Is it really ok to say ‘no’ to more, or should we be saying YES?

Do you feel like one moment you’re inspired by an article telling us it’s ok to say NO! Then minutes later we are reading something that encourages us to LEAN IN, or say yes MORE for a fulfilling life!

The conflicting messages can be downright maddening for the hard-working giver trying to find their balance in life. What do we do?

Photo by Alexander Dummer on

There are 3 simple ways to be at peace with the choice between YES and NO.

Articles implying it’s ok to say no to taking on additional work make us feel better. They imply we shouldn’t feel guilty for not attending that holiday party, or volunteering at the bake sale, or going to happy hour after work. I always feel a little less guilty when I read something like this and I whole-heartedly agree with the message. In the moment.

It seems like almost immediately, the release of guilt is cut short by an article that says DON’T SETTLE! PUSH HARDER! YOU ARE CAPABLE OF SO MUCH MORE! And I buy it, hook – line – sinker.

So how can we reconcile these two conflicting messages, which in their own right are NOT WRONG? It’s a question I’ve been battling with, probably since I was a teenager.

Here are 3 ways to be at peace with your decision:

1 – BE MINDFUL OF YOUR PERSONAL LIMITATIONS IN THIS STAGE OF LIFE. In our world of comparison, it’s easy to feel like we are not doing enough. There are a lot of people out there seemingly “doing it all”. Or at least doing a lot more than we are. It’s important to remind ourselves everyone has difference levels of mental and physical energy based on personality, financial situation, parenting responsibilities, mental health status, genetics, and knowledge. And all of these variables FLUX throughout life.

2 – WHAT’S YOUR GUT SAY? Take a step back and look at the big picture of your day, month or year. You will be leaning one way or another over whether to say yes or no to something. If you’re wanting to say NO, ask yourself WHY you are leaning that way. If it’s fear or anger based, you may need to dig deeper. But if it’s truly of little value to you or you’re experiencing exhaustion and extreme overwhelm, be at peace with your choice.

3 – LET IT GO. It sounds cliche, but it can be so powerful when you make the choice to let go of the guilt, fear and feelings of inadequacy. Letting it go doesn’t mean you will always say no to everything, quite the opposite. By letting go, the fear-based no’s will be more likely to fall to the wayside and you may end up saying YES to a life changing opportunity. BUT it also implies you need to let go of any guilt or shame that follows when you say no to someone. Know you will find your right YES eventually and be at peace with your position.

We will continue to see conflicting articles pushing us to ease up, and then to push forward. Isn’t that the ebb and flow of life though?

Balancing the YES and the NO is what it’s all about, but stay mindful of the harsh reality that this WILL look difference for each individual at difference stages of your life. Remind yourself daily to be at peace with this.

Good luck with your decision and HAPPY MINDING!

Photo by bruce mars on

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