Uncategorized, wellbeing


The power of saying no has a tremendous effect on our mental health, as it allows us to value ourselves more. It also helps us prioritise ourselves. This can even lead us to new opportunities that wouldn’t have been achievable by saying yes. Also, it allows us to set boundaries with people and over time this becomes a much happier, healthy place for us and all the people in our lives to live in.

Whether it is taking on more work than you can handle, or saying yes to plans that you have no interest in attending, and all the other times we don’t say no. To be honest I think most of us have struggled with saying no from time to time in our lives, which I think is normal, but if this is something that has become more of a constant in our lives then this could be causing you a lot of issues. The fear of saying no stems from the urge to avoid conflicts, fit in with people, be liked, not get rejected, not disappoint people, or the need to avoid confrontation. Another reason why people tend to worry about saying no is that they don’t want to upset or hurt other people’s feelings, as this is not what we like to do.

Human relations and interactions are often based on reciprocity which can make us feel that not obliging people by saying yes, will threaten our bonds with people.  One of our most fundamental needs is for social connection and that real need for the feeling that we belong. We can sometimes think that saying no will negatively threaten our relationships and that feeling of connectedness. I think we can all admit at times that we struggle to fit in and be liked by our peers, new people, and new relationships we are starting to develop. We can start to worry that saying no might make these people reject us. The fear of saying no also stems from the urge to avoid conflicts or confrontation, for some people this can cause a lot of anxiety, so saying yes becomes the easiest way. Most of us follow the path of least resistance. Another reason why people tend to worry about saying no is that they don’t want to disappoint others or hurt their feelings.

I think our heritage comes from the basis of having to say yes to staying safe. We know that we live in a yes culture, where it’s expected that the person who is going to get ahead is the go-getter who is going to say yes to everything that comes their way. Innately we feel conditioned to be this way, and, we could have been culturally conditioned to think that saying no will prevent us from getting ahead in life. This can lead to people internalising the idea that they should be constantly working and if they are not, they feel guilty and unworthy. This is because they have set their worth on what they do for others, not on what they mean to others. But it’s not true, when people work round the clock, over-exerting themselves and don’t say no to things that come their way, they can gradually lose the ability to get the job done due to exhaustion. Whether it be in a work situation or a family one, we need to learn to work together to find that balance between people and we can gain more respect, plus enhance our relationships, and career opportunities.

I do think that it’s not too surprising that women may struggle more with saying no, more often. The reasons can range from not wanting to anger people, mainly men, to some form of old protection practice. In addition to this, girls can be taught mixed lessons like saying no is not being sensitive or feminine, and as a woman, we are also more supportive of others’ needs and feelings, quite often, above our own. Women are also socialised to be nice too, and in attempting to please others, they tend to remove the word no from their vocabularies. While not saying no when we want to, may help us avoid the immediate discomfort of confrontation, or the other feelings we can be experiencing, the long-term toll can range from resentment and constant stress to burnout.

As a result of “yessing” our way through life, lots of people can be affected by depression, anxiety, and depleted energy levels. Moreover, camouflaging our inability to say no by manufacturing excuses made up of lies instead, is also something that we can struggle with, and this can affect our confidence levels and self-esteem. This can over time take a toll on the individual, negatively spiralling peopling into many negative mental states.

Today I want to encourage you to take control of your life, by saying no and setting positive boundaries for yourself. By learning to say no, instead of overcommitting your time, energy, and finances. The ability to communicate no, reflects that you are in the driver’s seat of your life, and it gives you a sense of empowerment.

If you have learnt that it is not okay to say no, then now is the time to change. Remember the key is learning to balance kindness and courteousness without sacrificing our sense of self-worth. Life flows, moves, and progresses whether we say no or not. We can choose to go through it hurriedly or go through it mindfully. Take the time to change and learn that NO is ok and that we have, at times, the desire and ability to put ourselves first.


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