I used to really struggle with saying no. I felt like if I ever said no, it meant that I wasn’t a positive person coming from a place of a “YES-to-life!” attitude. I also felt like the universe would never allow me to attract anything good if I didn’t stay positive and be open to any and all possibilities (even if I knew deep down that it wasn’t the right avenue for me). I have never felt more psychologically checkmated, insecure, and miserable. For 24 years, I had a very hard time saying no.

There was also an immense amount of guilt whenever I said no. Partly because I was a people pleaser and partly because I hated myself.

Sometimes, I would start to hint at a no and then feel so awkward/guilty/wrong/loser-ish, that I would just fold. Like a napkin. Every.damn.time. It was pathetic and it breaks my heart but also makes me cringe to think back on.

You will always have a hard time saying no as long as the f*cks you give about how you are perceived outweigh the f*cks you give about yourself.

I hated myself for not having control over being able to vocalize and act on my own wants and needs. I hated the self-imposed pariah I had become – a fearful ninny who chose unhappiness over uncertainty in the name of her own convenient version of the Law of Attraction: self sabotage/delusion edition.

This prevented self-respect, emotional intelligence, dignity, happiness, control, my innate power, relational luck, and an emotional backbone from developing.

And because I had nothing to build on, I convinced myself that my only relational purpose, whether it be with friends or lovers, was to build UP other people.

If you don’t have an emotional life of your own, your limits and standards will always be up for dissection and negotiation.  You are no longer the C.E.O of Y.O.U. You devolve from the vessel you were born as, to a flailing origami boat in the water – intricately built but so easily destructed.

The most successful companies have rock solid terms and conditions that are always adhered to for a reason.

What are your terms and conditions?

If you don’t have any, you will have a problem saying no – whether it be to other people, sh*tty circumstances, the story you’ve chosen to subscribe to, self-limiting beliefs, your fears, issues, insecurities, etc.

When you fly by the seat of your emotional pants, everyone will start to notice that their shoes could use a little cleaning. You then become “useful.” And as fun as it is to have a bunch of people around, you don’t realize until it’s too late that the exploitative joke is on you. You’ve been the ding-dong doormat all along.

You then feel so badly about yourself that you start to equate being needed (used), with being wanted.

And just like a literal doormat, because you’ve been an emotional doormat for so long, the insecurity you feel over the accumulated filth, dirt and psychological stench of others starts to cripple you.

You then begin apologizing for having any HINT of:

  • Boundaries
  • A voice
  • An opinion
  • Limits
  • A need for clarification
  • Standards
  • Breathing air
  • An existence

I felt so useless and disgusting from being the doormat that the psychological dirt of others was wiped on, that instead of getting clean, I overcompensated by becoming a perpetual YES person.

I did this as a means to detract from the unbearable filth I had accumulated. Whenever I said yes, it was like taking a quick-fix shower that made me feel temporarily clean but ultimately left me feeling even dirtier than before.

Like always attracts like. I was attracting circumstances, situations, events, friendsh*ts, and relationsh*ts that continued to doormat me as much as I continued to doormat myself. 

And as much as I genuinely hated being a doormat, at least it was familiar territory that I took comfort in the predictability of. My heart could not handle banking on anything in which the outcome was uncertain – like saying no and backing it up with dignified, white horse action.

If only I would have known the power of saying no.

Here’s what I’ve learned about saying no, how it saved my life + 10 things to say no to NOW…

What I’ve learned about saying no:

