When was the last time you said no to a request from an adult friend, family member, or acquaintance? Said no, because you needed or wanted to, without a long explanation, or list of excuses?

Women I talk to generally agree, they often say yes to requests when they would rather say no. They either feel obligated to say yes to the request, or worry that by saying no they will upset the other person and thus no longer be liked by that person.

This issue is partly connected to a hardwired survival instinct, it’s a natural tendency from ancient times when our survival was reliant on full acceptance from the tribe or village. But we are in a very different society now. Saying yes to please others, in spite of our own needs, often leads to feelings of stress, overwhelm and lower self esteem.

Difficulty in saying no seems to be an issue particularly for women, so men I’m not leaving you out of this discussion, it seems that generally saying no is more natural for men.

An ability to have a clear no (and yes) is a sign of healthy self esteem and self empowerment. If you think your saying no muscle could do with a workout, make it a focus for a few weeks. Say no (outright and respectfully) to requests that you might normally say yes to, but would end up feeling tired or resentful about.

Notice what happens internally when you begin to say no to others. Do you feel freer, notice a sense of relief, or worry what the other person thinks of you now? Just notice these feelings and thoughts, don’t necessarily take any action on them. Just notice your internal responses.

Are you the kind of person that tends to put the needs of others before your own? Understand that by saying no to others, you are actually saying YES to yourself. And by doing this you are sustaining your life force, your vital energy. Leaving you more able to be the vibrant, loving and caring individual you truly are.