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How to turn saying NO into a very positive action!

By Edited Oct 10, 2016 8 15

Being rejected, to hear no to a request, for years and years I thought it was terrible. It took a lot of training in personal development before I could really believe that a no to my question did not mean I was rejected as a person.

Today I dare to ask for a lift to a party or for help with a problem I have, I even dare to initiate sex with my Love. I can express what I want or need, because nowadays I can take no for an answer!

NO is not a total rejection of me, but a limit of the other person, in this specific situation.

The other person doesn’t want to or isn’t able to devote time / energy / money / attention / patience to help me with this at this moment, that’s all.

When I really got this, it made me freer and stronger. Besides, now I can also help others to get accustomed to rejection, a very rewarding aspect of my work as a life coach/ counselor.


Saying No is setting a boundary(124213)
Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/kslyesmith

How is it then, that I still find it so difficult to say NO to requests to me?  And that this applies not only to me but to almost all women around me?

Of course, as a woman, we are ‘culturally trained’ to take care of others. Much has changed in recent years, but these patterns run deep. Every mother I support, as a maternity nurse or as a counselor, is struggling with the concept ‘first take care of yourself. ‘

In theory it sounds great; everyone can see that an exhausted, hungry and irritated mother has not much to offer her child, whilst the mother who treated herself to a nice lunch and half an hour with a magazine is much more patient and loving to a demanding toddler, but this patterns of self-neglect run deep for us women.

In addition we women have a great tendency to please and avoid conflict. Father will perhaps no longer automatically receive the biggest chunk of meat on his plate, but women in general fold still very often to the wishes and expectations of others.  

For me, this habit of pleasing and bending to other peoples wishes comes with a price! I still spend too much time, energy and money to others, because I have trouble saying no.

Time that I had reserved for writing blogs, improving my website, strategic planning for my business or seeing friends often slips through my fingers, because I feel obliged to do this little job for someone else first….

Energy I would like to use to dance, do muscle training and learn Portuguese, is too often spent on other people's goals.

And I'm never going to be financially free if I keep spending my money on others.

And I do all of this, because it feels selfish and very unfriendly to say NO …



From now on, I say YES to my own dreams and goals, and take the planning for my work very seriously.  I now not only plan my coaching sessions and my daily free time in my calendar, but also time when I write a blog, do sports or am studying. That makes it a lot easier to say no to other people ... I did not wait until January 1, 2013, but have already started in late November and guess what...


feels a bit uncomfortable but oh so good!


  • I do not work overtime on auto-pilot in every family that I work as a maternity nurse anymore,
  • I do not throw my whole agenda upside down for every request for babysitting,
  • I do not travel to people, who want to discuss their problems with me,
  • I do not immediately respond to emails or phone calls anymore,
  • I do no longer edit other people’s blog posts or websites in my free time,
  • I’m busy handing over my various  tasks as Personal Assistant  in the business of my Love, I have enough challenging and inspiring work in my own business, and I don’t even like administration! (This transition takes time, I committed to be no longer his PA in December 2013, one PA-task at a time goes off my list! )

Are you good at saying NO to others?

If you're good at it, do you have an extra tip for me? I would be grateful to any tips in the commentbox below this article!

If you are like me, and have trouble saying NO, would you join me in saying no to others so you can say YES to yourself?

What do you say NO to, so you have time and energy for your own dreams and goals? Please tell me in the comments, I would like to read it!




Dec 19, 2012 11:05am
"NO is not a total rejection of me, but a limit of the other person . . ." Very insightful, not to mention good advice! Wonderful article, thumbs-up. Oh, and welcome to InfoBarrel.
Dec 19, 2012 11:13am
Thanks for your comment and your welcoming me on infobarrel, Introspective! It really made a big difference for me when I finally realised that a NO was not the same as being personally rejected by someone. My life lightened up quite a lot by this insight ;-)
Dec 19, 2012 1:32pm
Turning a No into a positive action is a great goal. I can see how much power you could gain.
Dec 20, 2012 12:23am
6 weeks of saying NO more often and I'm finally on infobarrel, registed for some fielddays to mantain my education, my to-do-list is shrinking... I'm happy!
Dec 20, 2012 12:15am
I need to learn to say "No" to checking (and answering) my email constantly.

I agree with Introspective - "NO is not a total rejection of me, but a limit of the other person . . ."

Great line.
Dec 20, 2012 12:22am
oh, the sweet seduction of mail and Facebook... especially when I want something done that I find difficult, I tend to drown in social media! I use a kitchen-alarm to set my Facebook-time!
Jan 1, 2013 9:46am
NO is not a total rejection of me, but a limit of the other person, in this specific situation .... and I'd like to add .... with their interpretation and understanding of my request.

Great read!

Jan 1, 2013 2:06pm
Great addition, MeinePCwelt, and very true, everybody hears through their own filter!
Thanks for your comment.
Jan 1, 2013 9:55am
Hi--Extremely good and...important topic. The fear of rejection has probably stopped more progression than all the dams in the wolrd. You get 5 stars from me and a rating.
Jan 1, 2013 2:07pm
Thanks Marlando, I'm doing a happy dance now... Yes, I can take a no, but getting a compliment is still so much nicer ;-)
Jan 1, 2013 1:58pm
No is an awful word and it can indeed be a conversation stopper, however only if you let it! Great article, nice clear layout and a pleasure to read.
Jan 1, 2013 2:09pm
Thank you MrKnowItAll54321!
And you are right, nothing has meaning except the meaning we give it....
Jan 1, 2013 9:40pm
In making a choice,there are always two choices.Saying "No" to one and saying "Yes" to another.
The "Yes" choice is akways for the greater good of self.Thumbs up.
Jan 11, 2013 5:35am
Just love the spirit behind this article. Yes, saying "No" is not bad if it's to make me happy. I'll go all out for it! Interesting.
Jan 11, 2013 1:11pm
Thanks for your comment @write4results!
I get used to saying NO more often, it's really liberating. This will be an interesting year...
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