The Power of “No”

Since probably January I’ve been saying “Yes” to life. Am I available to shoot and act in a book trailer? Yes. Can I do some urban beekeeping? Why not! Lead a workshop? Sure! I love saying “yes” to life because it opens me up to so many unusual experiences. Besides the fact I like to be of service. But there comes a point where it’s time to stop saying yes.


Last week during a retreat we were asked to think of a prevalent emotion; mine was overwrought. I felt so worn out, so depleted, and so tired because all I’ve been doing for the past six months is say yes. And because of that my adrenals are worn out, I have a thousand things on my to-do list, and lots of priorities vying for my attention. As I sat in a circle with my fellow yogis, crying silently with my mouth scrunched in an upside-down “u” and my forehead creased, a voice said to me, “You can say no.” I cried even harder because that was the truth. I can say no. I have the permission to turn things down. Usually I don’t want to because I don’t want to miss any opportunities. I like to embrace life because as a child I said “No” a lot and in some ways I guess I’m making up for it. Not only can I say no, I need to say no.


I need to say no because I am only one person and I can spread myself too thin. I need to say no because otherwise I put self-care at the bottom of the list. I need to say no because I get distracted from my goals. There is indeed a power in saying no, which any 2 year old can tell you. Saying no sets boundaries and helps define a person. When a toddler says no it’s their way of asserting their independence of saying, “Hey, I can make decisions for myself.” As an adult, saying no is my way of conserving my energy, of storing it up for what I’m really interested in.


This blogpost may not be so inspiring, but after running myself ragged grabbing a hold of every opportunity, it’s a relief to say no.


I dream of a world where we find balance between saying yes and no. A world where we take care of ourselves while also being open to possibilities. A world where we realize we can say no and it doesn’t make us selfish or self-centered. It means we’re treating ourselves with utmost love and respect.


Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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