  • The sky won’t fall.
  • As long as you don’t like, love or respect who you are, you will always feel guilty about saying no. It never feels good to stick up for someone you don’t like, love or respect. This is why guilt infiltrates – you know you are wasting your own time.
  • The word and backed up action of “no,” is the strongest of all your boundaries.
  • The Universe and karma do not “get back at” people who do bad things. If they did, I would probably be 6 feet under at this point or incarcerated, maybe institutionalized. I definitely would not be writing this post. The universe will only punish and karma will only come back around to those who do bad things and don’t learn from them. As long as you genuinely evolve, adapt, grow and connect by propelling OUT of bad decisions, you will be rewarded in spades.
  • Confusing the idea of being a positive person with an inability to say no is like believing that you are an Eskimo just because you’re standing in the snow.
  • The harder it is for you to say no, the deeper your self-doubt, misery, stress, and insecurities will run.
  • Before you can master the art of saying no, you have to clearly define what it is you are saying yes to by saying and acting on no (read that a few times until it really sinks in).
  • If you have a hard time saying no, you are probably more concerned about emotional political correctness than you are with having an identity. PC is boring. It’s food for the easily offended and as long as it is rooted in the aim of inclusion, understanding, and kind honestly (never brutal), it’s INTERESTING.
  • Not everyone will agree with or like your no’s but they’ll respect how high you set your price. And remember – everything sold at a discount is blah because THERE’S ALREADY an abundance of it. Stop trying to convince yourself that there’s an abundance of you. THERE IS ONLY ONE.
  • Successful businesses, relationships, and emotional lives cannot coexist with an inability to say no.
  • Saying no means nothing unless it’s backed up by dignified action.
  • Say yes enough times when you mean no and your body will start to say no to you. Contradiction truly is the root of all misery and dis-ease.

How saying no changed my life:

I got to a point in my life where I became so burnt out, ashamed and disgusted with myself, I surrendered to NO after realizing that I had been saying yes to the wrong things for the last 24 years. I finally decided to choose uncertainty over misery, started saying no…

And my life has never been the same.

I started saying no to relationsh*ts, friendsh*ts, and people who were not right for me – even if I was related to them.

I started to say no to everything that I knew deep down, I didn’t want to do.

The more I said no, the more acquainted the universe allowed me to be with what I was saying yes to/attracting BY SAYING NO.

Within 7 months, my life had completely changed. The power that saying no had generated in me was incredible. Saying no is the ultimate emotional defibrillator.

I made a promise to myself to: 1) never have a boss again 2) never come to the relational, professional and emotional table hungry 3) never come to that table without the leverage I had from lessons learned.

I built my business shortly thereafter and kept building from there. I still am and I will never stop.

Sure, I still get triggered, heartbroken, insecure and scared, but it doesn’t take me down any longer. The shame and disgust are gone. I used to have an entire scroll of things that needed to be checked off in order for me to be happy. Now, it takes much less because the power of no has allowed me to be my own emotional subsistence farm.

10 thins that you need to say no to NOW:

  1. Just say no to pointlessness and mindlessness – drama, gossip, toxic people, contradiction, functional dysfunction, emotional bed sh*tters, liars, and emotional vampires. Just say no to f*cktards who break your trust.
  2. Just say no to the self-limiting story that you’ve chosen to subscribe to.
  3. Just say no to anyone who makes you feel like loving you is hard.
  4. Just say no to anyone who feels like they should receive a gold star for being honest, respectful, empathetic and following through. These tenets should come with adulthood, not selectively come because your legs open if they do.
  5. Just say no to any person, situation or relationship that makes you question your worth.
  6. Just say no to anyone who doesn’t value your time.
  7. Just say no to your triggers – they are not your truth. They are a roadmap of your evolution, maturation, and ability to survive.
  8. Just say no to Emotional Political Correctness. I was invited to a wedding of a friend who really hurt me. I forgave her and moved on with my life long ago, but I just couldn’t go to the wedding. It would have been uncomfortable for many reasons and I knew if I went, the only reason I would be going was to appear emotionally PC. This would have not only been going against everything that something as beautiful as a wedding is all about, but it would have costed me my peace. Too expensive. Be kind, have your own back and let people go in peace.
  9.   Just say no to anyone or anything that makes you question your worth – including your own belief system.
  10. Just say no to the disease to please; just say no to large groups, chaos, etc., and COMMIT to the few people who commit to you. Just say no to bullsh*t artists and anyone who emotionally nickel and dimes you.

And lastly, just say no to deviating at all from being the adult you needed when you were younger and didn’t have.

Love you all 🙂

x Natasha

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37 comments

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That is so funny Natasha. I said No to a large group earlier today. I am starting up a small business myself and am following a local networking group on Facebook. We had been invited to be guests at a twice weekly networking meeting at a large hotel. I asked to go along at first thinking I could just mingle and hand out my business card. The latest reminder says that we all have to stand up and tell everyone about our business. I’m very shy and a terrible introvert, so there’s no way I could give a talk in front of a large group. Never mind there’s still the Facebook page and other ways to promote myself.

