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How to Say NO with Love

Is it hard for you to say “no” to people? Me too.

When we decide to embark on a spiritual path and fine tune our loving mindset, sometimes we can apply that yo-yo dieting concept to saying “yes” and “no.” You know how a yo-yo diet is so all over the place? You’re either “on” or “off” the diet. We can sometimes apply this to saying yes and no to people. 

If I say yes, I’m being good.

If I say no, I’m being bad.

This is a big lesson for all of us, and one I still work on every day. I’ve become better at saying no, but I still get that twinge of guilt when I do. I also, though, feel really empowered and energized when I say no to an even that doesn’t feel right to me or say no to a friend who wants me to come out to a bar, when I really just want to chill out.

There is nothing spiritual about saying “yes” with a phony smile to everyone. Being spiritual is about showing up for life with your Authenticity hat on. And when we wear that hat, we’re not going to please everyone. Why? Because people often want us to do what they want us to do instead of what is in our own best interest and for our Highest Good.

The other thing is, when you are constantly saying yes to people, you become resentful. This lowers your energy, so when even if you do say yes to all of these committments and people, you’re still not showing up with your Authenticity hat on. And it’s all because you’re not giving yourself self-care. You’re starving yourself to feed others – and that’s not hot.

So, we gotta start saying no with love! And we start saying now with love by saying “yes” to self-care. A great way to begin this process is to dedicate 20 minutes – 60 minutes first thing in the morning to self-care.

When my boyfriend and I moved in together, we had a talk about things that were part of our current routine that we wanted to carry over into our life together. For me, it was my Morning Me Time. Every morning, I go to my meditation space and meditate and read a lesson from A Course in Miracles. It takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 60 minutes out of my morning and it is one of the best parts of my day. It’s my morning mental shower where I get to come home and remember who I really am and what I am really here to do. My boyfriend wanted us to have breakfast together in the morning but, to me, it felt like I was cutting off a limb because I so treasure that beautiful Morning Me Time. I said to no to his desires and yes to mine, and everything is working out fine. Sure, once in a blue moon, I might surprise him and have breakfast with him and meditate later but 95% of the time, it’s Morning Me Time. And I end up actually showing up for our relationship in a better mindset because I’ve given myself the care that I need.

There can also be a part of us that believes if we say no, people won’t like us. This shows we have some work to do. These people are perfect assignments for us to start saying no! They’re also perfect opportunities for us to remember what our true purpose is: to be of service to others in whatever capacity we are called to.

England, Devon, bluebell woodland


So, what are our action tools?

Own Your Response

First, it’s important to remember that we always have a choice in any given situation. We can say yes or no, and that choice is something we willingingly choose. Stop making yourself the vicitm, own your responses, and just be willing to take a closer look at your reactions.

Start Having Morning Me Time

Make a commitment to yourself every morning for 10 – 30 minutes. This is a beautiful time for you to sharpen your own spiritual practice, whatever that is for you. If it means getting up at 5:00 a.m. to go for a jog, meditate, journal, read, or make a really nice breakfast for yourself, then do it. Become committed to saying “yes” to yourself more often and you will gradually find it easier to say “no” to others, because your you time will become so important to you. 

Popularity is Overrated

Cheryl Richardson said it best when she said, “You don’t want people to be happy – you just don’t want them to be pissed at you.” Your desire to be liked comes from the little girl or boy inside of you that was told, “You better be really good or I’m going to be really angry with you.” Throw that away and start becoming comfortable being uncomfortable by…

Practice Pissing Someone Off

This is another tool I got from Cheryl Richardson. This sounds so whacky but OMG it works wonders! A great place to start is giving yourself time to think about your response. So, when someone asks you to do something, instead of saying yes right away, tell them, “Let me just think about it for a day and I’ll get back to you tomorrow.” This allows you to really take the time to ask yourself if this is a.) something you want to do and b.) something you actually have time for. If you’re feeling resentful, frustrated, or uneasy, say no with love (i.e. “I’d love to help you but I’m just too busy that day. I hope you can understand.”).

After you call that person and say no, the discomfort is probably going to set it. That’s when it would be a really good idea to call someone you trust for support in your decision to say no with love. We need our soul sisters!

The Guilt Aftermath is Good

It really isn’t guilt though, it’s just discomfort because you’re making a change. And change is always uncomfortable right? Take it as a sign to just keep going. It is a sign you’re on track.

Stay lovely,

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  • Liz @ Southern Charm July 31, 2013

    Nailed it. Oddly enough I said my first no, with love, yesterday. It was so freeing!! <3

    • admin August 5, 2013

      YOU GO GIRL!

  • Katie July 31, 2013

    Oh, man. Yes. It’s been a struggle for me to figure out a nice way to put this to my boyfriend – Hey, you can’t sleep over every night when we move back to school because I need my “Me Time”.

    This gave me the courage to speak up 🙂 Lots of love, Heather!

    • admin August 5, 2013

      Awesome, Katie! Let me know how it goes.

  • Katie @ Live Half Full July 31, 2013

    This is something I have really been noticing that I’ve been doing well lately- especially with my husband! I need to workout daily and I need to get my sleep. Sometimes this means neglecting him a bit, but I’m a happier wife so it makes the time we spend together that much better.

    • admin August 5, 2013

      Exactly. And when we nurture ourselves, it usually makes us want to give him what he wants too. 😉

  • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats August 3, 2013

    So inspiring your morning me time that is great! I definitely struggle with saying no, not necessarily the saying no part but the guilt afterwards of having said it.

    • Heather August 5, 2013

      I hear you, Jan! I still struggle w/ that from time to time. Try re-labeling the guilt as disappointment – because you’re just bummed that you’re disappointing someone. It’s okay. That’s your super kind heart talking. Keep choosing love, girl!