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The Subtle art of saying NO! I rehearse it a hundred times in my mind no no no but I end up saying “YES”. And I am such an idiot when it comes to saying “NO”. I know it is not a big word it is just NO but I can never even say that word. And after getting stuck in YES and NO situation and with my excessive urge to please everyone, to the point that I feel resentful and stressed that I can’t even say the word NO.

And one day talking to an old friend of mine made me realize, I couldn’t say No because I was afraid of rejections. I was afraid that every time I said NO, I would disappoint someone, make them angry, hurt their feelings, or appear unkind or rude. Talking to him helped me figure out that saying No is a challenge and I should be the master of it. If I just say Yes to everything people are not going to understand my worth and only miss me when they need some help. I realized saying No will not offend people if they really care about me. And saying Yes to everything showed that I lacked self-esteem.

My friend even told me that I have to stand on my own ground even if it makes me look bad. He said, it is impossible to please everyone and saying yes all the time is draining and I need to draw a line on when and how to say no. If all I say is yes all the time, then people start taking advantage of me and they will get offended the time I say NO. He even added up because people knew I will say yes every time, they exactly know how to turn my no into yes. Also, he said that if you can’t say yes and still want to help, opt for giving suggestions. He even pointed out that I have always felt awkward saying No even when I was little. And his words hit me hard.

After talking to him I sit there for a while and thought about everything he said. And finally came to a realization that he was speaking the truth. He explained that me saying no didn’t make me rude, selfish, or unkind. These were all the beliefs that made it hard for me to say no. He told me the first step that I could take towards the journey of saying no is I have to learn to let go of all of these beliefs.

And I wondered why didn’t I evolved towards saying No then I realized it came as a part of my upbringing as a child, I learned that saying no was impolite or inappropriate. Whenever I tried saying NO to mom, dad, teacher, uncle, grandparents, and so on, I was most certainly considered to be being rude, and you would have probably been told off for it. As a child, saying NO was bad, and saying yes was polite.

But as an adult, it was my duty to make a more mature choice and as well know the difference between situations that I should say Yes or No to. But I couldn’t set my own boundary for that and I held onto my childhood beliefs that made me feel like saying No will make me a rebel and disliked.  Always thought to say No will make me feel guilty, alone and abandoned. But the right opposite of it saying YES to everything made me feel utterly frustrated and alone.

Finally, I learned that if my life depends on other’s people opinion I will never feel free and truly happy because seeking validation from others opinion is worthless. What actually matters is my opinion towards myself.  And saying No is never going to define me. I have come to a point where

I believe nobody is perfect, and every single one has done things in life that they regret. And that is exactly is the beauty of being a human. The mistakes we make define us, grow us, makes us matured in ways we thought we never would. The thing that makes us great as a person is our willingness to help in the situation where we can as a grownup. And saying yes to everything doesn’t make you a grownup.

Learning to say no is a challenge but you got to do it for your own sake. Don’t feel trapped, resentful, or guilty anymore when you say No, saying No helps you to overcome your fear of rejection. Saying No empowers you. Saying No builds self-esteem. Saying no is Okay.


Submitted by: Aishwarya Khatiwada.  Read more about her blog here. 

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