I too am starting to put myself first and not let others take advantage of me. Not always be there at someone’s beck and call.

Thanks for another marvellous article.

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Glad that the post served you! Thanks Sue 🙂

You are doing the right thing and we are all behind you every step of the way. xx

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Fantastic Sue! You should never put someone else’s needs above your own. Proud of you for staying true to you! XX

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Love you Natasha. Thank you xxx

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Love you too! Thanks for your love and support Skevoulla 🙂 xx

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Thank you Natasha, just what I needed to read at a time when I feel a few friends have gone quiet on me – looks as though it’s white horse time ! Love you loads and thanks again xxxxxxx

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YES. IT. IS. 🙂 X

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Love you too Jules!

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Another beautiful and timely post Natasha! And this is why I have no “friends”, but instead a few kindered spirits in my life these days LOL ??? Not sure if you remember my story, but thanks in large part to the information and motivation I have received from your amazing blog, I have removed myself from a few relationsh*ts and one in particular. That same individual who used me, ghosted me, came back, tried to use me (you get the idea…) continues to pop up, trying to get a ego boosts and attention any way that he can. Not happening! I continue to speak with my actions and kindly decline all involvement. It’s amazing how people with bad intentions/zero empathy start to see your value (or just lose all control) once you claim it for yourself. I will keep trying to stay on my white horse. It’s lonely at times, but I know without a doubt that she is keeping me from experiencing a ton of unnecessary drama and pain. Keep up the good work! xxx

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Starlie!!

Of course I remember 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to share. What you said:

“It’s amazing how people with bad intentions/zero empathy start to see your value (or just lose all control) once you claim it for yourself. ”

SO, SO TRUE.

Thank you for being a sister, for being a part of this tribe, and for being the beautiful light that you are.

I believe in and love you endlessly. xx

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SO true. If you don’t say no to the wrong things, you won’t have the time/energy for the things you actually want to do. The quote I read that I always go back to when I’m confronted with a decision is: “if it’s not a ‘hell yeah!’, it’s a no”.

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Love that quote 🙂 Thanks Sabaloo! xx

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I cant say enough how much you have taught me how much I quote so much of your beautiful inspiring words. I have been in many situations that my mind thought back to your posts to save me. This sister hood has saved my life and everytime I get an email that a new blog is up I swear to you I cant wait to read it then I read it at least two times in amazement to the words and how much I relate and how thankful I am to have you in my life to show me I am not alone. Thank you Natasha from the bottom of my heart I love the person you are.

Natalie.

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NatalieMarie,

I am in tears. For once, I have nothing to say other than I appreciate, love, admire, support, value and understand you. Thank you for seeing your own pain in mine and by doing so, solidifying that I was/am never alone in my experiences, emotions and feelings. You are incredible. Thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for being a part of this tribe. All my love to you sister. XOX

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Thank you for always looking out for us my sister. These are good reminders why we need to say NO!
You look beautiful as always.

Love you girl.
xxxxx

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Love you too Vicki! 🙂 Glad it served you. Can’t wait for that dinner! xx

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Ohhhhh myyyyyy goodnesssss. I’m gobsmacked. This is such a goooood wake up call, Saying NO was almost a non existent part of me once. And your words about triggers – that really resonated with me. Wow…. I think I have a couple of very strong triggers but I can see where they come from now! Also when you talked about shame. That’s such a depreciating and painful state to be in. A very destructive emotion.

This is truly 100% ‘Natasha’ this piece, and I’m grateful for it. There are so many gems in this. I love the way you write stuff….saying no to people who emotionally nickel and dime you. Just commit to the people who commit to you. Moving on from people who act like it’s hard to love and care for you.

This whole area is very hard for me. I’m so much better now but it’s something I’m conscious of in my past (the story you subscribe to).
This is such a beautiful piece, Natasha. Where is your book??? Please! Xxx love and hugs, and thank you so much for this. Thanks for everything, really. You are so beautiful.

