love when you are not true to yourself. And say no to phony stories about who other people really are. People show you who they are don’t go making up stories about who you want them to be because that’s not real.
- to the angers of the past. Let go and forgive yourself and others. It has been said that “resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” It keeps us stuck in the past and unable to create what we want right now.
- to lack as this is an abundant universe. As the law of attraction states – the more you focus on what you don’t want that’s what you will attract. Focus what you do want whether it’s abundance, love, peace, joy, opportunities, limitless choices, etc.
- to your inner chatter and the self judgement as this is what creates disconnection from spirit, yourself and eventually others. Train your ego to be a healthy player of your team and say NO to it whenever it wants to beat you up or to rehashing painful experiences over and over again in an attempt to make you feel bad about yourself. Learn from your experiences and make different choices if the ones you previously made don’t feel good instead of getting into the boxing ring with yourself.
- To people you know who are not supportive of you, who drag you down through their negative thinking or drama, or try to hurt you emotionally, mentally, physically or spiritually. By saying no to these people you are saying yes to you and the people you do want to create connections with who support and bring out the best in you.
- to the part of you that sabotages you. Change is difficult for everyone. However, change is inevitable. You sabotage yourself whenever you are resistant to change and when your ego feels threatened by your spirit or someone else. Say yes to your spirit and embrace change. Change can liberate you in ways you could not imagine if you allow the space for it.
When is saying NO unhealthy for you? If your no comes from a place of vindication, fear of change, a place of lack or any type of ego agenda then your no is sabotaging you. In other words, your use of the word no is not coming from a place of integrity or will open you up to connecting more deeply with you or to what you truly desire. You will eventually feel guilty, sad and angry with yourself. A healthy use of the word NO allows you to feel confident, sane and safe within yourself.
To determine if you want to say or if saying no is right for you, give yourself time (24-48 hours is ideal and in some cases you may need longer) to process your answer. You don’t have to give someone an answer right in that moment. You can tell them you need to think about it. Then consider the following questions as part of your process:
- Do I truly want to do this? Will doing “X” bring me into alignment with me?
- What do I (my family) gain out of doing “X”?
- Is this a reciprocal relationship, one that is balanced? Am I giving or receiving too little or too much?
- What else will I do with my time if I don’t do “X”?
Please keep in mind that you may change your mind. You may find that you want to say no to a certain situation today but that one year from now your life has changed. The no may turn into a yes later on. For example – maybe you are not ready to move to a new home, or quit your job, or end a relationship or start a new one but a year from now you might be. Trust your intuition. No one lives your life for you. You make the choice to live the best life that you possibly can for you and your family.
How to say no will be dependent on the type and level of relationship you have with the person you are saying no to. The following is a general guide:
- Once you make a decision, be quick, clear, firm and polite. Don’t hold up anyone else’s plans or leave room for ambiguity. Maybe is not a no.
- Be honest. Don’t make up stories about why can’t do “X.” Explain that you have other commitments or that “it” isn’t in alignment with who you are right now. This creates clarity of your values and prevents miscommunications.
- Suggest an alternative if you desire to make other arrangements with that person. Come up with other solutions or choices that would benefit everyone.
- Ask for a raincheck. Sometimes we want to do something but just don’t have the time then. Make a plan for the future so you show your interests and good faith.
Good things can happen to you when you learn to say no. When you protect yourself from the people and situations that will hurt you. When you shield yourself from the stories and myths of other people used to try to control you. When you finally say no to your ego in it’s misguided attempts to protect you when it hasn’t been taught healthy ways to protect you.
The benefits of saying no are: time, in some situations money, power to be in control of your life, confidence to say no or yes when you want to, safety from overextending yourself or from other people violating your boundaries, opportunities to create what you truly desire for you, and respect for yourself and from others. The ability to say no is developed overtime and with practice. It’s just like going to the gym. The more you exercise and lift weights then the healthier and stronger you become and you feel more alive.
Love Your Life and Relationships Play Time:
Journal about the following:
- Do you feel comfortable saying no? If not, why?
- How do you obliterate your own boundaries when you say yes when you want to say no?
- What happens to your relationships when you don’t say no when you want to say it?
- What strategies can you come up with to say no in a way that feels more comfortable for you? What are your options?
- What’s one scenario/situation that you have been avoiding saying no to? Journal about why it feels so uncomfortable you to say no and what is the cost to you for continuing this pattern.
- What did you learn from reading this article and completing this play time exercise?
You are so loved, so love yourself just as much.
To read more on boundaries and the word no, read The Cost of Saying Yes When You Want to Say No