Why Saying No to Others Is Saying Yes to Yourself.

Why Saying No to Others Is Saying Yes to Yourself.

“When you say ‘Yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘No’ to yourself.” ~ Paolo Coehlo


A good friend once told me that, “By saying ‘no’ to others, you are saying ‘yes’ to yourself”.

Taking the time to discern your answer prior to your response assists in speaking your truth.

When we were children, when we said ‘yes’, we meant ‘yes’. When we said ‘no’, we meant ‘no’.

Observe toddlers, they know when to say and speak their truth.

But what happens when we grow older? Is our truth silenced due to other people’s judgment? And if so, what happens when that occurs? Do we suppress who we truly are in work and life?

“Just in general, no matter what you’re doing, be true to yourself. Never let anyone else dictate how you live your life.” ~ Rumer Willis

When you’re used to saying ‘yes’ all the time, setting boundaries may be a challenging thing to do, but each time you do it, you will feel so much better.

“It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Invitation

The people who are in the pattern of saying ‘yes’ all the time, if, and when they say ‘no’, seem to feel they have to give an explanation. But unless someone asks for an explanation, no explanation needs to be given. Because just like Jules Renard said it,  “The truly free man is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without giving an excuse.”

At times in my life, I have struggled with doing too much and not recognizing that saying ‘yes’, was an energy drain. Ultimately, my true talents were not fully being applied.

Each time you use discernment in your decision-making, one’s life little by little becomes more balanced. By saying ‘no’ to others so that you can say ‘yes’ to yourself, you can observe the full situation carefully, and this will help you gain more wisdom and understanding.

If you ever need some time to discern, you can say something like, let me think about it, or let me check my calendar and I will respond either way to you by a certain date. If you are “pushed “ to answer immediately, say ‘no.’ Change the subject to a different topic. The person is not honoring who you are or your time to make a decision.

Be firm and do not apologize, which many ‘yes people’ do. There is no need to apologize, you may be sympathetic, but as a human being, there are only so many hours in the day.

Do not over-schedule yourself because this will only lead to a list of stress-induced behaviors.

Another option is to politely decline, by sharing “I have a conflict”.

This is a true statement, since the conflict is time with yourself, to nurture yourself and your energy.

Assess if you really want to participate.

Is it aligning to your truth or your values?

Does it serve my energy or higher good?

Are you doing this for approval?

You are the one in control of your life, not them or anyone else. The only person you need to receive approval from is you. You are of value by just being you! Is this something the other person can perform on their own? If the answer is ‘yes’, then be cautious in saying ‘yes’, otherwise you may feel resentment, regret, anger or taken advantage of.

“Choose temporary discomfort over long-term resentment.” ~ Brene Brown

There is a big difference in saying ‘yes’ to something when you feel it in your heart, versus ‘yes’ out of fear of the dreadful “I should do this” type of thinking.

Personally, I think the word should, be replaced with “I choose”.

The word “should” is used as many times as a guilt, as a pressure and ultimately resentment will come from using should too often.

While performing and doing so much at the same time, no one really wins. You are not giving your full focus on the item at hand, and performing only at less than your true potential.

It is in the silence of the time you spend with oneself when the authentic you arises. Your true energy and power always lies within yourself.

This article was written by Eileen Timmins, Ph.D. Eileen is an author, artist, motivational speaker, teacher, life coach, labyrinth builder and board member.  She is founder of Aingilin, (which means little angel in Gaelic). To learn more about Eileen, visit www.Aingilin.org or contact her at [email protected]
We hope you enjoyed this article.






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  1. Thank you for displaying such valuable reminders and inspirational wisdom. We often forget and need gentle nudging in creating or keeping boundaries. The more you engage in it the easier it becomes !

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