Two letters. One consonant and one vowel. It’s one of the go-to words in my dog Oscar’s vocabulary, and almost like magic, it can set you free. But you need to know how and when to say it.
The word is no.
Talk about an enforcer, right? We all learn the power of “no” in our first year on the planet when it abruptly stops us in our tracks – well, depending on who says it and how. It’s no wonder that the word “no” has a negative connotation to it – it lays down the law.
If you’re able to read this, you’re no rookie at the English language. So why ramble on about this grouchy two-letter beginner word? I mean that would be like writing a treatise on the words “I” and “Thou” right? Wait, someone famous already did that back in the 1920s… wink, wink.
The reason is simple. The word “no” can give the adult-you room to breathe and enjoy this incredible life you’ve been blessed with on your own terms.
In his famous book The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott. Peck wrote:
“I believe it will become clear that not only do self-love and the love of others go hand in hand but that ultimately they are indistinguishable.”
If the spirit path has taught me anything, it is this: in order to truly love and care for others, we must start by being impeccable to ourselves. The most generous and compassionate people I know are also the most protective of their time. Almost counterintuitive right?
The fastest way to take back your time is to start saying no to things that do not resonate with you.
A small confession: Since I was young, I’ve always been a “Yes!” person, and the art of no does not come naturally to me whatsoever. My mom will tell you that since I was a toddler, I’ve been a people pleaser, and took it personally when someone else’s feelings were hurt. Don’t get me wrong, the willingness to go along for the ride has helped me a ton in life, but it’s also left some scars.
It took me the longest time to realize that no is not synonymous with bad and no does not mean I’m upset at you. The word itself is rarely ever spoken, it’s really just a symbol of your intention to protect your time and space.
If you think about it, today’s world of constant contact almost forces us to surrender our personal space. There’s really nowhere to hide, unless we’re off the grid entirely.
Let’s hop in the time machine and travel back a few decades for a moment. In those days, if someone wanted to get ahold of you, they would call you either in the morning or before dinner. If you weren’t there, they’d be lucky if there was a crackly, recorded answering machine to take their message – this was considered high tech!
If they were feeling extra sentimental, they could sit down and write you a letter, stuff it in an envelope, and mail it to you. Maybe they’d get something back. Maybe not.
We’re not in Kansas anymore.
Now more than ever, we need to be clear in defining what we want and don’t want in our reality, or else someone else will decide for us ¬– sometimes without even realizing it.
There is no enemy or culprit here. The only villain is the lack of personal discipline and this (praise pachamama!) can be worked on.
The “no” I’m speaking about means, “I have a complex inner compass that weighs hundreds of variables to deliver me to the most harmonious place possible in each moment – and right now I am choosing to take care of myself so I can better serve my life’s purpose.”
Warning: the concept of “no” is catchy.
Remember, no doesn’t need to be confrontational or standoffish. The word doesn’t ever have to be spoken. What it comes down to is your power, to proactively make a decision, and reclaim your right to live each day the way you want to.
It takes clear, compassionate, communication to effectively weave this into your life without hurting other people. But, by being transparent about our needs up front, you’ll establish a safe container for relationships to thrive within.
Today’s “No Challenge”:
Alright, it’s time to put this practice to use. The simple exercise below will help you create a little elbow room in your life, so that you can squeeze even more happiness out of each day.
Step 1: Scan your calendar and find that one thing you’ve committed to but absolutely dread doing. (This is the easy part – just let your heart do the choosing.)
Step 2: Analyze your reasoning behind having signed up for this in the first place. There’s a fairly good chance that you actually MUST do this thing – ie. clean your house, clean your pet, feed yourself… BUT there’s an equally good chance you don’t have to.
Step 3: List out all the people involved who have some vested interest in your attending or contributing to said thing, and let them know that you’re not going to be able to participate.
Here’s the only rule – don’t make up any tall tales or excuses. Be clear, kind, and honest about your present needs.
Are you up for it? I’m going to be riding alongside you for this one – please share your tales of challenge and triumph!
Director, The Sacred Science
Thank you Nick, this is really good, and helpful.
Free will…..engergies are just energien. We place value on them…. Body mind and spirit. There can b e a battle between Sirit and mind.
Thank you nick I needed message
Definitely learned the power of “no” when I figured out how many pretty, shiny “things” were presented to me while seeking self-employment tools. To add, it pays to have some experience in making quick assessments, and saying no is a “practice” well worth doing daily. Thanks for the article.
I like to think that saying no and yes are two sides of the same coin. Saying “no” to somebody or something is really just saying “yes” to yourself and your own heartfelt intentions.
thank you for stating thiis so perfectly! an example of true balance
Very good! Just what I was needing to hear thus morning. You rock!
