WOMEN: How To Stop Saying Yes When You Really Mean No
“Will you stay late to get that project done?”
How often have you said “Yes” to this kind of request even though you were looking forward to a special night with your partner/kids/dog/yourself?
“We really need another volunteer for this. Can we expect you there?”
How often have you said “Yes” to this kind of request even though your schedule is already maxed out with other obligations and responsibilities?
“Honey, can you drop this off at the dry cleaners today?”
“Mom, can you help me with my science project? It’s due tomorrow.”
“Darling, it will just take a moment, will you take care of that for me?”
How often have you said, “Yes, yes, yes,” when what you really wanted to say was, “NO! NO! NO!”?
If you’re like most women, you’ve said YES when you really meant NO too many times to count. Possibly a jazillion times. I know. I get it. This is truly an epidemic.
Why is it so hard to say NO to others?
Women have been socialized to be sweet, pleasant and accommodating. We are taught that saying NO is rude, impolite and unacceptable. We’ve been raised to say YES so that we avoid conflict, please others and don’t rock the boat.
But here’s a hard truth to swallow:
Every time we say YES to others when what we really want to say is NO, we are saying NO to ourselves, over and over and over again.
So while our YES might keep the peace with others, our internal NO erodes trust in ourselves and our integrity, every single time we say YES when we mean NO.
Take this in for a moment… it’s a difficult truth, isn’t it?
You can continue to be out of alignment with yourself if you choose. You can continue to say YES when you really mean NO. But be aware of the cost of this. As you erode trust in yourself you create inner dis-harmony. This leads to dis-ease, dissatisfaction and resentment.
Or you can choose right now, in this moment, to honor your truth going forward.
The more you honor your truth, the more you are in contact with your core and the essence of who you are. The more in harmony you are with yourself, the more ease and vitality you experience.
Integrity means speaking your truth with love and power. Integrity is also living by your own truth while remaining in alignment with the greatest good of humanity.
When you say NO when you mean NO you actually contribute to the greater good of humanity. I know this may challenge everything you’ve learned about life and relationships and what is acceptable. Yet it’s very true.
Because what this allows you to do is to say YES to what you really desire to say YES to.
When you say YES to your true desires, you have greater self-trust and integrity. Which leads to greater vitality. Which leads to you contributing more of your unique, passionate, creative expression and gifts to the world.
So my dear one, I invite you to consider four very powerful questions:
- What do you really desire?
It can be anything! Perhaps you desire to get a massage, go to Maui for a vacation, or get a new sexy dress. Or perhaps you desire to get pregnant, find a lover, rekindle the spark in your relationship… Or enjoy pain-free sex, release shame, experience mind-blowing sex, love your body, have more confidence… Or get a latte on your way to work… Or pick up some strawberries and go play hooky in the park…
Whatever it is, get clear and honest with yourself. Your desires are a beautiful thing. They are a compass directing you to what is important, true and nourishing for you.
- What (and who) have you been saying YES to that supports your desires?
Great! Congratulations. This is important to acknowledge. Keep choosing more of this so you continue forward in alignment with what is most important to you.
- What (and who) have you been saying YES to that does not support your desires?
Again, be honest with yourself. Are you saying yes to your boss’ or business partner’s requests? Your partner’s? Your kid’s? Your mom’s? Requests to stay longer? Volunteer more? Take on more responsibilities?
Acknowledging what is not supporting what you truly desire is the first step to changing this so you can get on track with being in harmony with yourself.
- What do you need to say NO to in order to say YES to what you desire?
This is where you get to be really honest with yourself. Identifying this is essential for getting out of this self-imposed trap. Then choosing to say YES to yourself and NO to others is the next step for you to take to come into greater alignment with yourself and your desires.
Together, let’s put an end to this epidemic of saying YES when you mean NO. It’s time to get aligned and say NO when you mean NO and YES when you mean YES.
I love hearing from you! Share your answers to these four powerful questions in the comments below. And most importantly, let me know, are you willing to choose right now in this moment to honor your truth going forward?
(Psst… If you desire having more pleasure and vitality in your life and relationships, experiencing pain-free and enjoyable sex and even mind-blowing orgasms, check out my Jade Egg Mastery Program here. This is your chance to say YES to what you really desire!)
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Loved the article and the comments, waow!
I deeply resonate with it and them, learning to say a truthful NO and subsequently a powerful YES to myself is a process with many layers as I’ve been on for some years now. Yes astounding where it leads, to myself more and more deeply and that is deeply satisfying, orgasmic and expanding 🙂 🙂 🙂
So it’s worth the sometimes very unconformable first times a new kind of NO arise, in a new area, field I’m discovering in this continuous process.
I love this Isabelle!
