Just Say “No!”



I don’t care what the issue is.

It really doesn’t matter.

You have a decision to make, don’t you. Someone has asked you to do something. The “something” isn’t important.

Here’s a fact.

You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.

No, you don’t.

Because if you plan to do it, and you really don’t want to, you’ll fall head first into The Vortex of Anxiety:

  • What if?
  • How will I?
  • I can’t do this!
  • I Do Not Want to Do This!
  • Why did I ever suggest I would do this?

I don’t know. Why did you?

Then the Second Round, an onslaught of racing ruminating thoughts that go nowhere:

  • Do I want to?
  • Not want to?
  • Am I expected to?
  • I don’t like this idea!
  • I have virtually no interest in this plan!
  • I have a million other things to do that are vitally important!
  • I’m confused, flustered, and now I feel… nauseous. I can’t make a decision about this!

How exhausting. You just can’t make a decision, can you? Have you ever wondered why? Is your self-esteem that low?

Let me ask you a question, just you and me. Do you genuinely want to do this thing? Be honest. Why, or why not?

Is a trio of blame, shame and guilt guiding your decision? This trio clouds judgement. And if this trio guides you routinely, you better find out why. 

Don’t you have a mind of your own?  I mean, hello in there!  Why the identity crisis?

If something isn’t up your alley, makes you uncomfortable, repulses, overwhelms, can’t be done, demeans, brings on abdominal cramps, truly doesn’t appeal in some way, why are you going to do it?

If you’re in touch with who you are, and what you need, you can take a proud and consistent stand on just about any issue. You won’t be prisoner to the endless whims, whining and (obnoxiously strong) wills of others. You will be Free! Liberated!

Yes, there are times when you have to “do it.” You know those times. It’s the right, ethical and moral thing to do, so of course you’ll do it.  If you can.

In most cases, you can say “No.”

When you do say “No,” say it with strength and good manners. Then get those shoulders straight, chin up, stomach in, squeeze and pull in the buttocks…and move on.

Notice the relief you feel when make a decision that works for you! Palpable! A huge weight off the brain! Why did you tax your brain in the first place? You knew the answer from the start!

Let’s be frank. You work hard for others, don’t you. You work hard for others day in, day out. Don’t deny or dismiss this. Why do you feel always feel obligated to please everyone but yourself? Don’t you like yourself ? 

Imagine a world where you can make your own decisions, like adults are supposed to do, and steer your own boat.

As the word “No” gets easier to say, and it does, with repeated practice, you’ll wonder….why didn’t I love myself sooner? Why did I allow myself to be ruled by the dictates of others, for so long?

So do it. Do it often, do it with head held high. Go on!

Feel good about it.

This is your (short) life to manage, enjoy and navigate.

“When you say “yes” to others, make sure you are not saying “no” to yourself.” – Paulo Coelho



This entry was posted on Friday, September 28th, 2012 at 9:00 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.


  1. October 12th, 2012 | Evelyn Jeanne Shaw says:

    Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my cousin were just preparing to do some research on this. We got a book from our local library but I think I learned better from this post. I’m very glad to see such great info being shared freely out there…

  2. October 12th, 2012 | Deb says:


    Toddlers learn how to say “No” as a first word in vocabulary; practicing it over and over until we want to hit the road running.

    I’m not sure when we stop using the word and start feeling the necessity of doing all we can do (and then some). Probably when we became parents!

    It is time to bring back the word “No” to our vocabulary – and use it in its proper place and at the proper time.

    I used it twice after reading your post! …and felt good about it both times. I did, however, take time to think first so I would not regret my decisions.

  3. February 19th, 2013 | Mary Ann Varkaris says:

    I’ve had to teach myself AND coach my son Lynn on this topic. If I thought I was bad at saying no, he’s even worse. Sometimes when you learn to say know, you implicitly teach your children that they too have the right to set their own boundaries.

    As always Abby, I simply love your writing style. You’re just so full of chutzpah! Here’s to throwing back our shoulders and pulling in our buttocks!


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