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The Power of Saying No

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The Power of Saying No

We’ve all had times when we say yes to someone but really want to say no. It’s often difficult to say no because of the desire to be loved: we want to be helpful, we want to show we care, but we may have little to give, are tired, overworked, or need alone time. Do you feel that if you aren’t there for someone, they may reject you? Or that you’re somehow obliged to help as it makes you a ‘good’ person, parent or friend? Do you ever feel validated by being needed?

It’s easy to believe that any time you take to relax or meditate is time that could be used elsewhere. But taking time out doesn’t mean it is selfish or even wasted time. Think about what happens when your day is spent constantly caring for others. Do you get resentful, irritated, or even angry? Do you find stress building up? Does the quality of care that you offer become affected by that inner tension? Or are you so used to being this way that it seems impossible to imagine being any other way? You may even think you’re not the relaxing type, or that if you do relax you won’t be able to cope with all the things you have to do.

However, by taking time for yourself, by lowering your blood pressure and releasing stress, you are immediately creating a more harmonious environment that can only benefit all those around you. When you take time out to be quiet it means you don’t get so angry, resentful, or frustrated; instead, you connect with who you really are. Then what you share with others is coming from that peaceful space. When you are energized and feeling good you will be able to do far more than if you are dragging yourself through your day with little energy or in a bad mood.

So, rather than being selfish, such activity is actually the least selfish thing you could do! This is when saying no to others means you are affirming yourself. The power of saying no is that you are empowered!


Next: Exercises to enter into the quiet

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Ed and Deb Shapiro

You can learn more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie and others. Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at:


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12:09AM PDT on Oct 31, 2012

Great article, very helpful and it holds a lot of truth. Thank you.

6:53PM PDT on Oct 13, 2012

Thanks it's really well related !

8:45AM PDT on Oct 13, 2012

good reminders

6:42AM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

I have said yes all my life. I have helped friends and family, drywall rooms, paint outsides of houses, babysat kids, helped them with their yards and pets, fixed their toilet leaks, etc. I am a woman that loves that kind of stuff. Now I am 60 and my back is so painful, and look... no one wants to be my friend. Wish I had said no a whole bunch of times.

8:15PM PDT on Oct 10, 2012


5:33AM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

I have over the past few years become accustomed to saying no and dealing with the responses. If I really can't or simply don't have the inclination to do something I simply say so. I have to say it was a bit difficult.The first time I said no to something I waited rather nervously for the fallout - which actually didn't com. I think sometimes (not all) people are more happy to accept a negative response than a positive one and then the task is carried in a manner that it was pretty obvious that the initial response should have been no.

12:33AM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

Thanks for the information.

12:04AM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

It is so hard to learn, thanks for good reminder!

6:15PM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

We should not be afraid of being ourselves and follow our hearts. Saying "no" is healthy.

11:27AM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

it is all about people pleasing 101
which is a detriment to your personal growth
therefore saying no is lesson number one

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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