Saying Yes When You Mean No

The corner of a street signIn a fabulous session with my fellow Everyday Goddess, Lisa Marie Rosati, I made a promise to myself. When faced with a situation where I was asked to do something – no matter how small – if I didn’t get an immediate full body yes, I would stop and ask myself, “Do I really want to do this?” I gave myself permission to think on things I am asked to do (you can always say, “Let me check my schedule and get back to you”) and I gave myself permission to say no.


Then I ran into a bit of a snag…


I realized last Monday evening that my problem isn't saying no when people ask me to do something for them, it's taking on their stuff without them even asking. Between 5 and 8:30 pm last night, I had unwittingly volunteered to drive 30 min out of my way every Monday to take one of my instructors to belly dance class, had smoke blown in my face because I didn't want to offend my other instructor who asked to speak to me after class on her smoke break, and served as therapist to 4 of my classmates.


By the time I went to bed that night, I had the start of what turned into a full-blown head cold by Tuesday morning. Yes, Universe, dully noted that I did not speak my truth or abide by the promise I made to myself to stop taking on everyone else's stuff.


I do this all the time – volunteer to help everyone else at expense to myself without even realizing I'm doing it until after it happens. Then I pay for it…


So how should I handle this? I asked this question of my friend and chiropractor, who is also an intuitive. “Put yourself on a pedestal,” she said. You need to value yourself above others right now.


This is big. Huge. Like most women, I was taught to always put myself last and everyone else first – part Superwoman, part people-pleaser, part I-don’t-know-what. So the very notion of putting myself not just on an equal plane with others, but on a pedestal is daunting.


But I also just made a promise to fully embrace self-care this holiday season so I can heal my adrenal fatigue.


I decided to do two things to remind myself that I am supposed to be my #1 right now, pedestal and all. First, I started drawing a heart on my palm again as it reminds me to take care of me. Second, I started Lisa Marie Rosati’s mirror exercise. It’s simple yet difficult. Twice a day, you say your affirmations to yourself while looking into your own eyes in the mirror. Half the time I want to avert my gaze, but I am staying with it. I know that after 21 days, this will become a habit and will be much easier. In case you decide to try this out yourself, here are the affirmations I am using:


I love, honor, respect and trust the woman I see in the mirror and I set boundaries in my life to respect and honor her.

I never break a promise to myself – not a big one and not a small one.

I trust my own intuitive insights and I trust myself to deal with each new development with love for myself.

I am congruent with my truth and proud of it!

My soul is stronger than any struggle that is thrown my way.

I am unstoppable and limitless.

I honor my Inner Goddess and divine feminine nature.

I put my mental and physical well-being at the top of the list.

I choose to make positive, healthy choices for myself.

I am in total control of my life, my thoughts, and my health.

All my relationships are harmonious and loving.

I am sacred. My body is sacred, my feelings are sacred, my mind is sacred, my spirit is sacred. I am sacred.

I then end my morning practice with the following question:


What do I need to do for me today?

And then I do it – if not right then, then I make sure to schedule time for it later that day.

What are you doing to take care of yourself this holiday season? How are you going to say No? I’d love to hear your tips and practices below.


  • I so love and honor you Mary! We are all a work in progress and we ALL have our dragons to slay in Earth School. I love the advice you were given by your friend to put yourself up on a pedestal – YES, you need to be your number one priority. When you step into the most healthy and powerful version of yourself possible, it gives rise to the world. When you are nourished, you can serve others more powerfully and effectively! XO Lisa

  • Peggy says:

    Repeat after me: No.

    Mary – what I learned after clawing my way through divorce and breast cancer is that no one, and I mean no one, was going to take better care of me than me. Sure, it pusses a few peoe off at first but I put me first. Everyone else pretty much had to take a number and stand in line. Me first, you second.

    Oh my gosh, “she’s so selfish!” Oh my gosh! “What a bitch!” Yup, got that at first. And then the miracle happened. No freed me up to be more caring, more present, more joyful. And NO freed my daughters up to be more self-reliant, independent, and they learned the value of saying no when they really meant no.

  • Linda Joy says:

    You are not alone on this journey.. It’s two steps forward and three steps back for many of us (hand raised). What’s important is that to you continue to hold the internal dialogue with your Inner goddess and allow her to lead you back to your truth. I’ve learned to say NO, especially this year… Once I finally owned that every YES I said for the wrong reasons cost me my life essence, creativity, joy, family time and my own self-care.

    I now look at my time as my “LIFE ESSENCE” and when a project t, invite etc comes up I go within and ask mysel if it will drain or enhance my life essence… It works for me.

    PS Love Lisa Marie’s Mirror exercise, so powerful!

  • Lisa Hutchison says:

    Mary, I love, love, love your authenticity! I too have struggled with this in the past and feel that pain of what I went through. Once I started asserting myself and saying no, my friendships and associations shifted. Now I have people who respect my “no” more times than not. It is all learning and all good. I am taking the heart, affirmations and pedestal pieces with me and incorporating them into my assertiveness and self-love. Thank you!

  • YES!!! To what you and to what you have so willingly shared. Thanks Mary.

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