These questions are really compelling and I have more to say. I truly desire a loving peaceful home living with my family. I truly desire to do work that lights me up. I have been saying yes to online groups and growth programs that I don’t really want because I felt obligated to continue participating in these communities in order to live my desires. At one point this seemed the way to say yes to myself, and I don’t want to give up on myself. But I think my growth has brought me to a different place where I am realizing that my power is entirely within me. I am ready to get into alignment and to do so with total peace of mind. I am saying no to chasing the fulfillment of desire because when I look around, I see a beautiful world. I’m at peace and that feels like harmony. I’m saying No to doing things under pressure and that includes needing to know what I desire and being in perfect alignment right now. I’m saying yes to this moment, this connection, this joy, this peace and spaciousness.
Fantastic Monique!!! I LOVE THIS!!!
Yes Saida, thank you for sharing and giving clear thoughts about this topic 🙂 I have been discovering these days, connecting with a very slow part in me, that there is a girl in me saying ‘no’ many, many times while I was not listening to her. So this part has been playing her role in secret, blocking me in ways I did not understand, sabbotaging while I was planning things to do. Now I see this, getting conscious of this hidden part of me, I feel that this part in me is supporting me in saying ‘no’ when it is right to do so for me, It is a very strong and important part of me connecting me with my desires. Happy to share this with you at this moment, knowing that you have been very supportive to connect with this ‘slow’ part in me!!!!! Gratitude and love 🙂
Oh yes Marie-Louise, congrats on following the slowest part of you!
What perfect timing ! Over the past few months, learning how to say ‘no’ graciously and firmly is EXACTLY what I have been learning. In my case, it is around men who ask for my number; in the past I would have given it to them and then never texted back, or blocked them; now, I smile and engage in a short, friendly conversation where I stand my ground. The best part is, I do not hide behind an excuse (eg: I have a boyfriend / I’m moving away in a couple months / I don’t have time), I just smile and say that I appreciate their courage in coming to speak to me, yes I am single, but no, I am not interested.
I have been delecting in doing this, with similar levels of enjoyment to a toddler who has just learned ‘no’ and says ‘no’ all the time. (But with more discernment.) It has felt really empowering, and my self-reliance leads to more self-respect and courage.
I am particularly grateful for you bringing this conversation out into the open, Saida, because one thing that I did struggle with is a very deep rooted FEAR and SHAME around saying no. I linked it to the expectations that have been placed on women since ancestral times: we were reliant on the protection and goodwill of stronger members of our communities (mainly men) and so not being accomodating/compliant was dangerous. So even though my ‘no’ felt empowering, there was still a fear inside me that I would be ostracised for being a ‘crazy angry feminist bitch’ or something (even though I am always very careful about wording, and using NVC etc).
But I know that my YES is only as vibrant and juicy as my NO is clear and firm and honest. So I am continuing on my learning curve.
Thanks for opening up this conversation,
WOW Luhia! Yes… I love your NO… and I bet you those met did not feel rejected, but seen.
I have realized lately that I said yes to some social activities that I thought might be fun. I do desire to be more social. I desire more connection. But those were not the activities nor the right time of day for me. I gave myself a wide range of activities to choose from and I realized that I enjoy socializing in the afternoon with activities that connect me to my family and my home. I like to go to bed by 9:30 most nights.
So I’m learning to listen to my body and learning to say no. One major consequence to saying yes to activities that I don’t really want to attend in person is that I drink more alcohol than I really enjoy to make myself enjoy being there. When I noticed that I look forward to having a drink, I realized that I was not getting the connection I wanted. I was actually disconnecting. When I’m with people who feel good to me, I don’t drink. So I have made a big commitment to saying NO and not right now.
Exactly Monique. How great is it to learn how to track our authenticity?
I love this article, so so true! I think my biggest issue most of the time is, that I don’t know what my own YES is. I only rarely know what my true desires are, which makes it easier to side track into someone else’s desires :-/
Let my yes be a resounding yes, by submitting fully to that decision. Let my no be a resounding no, by hearing my own voice speak my own desires and needs. Let my maybe, be a maybe, that really is open to being a yes or a no at a later time. Whichever I choose, be honest with myself. If I can’t be honest with myself I have a snowball’s chance in hell of being honest with anyone else.
Oh yes!!! Love it!
If you’re unsure if this is you, saying no to anything you would normally say yes to, may feel very uncomfortable – a sense of “”wrongness” to it, which shifts as you begin to feel the power of its truth.
For some, saying no to just about anything can feel like an “ego” choice, and can keep us trapped. As servants to others. Without realising, being our integrity – yes or no, is ultimately a win win for all.
We have so been taught to say yes. To everyone and everything, for centuries.
Great addition Kathleen!