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How to say "No" without guilt.

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

How to honor yourself by saying "no" and leaving guilt behind.


“No” is one of the shortest words in English and one of the most difficult for people to say. This tiny word carries an immense amount of emotional baggage around it. Time to set those bags down once and for all while confidently using “No” as a complete sentence, guilt-free.


How to say “No” to external requests without guilt.


To achieve this without the weight of guilt, it is essential to know your core values. What does and does not hold a place of importance in your life? These core values will act as a filter keeping what is not in alignment with your life out. Knowing that an activity isn’t in your overall best interest can support you in saying “no” with confidence.


If you are still experiencing guilt or doubt when saying “no,” ask yourself why. What is the thought(s) causing you to feel that guilt? Is that thought(s) true? Is it something that is in your control? Many people struggle with saying “no” because they are worried others are thinking negatively about them. That worry is unwarranted, as you cannot control what others think. Often our assumptions of their thoughts are wrong anyways. You are only responsible for your choices, actions, and expectations. This brings us to the next struggle.


How to say “No” to internal requests without guilt.


This struggle lies within. How to deal with the heavy expectations you put on yourself (we all put on ourselves)? How do we tackle that? How do we sort through all the stuff that weighs on us that we believe we need to do, should be doing, ought to be doing…it can get so heavy so fast! The first step is becoming aware that there is an internal conflict. When I use “should” phrases internally, I recognize that I’m out of alignment with myself. There is some unrealistic expectation or belief that I’m placing on myself, which is causing that internal overwhelm. When I align with my core values, I am willing to take on certain tasks, even if they are more demanding in nature. When I begin to feel uneasy about tasks while thinking, “Oh, but I really should do it.” then it’s a red flag. What is the motivation behind saying “yes”? Is there a belief operating that isn’t true? People pleasing? Manipulation? Martyrdom? It takes effort to sort this out. It’s not always easy or fun. Being honest with your motives is critical to maintaining peace and creating your desired life. It can feel scary to let go of the “should’s,” yet it can motivate you if you are solid on your core values and the life you want to create.


You oversee your life. No matter how small, each choice will either build your life or tear it down. Maturity is realizing that honest communication with others and yourself is key, even when it feels hard. It also realizes that not everyone needs to know everything! “No” is a complete sentence. Resist the urge to overexplain and seek approval or permission. That simply gives your power away. Hold onto your power. Protect your peace. Be vigilant with your most precious resource – yourself!!



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Cover image by Monstera

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