The graceful art of saying no

You know that icky, uncomfortable feeling don't you? You know it well. 

The words YES eagerly escaped from your mouth in response to another social occasion, work project or request for help. And now you have this uncomfortable feeling that you can't describe lingering around as you think about how much you already have on your plate and how tired you are. 

How often are you left feeling drained, worn out and slightly frustrated that you never have time to do what is important to you or just simply have some time out?

Learning to say no when you mean it or saying what you really feel is a big step towards ultimate self-care - a core part of what I teach most of the women who are working with me in my Enriched Life program.

So why is it so hard to say no?

Image Credit:  ©  Depositphotos  .com/Justek16

Image Credit:  ©

It's just a word, right? A small two syllable word.

Yet it's a challenge for so many of us to say it truthfully and honestly. Let's look at some of the common reasons people find it hard to say no. 

1. Fear of Missing Out

Feeling like you need to be part of everything, and not wanting to miss out on any opportunities or experiences.

2. People Pleasing

Saying yes because you don't want to let people down or you don't want to be rude.

3. Rubber Arm

Not clearly knowing what is important to you and what you value in life.

4. Approval Seeking

Saying yes as a way to gain approval, love and/or acceptance by being useful, helpful or involved.

5. Peace Keeper

Avoiding conflict at all costs because it makes you feel uncomfortable.

6. Life saver or rescuer

You like feeling useful and helpful when you "help" others.

7. Social Acceptance

Wanting to fit in and be accepted without being perceived as different, weird or strange.

8. Fear of rejection

Saying yes is easier than being abandoned, ignored or severed from a group, workplace or relationship.

Did any of these reasons resonate with you? I'm guessing so as they have for most of us at one time or another in our life. If you look inward to better understand yourself you will discover why saying no can be such a challenge. Then you have the awareness to take your power back and put a stop to self-sacrifice, co-dependency and saying yes at the detriment of your health and well-being. Let's look at how you can speak true to your word without sacrificing yourself in the process.

How to say NO with grace and ease

  1.  Get clear on your values and what truly matters to you in your life.
  2. Know your boundaries, know how much is too much and what is required to be true to yourself.
  3. Pause and check in with your intuition or higher self and check is this in my highest good, does this serve me right now, does this feel good and right.
  4. Identify what story you're telling yourself
    Dig a little deeper into the reason why you have difficulty saying no and ask yourself what is this really about. Are you not comfortable feeling uncomfortable sensations or emotions? Do you have long standing belief patterns that if you speak up you'll be rejected or abandoned? Are you trying to achieve a sense of value and self-worth by giving, helping and trying to please others? Are you striving to gain acceptance from others so you can feel valuable and good enough?
  5. Choose a new story, learn to shift your beliefs and emotions around the old story
    Now that you can see the old dis-empowering story. Choose a new one that is supportive and empowering. Gaining support from a coach in transforming and shifting long-standing beliefs and patterns is life-changing. Working with a coach can help you shift these patterns and beliefs especially as so many of these exist outside of our own awareness. Find out how I can support you here.     
  6. Commit to being comfortable being uncomfortable (for a little while). 
    Learn to be present with the feelings of discomfort. It is just a bodily sensation. That is all it is. You will grow through your discomfort.
  7. Take action now. Next time you have an opportunity to tell the truth and say no when it is not in your highest good, take a deep breath, stand strong in your knowing and gracefully and calmly say No. You don't even need to justify or reason. When you know within yourself why you are saying no that is enough. 


When you understand  the reasons and patterns behind why you say can't say no then you can begin to find new more empowering ways to speak your truth and put an end to feeling tired and exhausted for putting yourself last. 

Because you matter. You are important. You are valuable. You deserve to take care of you.

Just as you would put the oxygen mask on yourself first on a plane during an emergency, you must take care of yourself first so you can contribute to and serve others from your highest potential.