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Guest Blog: Saying ‘No’ As A Gift by Francesca Woltanski

If you’re anything like me you’ve also had trouble with saying ‘no’. I mean, in our society it’s something that we’re not encouraged to do as women and it can feel super uncomfortable when we do. Sometimes it feels like you’re actually hurting the other person. I want to pause for a moment and just take a look at that kind of thinking, because I think that it can be really, really harmful.

I was on a consult the other day with someone and without sharing any of the details, I’m a really big advocate of keeping people safe and I could never share something so personal with other people. However, there were some principles I wanted to share with you.  CELEBRATING A ‘NO’ You see, this person was really excited about the work I was doing however, I began to realize that she was actually a ‘no’. Even though she was really excited, she just wasn’t committing. I know that it is so easy to say: “well, there’s more than just a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’” and maybe there is. But you know what, that also creates a lot of confusion. I think this person actually felt like they were hurting me by saying ‘no’. But I coached her through it once I was certain that this was a ‘not now’ for her. We just talked through it and I gave her 100% permission to say ‘no’. She struggled a little bit more but I walked her through and then she said “this is a no for me.”  I was so proud of her, I actually celebrated her in that moment because like I said, it is not easy to say no, especially the way we think about it and the way we are programmed to think about it.  BUT WHAT IF IT WAS THE GREATEST GIFT YOU COULD GIVE SOMEONE? I want you to think about this for a second: have you ever asked someone if they could do something with you and instead of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ right away, they say:

  • ‘Oh, let me think about it’,

  • ‘I’m not sure’; or 

  • ‘I’ve got to check my calendar’?

All.Of.The.Things! What ends up happening is they don’t actually get back to you for days or weeks. You just kind of start feeling pretty icky about it.  You start thinking things like ‘Oh my goodness, does my girlfriend actually want to hang out with me?’ and on the other side your girlfriend is probably like: ‘Oh man, that sounds so much fun, I really want to hang out with my friend but then I also really need to spend more time with my family and so I’m feeling conflicted inside.” This creates all of this confusion and confliction and honestly sometimes this feeling of guilt, whether that’s because you didn’t get back to someone to say a final ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, or just because you’re not sure what’s going on. That doesn’t feel good and it’s not super healthy either.  WHAT IF YOU JUST LIVED OUT OF YOUR PRIORITIES?  If you were clear about what is important to you, someone came to you and made you an offer that you knew wasn’t right. What if you just said ‘no’? YOU’RE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR OTHER PEOPLE’S EMOTIONS There may be some things that other people make it mean, but you’re not responsible for that. What other people make it mean is not your responsibility. You’re responsible for your own emotions. You’re not responsible for someone else’s emotions. But by saying ‘no’, a clear ’no’, not beating around the bush, but saying ‘no’, you free that other person up. If you say ‘no’ to their invite, then they know they’re going to have to go ask someone else. You free up their time and more importantly, you free up your own mind because you’re not sitting in indecision, or in doubt, you're not sitting in confusion. COMMIT TO AN ANSWER You are committing to an answer and I guarantee you that committing to that answer is going to make you and that other person feel so much better because you both know where you are at. You both know the answer. I promise you, this is going to make your relationship so much better and so much sweeter because you are going to have clear boundaries. All because you are now living inside of your priorities, and you are creating clarity in your life. All of us want more clarity! THINK ABOUT THIS: What if I started allowing myself to say ‘no’ when it wasn’t a ‘yes’?  We know when it’s a ‘yes, I’m all in!’ but if you're sitting on the fence for more than a little bit of time, it’s probably a ‘no’. So do yourself a favor and the other person and just practice saying ‘no’.  If you’re unsure how to do this, that is okay. We’re all learning and it’s even alright to admit to your loved ones that you’re practicing saying ‘no’ and you’re struggling with it a little bit but you need to say no to them right now. You can explain why or not, it doesn’t matter.  When you share your heart and you say no with love, people are going to feel that and it's going to be a blessing. So girl, learn to say ‘no’!

This guest post was written by Francesca Woltanski from If you’d like to pitch an article, submit your idea via the contact form. I'd love to hear your story!

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