❤️?❤️

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I love you endlessly. We are forever connected. Thank YOU my dear friend. xxxx

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So proud of you for taking the journey to self love and honouring your boundaries Lorelle. It is not easy to put yourself first when you are so used to putting others before yourself. I loved your guest post by the way, you are AMAZING! xxx

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Natasha!!! You are a brilliant beacon of light and hope! Lately I have noticed that the people closest to you begin to somewhat unknowingly take advantage of you for saying yes. You become this “catch all” for people until they can’t function without you and thus creating another issue in your life. There are so many times that saying yes has made me feel like I need to run away, take a break as to make those people see the value I bring once I’m no longer their personal pleaser

The day to day “people pleasing syndrome” is such an emotional injustice to our character and completely robs us of the actual goodness in genuinely helping others. I love what you said about setting your price high because we have to value ourselves before anyone does.

Love it. Love you!!

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AGREED. 🙂

Thanks Kristie! I love you too sister. xx

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Love you Natasha. Thank you xxx?

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Love you too! xxxx

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I am saying yes, yes, yes to this bible of no, no no. Thank you for putting ideas and reasons together in a way that is so relatable and understandable. When I read the part about confusing saying no with not being a positive person, an alarm bell went off. Me to a T. I’m afraid if I don’t take the leap or say yes to things I truly don’t want to do, then I’m not being an open-minded, positive person… when the truth is, the only thing I’m really doing is saying no to myself.

Another amazing article. Thank you for you. ❤️

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Jenny! Hiiiiii. 🙂 YES! I was the exact same. Thank you so much for taking the time to share and for just being YOU. Love you sis. xxxx

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I cannot say YES enough to this post! This reminded me about what you wrote before with feeling uncomfortable (almost like it’s wrong) when other people show us respect if we don’t really respect ourselves deep down. It’s sooo important to have our own backs, to act in accordance with what we truly feel is right for ourselves because if we keep being amenable and agreeable to everyone and everything, our disrespect and de-valuing of ourselves will only worsen as the list of contradictions between our thoughts/beliefs and our actions grows longer and longer. It’s funny because I used to think the whole idea of “well you know what you stand for, you know your truth, and that’s all that matters” was such a ‘weak’ position to take. I always felt like I had something to prove to everyone and would consciously and subconsciously try to enlist others’ agreement, understanding, or validation. So exhausting! And pointless.

Now, thanks in part to a LOT of reading on PMS, I see that simply being brave enough to trust yourself is more than enough. It’s the only way to ensure that you never abandon yourself. It’s actually an unf*ckwithable place to be in because when we back up words with dignified, unapologetic action we actually reinforce our boundaries/values/beliefs to ourselves because we have the undeniable proof of action to show ourselves we ARE capable of having our own backs. As a recovering reverse narcissist, I also love that this makes it easier to not take other people’s reactions so personally when you say no or deviate from something they would’ve liked you to do. I start to see their reaction as THEIR reaction they get to own. And I can logically understand that their reaction, their opinion and any assumptions others might make about my saying ‘no’ is not about me because I ALREADY know why I made the choices I made – to ACT in accordance with my truth and boundaries. And that’s it. So awesomely simple! Your writing has helped me so much in working on closing this chasm between who I say I am and what I actually do. What we say is who we wish and hope to be. What we DO is who we are. Working on getting these two things aligned!

Thanks for the millionth time, Natasha! xx ???

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Amy,

I cannot thank you enough for this, from the bottom of my heart. I wish that I could give you the biggest hug right now and I look forward to the day that I will 🙂

I’ve read your last email so many times – every time that I’ve felt fear or doubt creep in; every time that I needed to feel the kind of love, support, connection and understanding that you emanate in the most selfless and sincere way.

I love you, I agree with you on all fronts in your beautiful comment, and I am a better person for knowing you.

Thank you for existing. Love you. xx

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Hi

I left a relationsh*t about four months ago. I started getting messages from one of my exes friends (he claims they hadn’t spoken in a while) basically bugging me to call him/hook up. Excuse me but no and didn’t feel bad or guilty about it. Not interested. I’m interested in getting healthy and being single for awhile. Working on me. Have no contact with the ex. Do not care to have any. Thank you!

