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Why We Need To Say No

Posted August 12, 2013 by Monica O'Connell in Women's Issues


Saying no is uncomfortable.

Especially if no one taught you how to do it growing up.

  • Little girls are taught to say yes, to take care and to value deeply relationships.
  • We are taught to read people, to anticipate, to feel our feelings, to feel others feelings.
  • Moms take care of everyone.  Moms do everything for everyone.  When we grow up we want to be mommys, too.  So we practice as little girls how to be a  mommy.  We play house and kitchen and teacher, all service jobs.
  • We rehearsed teaching, comforting, loving, sharing, caring.

These aren’t bad things, always. They’re things we love about ourselves.

And, they get in the way of saying no.

  • Of feeling that it’s ok to say no.
  • Of knowing how to say no.
  • Of knowing why it’s important to say no.

 Why don’t we say no?

  • When we do, it feels bad, uncomfortable, awkward, embarrassing, fearful.
  • We don’t want to hurt anyone.  Our significant other, friends, family members and co-workers are important to us.
  • We might get “in trouble”
  • We might not be liked.

Why should we say no?

  • People who don’t say no, are typically passive aggressive.  They find sneaky ways to say no. No one wants to be like that.
  • Our feelings, time, values and life are important.  Our stuff is important. Our ideas are important.
  • Saying no feels amazing.
  • Saying no gets us to a better place of saying yes to what is really important.

No is a complete sentence.

You can also add variety.

  • No thank you
  • Nope.
  • Unfortunately that doesn’t work.
  • Sorry I’m not sorry.


About the Author

Monica O'Connell

Monica O’Connell is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In her practice, she spends her career cheering on “Career Girls” as they learn how to get the most out of life. Monica works with arguably some of the most successful, intelligent, inspiring women in the Twin Cities who tackle self-discovery, career success, and what’s getting in the way of their true desires. She shares her favorite moments as those “best described not by words but by the stomach aching, face soreness that comes from spending an entire day laughing with loved ones.”