The Art of Saying No

Is it true? Does it really come down to an art when we are saying no?

Saying “no” is really just saying “yes” with limitations.

I do not know who originally penned that phrase but it is perfectly brilliant.  

When we say “no” to something it does not mean that we will never do it, it just means that right now, at this point in time, it is not the right course of action for us.

It is OK to say “no” and it is OK to admit that you do not have the time or energy for something. After all wouldn’t it be better to refuse to do something than to do it halfway?

When we say “no” to one thing we are actually saying “yes” to something else.

If we choose not to work on a project that was offered to us we are leaving the time for another project that will nourish us better. When we refuse to work with difficult people we are allowing ourselves the opportunity to work with people who are more aligned with our ideology. If we refuse an event then we free up time for something else such as spending time with our family.

We must learn how to say “no” or we will actually block our emotional intelligence.

Research from the University of California in San Francisco supports this premise. They state that those that have a hard time refusing something actually are more likely to experience stress, burnout, and depression

A great way to protect yourself from saying “yes” immediately upon being asked for your expertise is to simply ask for time to think about the offer that has been made to you. This tactic is especially useful if you are feeling unsure if this particular opportunity is the right opportunity for you.  

If you do say “no” you will have respected the offer by showing that you have fully considered it. The added bonus is the time to think about how to refuse in a nice and diplomatic way.

Always remember not to burn any bridges as you never know what the future may bring and when you may need that support system.

Decline the offer in a way that is understood avoiding soft phrases. Instead of “I do not think I can” simply say “I am not able to make that commitment.” If possible suggest people that could help.  Offer positives with your answer and you will feel confident in the handling of the situation.

A statement such as the following is strong, helpful and kind. It offers a no sandwiched between two beautiful slices of gluten free bread that are saying yes. It is a gracious way to show appreciation while protecting your own limitations.

“Thank you for reaching out to me but I am not able to make that commitment. I do  look forward to working with you in the future. In the meantime, I would be more than happy to make suggestions of someone who I trust and perhaps you can touch base with them.”

Setting your boundaries is your right and privilege. Honor them both and you will achieve amazing things.

What are your best tips for saying no? I would love to know.

Inspiring Women Magazine, original publish date May 6, 2014


Author: Dr. Elise Cohen Ho
With over 25 years of experience, Elise Cohen Ho, PhD, HHP, NC, MH is an expert in natural health (mental, physical and emotional), support of the family unit and support of the individual. As a Natural Health & Lifestyle Therapist, Amazon International Bestselling Author and Motivational Speaker, she wants every person to understand that they bring incredible POWER to the world with their amazing and unique gifts. Elise is available as a freelance writer, public speaker and for private consultation. Please email to set up a FREE consultation today.


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