Staying on my white horse with no name,

Suzy

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YES! You go girl. Thanks for sharing Suzy 🙂 So happy for and proud of you. xx

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Hello gorgeous Natasha. This is very powerful. Thank you for this post. I also remember when you told us that you can tell when people get uncomfortable when you start to empower yourself and are sure and confident. I notice it with people I work with when I say no to things. They do not know how to deal with it. I feel good about it. I think of you when it happens. ?. I have gotten that far in my healing. It’s still a long road but every post and all the tribe has been of great strength. I still carry much pain and other baggage from my breakup but my road would be worse without this place and your wisdom Natasha. I will be printing this out and keeping it close. Thank you again and I send you a big hug . You are a light for me. Be well ????

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I love you so much Linda.

Trust me when I say that you will find endless gratitude from the darkest place that I am so honored to witness you propelling out of. You are amazing.

I’m glad that you are starting to say no more and seeing how profound the effects are 🙂

You are a light for me too. Love you sister. XO

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Natasha, I love you. Thanks for all that you do. Your posts have served as such an integral part of my healing. Xoxo

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Hi Rhea! I love you too 🙂 So happy and honored to help. All my love to you sister. xx

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I love this post so so much! Boundaries are so important when it comes to finding a healthy relationship. You have to be so picky with who you want in your life as a potential lover. Without those boundaries, you end up in relationships that do not serve you. I have been in way too many toxic relationships because I haven’t honoured my boundaries. And I always felt so bad for dishonouring me but I valued pleasing these men over my own self worth which is really sad. After a recent demise of a casual relationship I had been in for 7 months (and it will be 3 weeks tomorrow that it has been no contact since), I have learned more than ever from this experience how important it is for me to maintain my dignity and self worth. So I am grateful for the experience so much. I have made a list of 32 boundaries that I have kept in 3 places – two journals and on my Macbook so I have access to it all the time. A lot of them relate to the 11 listed here and I think number 3, 6 and 5 stand out the most to me. Once you start to love yourself again you realise how easy it is to honour your boundaries. Write them down and read them very single day until you believe them and are able to honour them. In the meantime, don’t get caught up in relationships until you are 100% confident you are going in it knowing you will honour your boundaries. Because they are so important if you want a healthy relationship with someone.

I was able to go on a date last weekend without being emotional and it was so easy to see the signs I already knew were non-negotiables for me and I was okay with that because it meant honouring my boundaries instead of settling. If I had gone to that date from a lonely perspective and a place of self worth, I would have tried to ignore the signs and get close to this guy just because I was feeling lonely.

I am a blogger of a blog called ‘Youer than You’. I only started it up nearly 2 months ago and it talks about my experiences in casual relationships and my journey to self love. If anyone is keen to read it please follow the link to it: kmaesleigh.wixsite.com/youerthanyou

It has inspired so many people and hope it will inspire you too!

All my love and light,

Kat
XXX

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And how could I forget to say as MASSIVE thank you to Natasha for creating this amazing and inspiring blog. You have changed my life in so many ways, more ways than you could ever possibly know. Keep up the amazing work. I am so proud of the amazing, strong, independent woman that you are. I look forward to future posts, especially from your mum!

All my love,

Kat
XXX

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Natasha, what a brilliant, insightful and humble piece. I cried reading it. It is a beautiful thing to feel seen and recognised so compassionately and to feel kinship in having and being ready to release these patterns. For years I have struggled with a split in my life: such clear boundaries and ability to say no and hold the long view in my professional freelancing life, yet almost the opposite in my emotional life with men. As you have said in many of your pieces it is the internal contradiction that causes so much suffering. Your clarity is enabling me to join myself up (!) and allow my innate wisdom in one arena of my life to transform another. It is s humbling process seeing and taking responsibility for my own delusions. I feel a lot of grief. And yet the freeest I have ever felt too.

I am in awe of the wisdom we all have in our hearts – that gentle knowing that never lets us down but which we don’t allow ourselves to hear. It’s so quiet! Yet reading your words is like coming home, an amplifier of truth.

I can’t say this enough Natasha – what you give is precious and your combination of blisteringly honest, compassionate and respectful is awesome. Love you! Helen. Xxxxxxxxxx

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Helen,

I am all smiles 🙂 So happy that this served you. I love you too! xxxxx

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