A bad habit that I’ve been working on for quite some time is saying yes when I really want to say no. I would say yes rather than no and then spend days wracking my brain with an excuse to get out of the situation.

Do you do this too? Someone asks you a favour,  your boss suggests another project, an acquaintance invites you to an event, and you feel obliged to say yes?

If you feel resentment or immediately start thinking of excuses, then you know that you’ve said yes out of obligation.

Saying no to people, events and opportunities that you don’t want can be hard. But living a life of obligation sucks too.

When we say no, we can be more discerning with our time and energy. Rather than filling our calendar with unwanted obligations, we can actually create space in our week for what we want.

I think some of us struggle to say no because we are people pleasers and avoid conflict. We worry that saying no may upset or offend others, so we begrudge a yes.

People-pleasing stems from a need for people to like us. Beneath this need is often a belief that we’re not good enough or that there is something inherently wrong with us.

So we overcompensate for not feeling good enough by being agreeable, saying yes to everything, putting others’ needs ahead of our own and eventually burning ourselves out. We end up victimised by our own niceness.

Learning to say no is one of the best things we can do for our mental and emotional health. 

I used to think that if I said no, I would need an elaborate excuse. But I’ve found that the simplest approach works best:

“Thanks for thinking of me, but I’m not available.”

“No thanks, that’s not my thing.”

“Sorry, I’m not in a position to assist right now”.

Another way to reframe the discomfort of saying no is to view it as an act of kindness for yourself. A loving boundary that protects your precious time and energy.

So tell dear Reader, what have you said no to recently and how did it feel?

The first few times we say no may feel a little scary, but it gets easier with practice, and you will have so much time and energy to say yes to the things you really want to do.

One of the benefits of yoga is that it makes us so much more aware of ourselves, our habits and how we sabotage our own peace.

What starts with stretching our body, ends up stretching our mind and our entire concept of self.

The journey of yoga really is an internal one and if you’re interested in the deeper aspects of yoga and it’s potential to transform our lives from the inside out, then check out Yoga Alchemy.

Keep calm,

Monica