I wanted to thank you for such well written and clear message in your article that reminded me importance and confidence of magic word “no” without having any fears or doubts that it’s good to practice NO when needed.
Looking forward reading more articles on everyday spiritual and mindfulness life style.
Thank you Nick. Thank you for your openness and make it simple for us. Simplicity is the way to go. More pleasure for having and doing less and less. as a Rietiree, I am a time billionnaire, although materially quite poor. I love it. Its difficult to let go, of thinking you have to be there for everyone! Its amazing how they manage without me!!!
What comes to mind is what Christ said, ” you all have two gifts, Time and Free Will.
For me personally, it seems incredibly hard to do!
I am going to do it anyway; it makes so much sense.
Thank you Nick!!
I know that I need to say no more often, now I’ve got to figure out where to start?
Good article, thank you!
OMG. Perfect message, easy to read and understand. Just said no to a friend this week. I’ve been volunteering time, money and energy to her business for 8 years. Also said no to her keeping my phone number for her business. I feel good. I’m sorry for her. Will we be casual friends ?? Time will tell.
Free will. Listen to your heart, and your intuition, and then your intentions will be clear thank you!
like you I was always a yes man but at the age of 88 have got around to saying NO
Oh Maurice, you are an inspiration! Kate
Well written blog…and quite appropriate for an issue I am going through with a group at this moment. It’s time for me to move on and I do not want to offend anyone but need to be truer to myself. Thanks for the pearls!
I call this a confirming message. I did just this saying no recently, and what a sense of freedom I have!
Always spot on thank you Nick !
Wow. This was powerful. I have always been one that could not say no & it has led me to be miserable at times. In the last 20 years it has gotten easier but is still hard. Thanks for the article because you are right on!
Smart thinking and it rims with ‘enough’ in my mind…like those three steps..take one at the time..just go ahead and DO IT for all gods sake!
Now we are talking
No is a complete sentence! Thanks Nick
I have been focused on building my healing business for the last few months by networking like crazy. However, this month I have been feeling tired and realized it is because I am stretching myself too thin. Therefore, when networking activities come in I check in with my body and ask if I truly want to attend. If I hear the word no, then I am not going. I then stay home and focus on other work or taking time to myself.
Thanks Nick. Good to remember and came at a time when I needed to remember this.
When reading this I started to think about how I felt when I heard “NO!” As a pleasing child and how I feel now when I hear “KNOW” (know that you are one, know that you are loved, know that I am God…) as an adult still wanting to please everyone. “No” wonder we have such a hard time “knowing” the truth!
Most of the commentaries are female,Hamm I wonder why.
Very timely advice, thank-you!
the universe always works in perfect order. I need to re-read/print out and distribute to those in my life at this time. thank you for the wisdom….
YES!! ( to no!) Thanks for explaining & clarifying this so well Nick. It is a life changer that I am happy to be learning after many years of doing it wrong! I am feeling & seeing the effects of practicing this important principle as I am not only happier & freer to live an empowered life myself, but I am also being a much more effective help to others! Yay! I really appreciate your article as it serves to further reinforce & clarify my thinking. Every day Is another chance to make the right choices that undo a life of wrong thinking & build a new, fresh one!
I really needed to see this this morning!! Thanks Nick. Going to really try and not always be the yes person.
Hi Nick. Life wonders. Your encouraging emails always arriving on time. Your time, my time. I’ll not need to ask your mum as you described me, still. 🙂
They say Sorry is the hardest word, I personally disagree. We thanking you from the button of our Hearts. Xxx
Great stuff! So glad you, too, are familiar w/ M. Scott Peck (I’ve done alot of work on myself; ongoing). Now I can point my sister to your article cuz coming from me, she might not think it’s valid.
Thank you for the reminder. I have also found that the clearer my inside focus is on honoring my own well-being for the highest good of all, the less I am presented with external demands that are not in resonance with my well-being.
I have done many things in my life and I am so aware of myself and I do know myself completely. I do ask for what I need and there’s unfortunately a out of control issues I have.
I know my destiny. I do take control except I’m at a point where I’m very vulnerable. That part is out of my control.
I’ve said no and there are many people who do listen. I’ve gotten some help. I’ve even applied for many jobs.
I think sometimes there’s probably a step I must have missed to move forward. So I am actually in the process of doing that soon enough
your viwes are admirable
sometimes saying No relives lot of problems&saves energy time & money too
sometimes pain gets reduced even vanished if it is diverted Viz child falls gets massive swelling how painfulit must be but simple choclate can divert
samewayif painis massive butsome thing to mask has come it will divert pain in body but got message to get gift diverts the pain
pain in stomach was relieved by givin hot burn on the body which diverts the pain
Thank you Nick, your emails are a positive reminder that I can live a good life with natures healing meds