Don’t be afraid to say no


Lisa Alioto

19 January 2021 32 comments

Saying yes can often be one of the easiest answers to a question that comes our way. However saying no, now that’s a whole other story.  No comes with fear, worry, and so much more.  But why?  And can saying no actually be saying yes at times?

First, many of us naturally like to be everything to everyone.  By saying no we are striking exactly against that goal.  We are showing people that for whatever reason we aren’t the go-to person for EVERYTHING.   (Personally, I think this can be a very good thing for our well-being).

We also worry that if we say no to this that people may not come to us anymore for help, whether it be work projects or personal favors.  It feels good to be needed.  We don’t want to ruin that by saying no to one request.

In addition, we often don’t want people to think we aren’t capable of what’s being asked of us.  When in fact, we may very well be more than capable but for our own personal reasons just feel the need to decline the offer.  However, we worry what it may do to our reputation.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.   Two simple letters N-O can spell out a lot more to people then we intend.  But why?  Do we care?

Well first, it quite often does mean more to people than simply no.  For whatever reason, when we say no people often read more into that answer then is intended.  So, there’s that.   So, the next question becomes do we care?  Does it hurt me to say no?

I think this comes down to the situation at hand.  If we are new to a job perhaps saying yes, despite wanting to say no is the best answer for building our reputation.  However, if we are a tenured employee with an established reputation, perhaps saying no for whatever reason may mean nothing at all.

It also has a lot to do with our own well-being and knowing what we can take on and can’t at a given moment.  It’s important to take care of ourselves at all times and not take on more than we can reasonably handle or we may find ourselves in a highly stressful situation.  Not that stress can’t be a good thing, but too much can be harmful.  I’m a big fan of self-care and I think this is where that comes into play.  Saying no to something that isn’t good for us can be a YES to ourselves.  It can also be a YES to something else that we are prioritizing above the first request.

So next time someone asks you to do something, don’t hesitate to carefully weigh your options.   Identify what the cost of your answer will be in the moment and long-term.  Are any fears of saying no valid?   Is saying no really saying yes to something greater?

All great questions to the next time someone says to you, “hey, can I ask you a favor?”

Speaking of favors, here’s a favor I can pass along to you – the opportunity for some great deals!

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32 thoughts on “Don’t be afraid to say no

  1. Saying no is difficult, but at the same time, being able to say it when you need to is really important. If you’re unable to say no, then you run the risk of being a people-pleaser who people will use to get what they want, as they ignore your personal boundaries

    1. Lisa Alioto

      You’ve nailed it Unwanted Life! Saying no is difficult but sometimes very necessary. Saying yes all the time can definitely come with it’s hardships.

  2. Learning it’s okay to say no can be so difficult, but so important too. It’s especially important in social situations to set your boundaries with people too x


    1. Lisa Alioto

      Agree, agree, agree Sophie! 🙂

  3. Great article! Just recently I told a friend “no” to designing and sewing her fantasy wedding dress. It would have been the project of a life time, but by saying no to the dress I am able to say “yes” to creating my dream chicken coop and fencing in my garden.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      That sounds like an exciting “yes” you created – congratulations to you for taking the best course of action for you Sissy!

  4. For years I never said no and always ended up with far too much on my plate. Since learning to say no about 12 months ago, I find my life is much calmer and more organised. You don’t need to be rude, but remember that saying NO is a form a self-care sometimes 🙂

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I completely agree – it’s a great form of self-care Lisa. Great point! Happy to hear that things are working out much smoother for you now that you’ve gotten comfortable saying “no” when you need to.

  5. 100% agree with, saying no is so difficult sometimes because you feel like your letting people down. But saying no is so good for you self-care. Great post ????

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Completely agree about it being self-care Charlotte! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your insights!

  6. Love this post! I’m the worst person for saying no, I just don’t have it in me to say no to things when sometimes I know I really should!

    Holly x

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Glad you enjoyed the post Holly! Maybe this will inspire you to “no” it a bit more often. 🙂

  7. A very well written post with super valid points!! I enjoyed reading and totally agree with you!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thank you Sharon – I’m glad you enjoyed reading it! Thanks for stopping by!

  8. This is one of the biggest problems of empaths like myself, its very difficult to say no. I get carried away by people’s feelings and end up jeopardizing my own priorities in life because I’m trying to help someone else live their dream or get out of a rut. Thanks for reminidng me again that it’s okay to say NO.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I struggle with saying No too Shane – but I’m slowly getting better at it. Reminding myself that that yes is saying no to me has helped.

  9. I think this is the problem with me. I always say yes and try to be helpful. At the end it adds up to my stress as you said here! Self care is a must these days!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Self-care is definitely a must these day – I agree Nisha! 🙂

  10. Dan "Jay" Reyes says:

    Nice read. For me, saying no righteously to make a person good and to make his or her path straight is always the best. I have personally said no to many things with great results using this principle from the Bible.

  11. Lisa Alioto

    Good for you Dan!! That’s wonderful!! 🙂

  12. I love this post 🙂 I used to be a people-pleaser and saying no to people was enough to give me a panic attack. After years of therapy, I’ve learnt to set boundaries and saying no when I mean no is one way of doing that. Of course, I wouldn’t say no to a nice day out with friends and family, and perhaps a delicious slice of my favourite cake 😀

    1. Lisa Alioto

      LOL – I wouldn’t either! It sounds like you found a great happy medium Corinne!! I’m happy for you!

  13. This is such a great post. I often have a hard time saying no as well and it causes me to have anxiety to do so!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thank you Charity – I’m glad you enjoyed it! I do too- esp. to particular people!

  14. Yes! Saying NO is self-care. We can drive ourselves crazy trying to please everyone.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Self-care at it’s finest! Thanks Julia!

  15. Reading this post has strengthened my need to say no when I should because this promotes self-care and I love it!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Yes, it definitely promotes selfcare Elizabeth. Glad it’s strengthened your need to say no – I think you will reap many benefits from it! 🙂

  16. Great post! Honestly, ‘no’ has always been a difficult word for me, even when it was in my best interests. In the last few months I have started to learn, however, that there is value in being able to say no. This only confirmed the changes I have started putting into place!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Good for you Britt! It’s not an easy transition but it’s a great one! 🙂

  17. Learning how to say no came with a huge and positive change to my life. It’s so important for our own mental health, I really enjoyed this post, thank you for sharing xxx

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Hi Ashley – I”m glad you enjoyed the post – and that learning how to say no came with such a great, positive change to your life. Congratulations!!

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