The Power and Honouring in Saying No

by Sandra Wilson, Master of Arts (MA), Brisbane/ Australia

I used to have difficulty in saying No, which meant that I pushed myself too hard to get something done, or I would struggle to carry out a promise even though it no longer felt right.

Years ago, I was given a good demonstration of the consequences of not saying No. I had to put out a brochure for a course I was teaching in the next term and I had a small window of time to do it in. Usually, it came together easily but this time I couldn’t seem to get it together.

Every part of my body seemed unwilling to do it and everything seemed to conspire against it. But the more resistance I felt, the harder I pushed.

I stubbornly went ahead even though there was a resounding ‘no’ inside me.  My mind was like a slave driver whipping me up into a panic: “If you don’t do it now you’ll miss out on student intake for the beginning of the term… then how are you going to support the kids, pay the rent etc.?”… My body did not want to do it but my mind drove me to act out of fear. I could not see the situation clearly nor pause to really consider whether it might be possible to delay putting out the brochure until after I had returned from my trip.

After a lot of effort I finally finished it and, on the way to the printer, I had a small car accident and only just made the deadline. Consequently when I went away I had to spend the first week of my holiday recuperating from my stress and exhaustion. The day I was due to come home there was major flooding and all planes were grounded and the power was out. Mobile phones had not been invented then so I had no way to organise someone else to be at the venue to enrol the new intake of students. I felt power-less. I then realised that I knew all along – my body had been informing me that it was not the right timing to put out the brochure, but I overrode the message and willfully made happen what I thought I wanted done. Since that day I have started listening to my true feelings.

I am realising that my body does let me know whether I am making the right choice or not. If I feel an expansive feeling in my body that means I am making a good choice. If there is tension, I may be making a bad choice or I am resisting making the right choice. In either case my body warns me to look closer at the situation.

But it was only years later, by attending Universal Medicine courses and hearing what Serge Benhayon says about energy, that I started to fully understand how much it hurts myself and others when I try to make things happen. It’s a selfish manipulation which takes nothing else into account other than what I want. This can warp events and cause problems which can affect others because it is not in harmony with the whole. I realise now that, the car accident I had was also indicative of how I was behaving at the time. Even if the course had gone ahead, it would have got off to a bad start because the brochure was tainted with the fear of not achieving my goal and this would have formed part of the subconscious message conveyed by the brochure, which was completely opposite to the message I was trying to convey in the course. By forcing something to happen I was manipulating the outcome to get my own way and I was doing this because I was afraid of what might happen if I didn’t achieve my goal. By contrast, when I am in harmony with my natural rhythm there is a whole-hearted delight which gets things done effortlessly and offers more than just practical help. It graces everyone.

A situation with my daughter helped me understand this further: I had offered to give her some money to help her out of financial difficulties, but when the time came to do so I no longer felt right about giving it to her. A tension arose in my chest and throat whenever I thought of giving it to her and I realised I needed to speak to her about it.

I finally got the courage to tell her that I did not feel right about giving her the money. I was surprised at her reaction. She actually welcomed it as an opportunity to take more responsibility for her life. She stopped pretending she could cope and allowed herself to feel what she was really feeling. It was lovely to be with her in her honesty and vulnerability. This laid the foundation for us to look together at her situation and put a plan in place where she would not be so drained energetically and financially. We talked about how I had struggled as a single mum to provide for her and her brother and how I was constantly telling them: “We can’t afford that”… so I had instilled in them a sense of lack. I was trying to make up for this by giving money to help her out of financial difficulties and relieve my guilt. She saw that she tended to live beyond her means and that this was a tremendous drain on her. She realised that she also spent her energy unwisely by overdoing it and then getting burnt out. I realised that, had I given her the money, it would have been from my wish to fill her lack, and she would have not had the opportunity to change her situation. It would have, in fact, sanctioned the old bad habits and I would have felt drained because I was not honest with her.

By my saying no we opened up a hidden area which, once discovered and brought out in the open, left us both feeling good. It deepened our connection and allowed a new way of being for both of us – just the opposite of what I had feared would happen.

302 thoughts on “The Power and Honouring in Saying No

  1. Thank you Sandra this has also been quite a learning with me and at times I am still saying yes when I need to have said no. What occurred to me as I was reading your words was that for me it had always been a form of control, trying to control things to be a certain way when really as you pointed out with the brochure, we only need to listen to our own body and act accordingly and all will be taken care of as the right time will come if the intention is clear.

  2. I found it very revealing when Serge Benhayon presented that we are always saying ‘yes’. We may be saying yes to putting ourselves under stress when our body is telling us that this is harming or saying yes to honouring what we feel and being honest with another that supports us both to come to greater understanding. When I find myself saying ‘no’, I ask myself what I am saying ‘yes’ to.

  3. Thank you Sandra, reading your blog I got to feel what a super supportive friend our body is to us, it has our best interest at heart with regards to what food is best for us to eat, how much sleep we require and even warns up with uncomfortable feelings when we are making disregarding choices. It is truly our lifelong friend, as it is with us all the way right from birth to when we Passover…. a friend to be truly cherished indeed.

  4. No – one of the littlest words but one that so many of us struggle to express and in doing so we end up overloading ourselves. There are many reasons we find it hard to say no, but guilt would be at the top of the list, even though by saying no we more often than not harm ourselves, and what we have said yes to is carried out with reluctance and sometimes, resentment. Learning to put myself first has made saying no much easier, but I still get caught out every now and then.

  5. It is so clear that we know everything, we know when to say no, and we know when to say yes. But we only are resisting the pull that is there to be more, which the sitsutions we say yes or no to will help us grow to.

  6. Thank you Sandra for this reminder that the body knows life inside out and tells us in very simple ways. For a while now I have been experimenting with a tension and lightness feeling and what I have noticed is that when I’m tense in comes thoughts of these experiments being a load of rubbish – in the tension the judgements and negative thoughts come. Change or focus on the body and our thoughts change and whenever we focus on the body it always produces supportive thoughts.

  7. A beautiful example and lesson Sandra of what happens when we allow the mind to run the show but also what happens when we choose instead to trust the depth of wisdom that in truth is in each and every one of us.

  8. Why is it that we think that love means saying ‘yes’ to everything when really there can be more power and love in saying ‘no’?

  9. It is interesting how the more we feel a resistance to something, the more we push ourselves to complete it rather than being open and honest about taking something on that our body is being affected by.

  10. Sandra I can really relate to overriding something that doesn’t feel right due to fear, and the feeling of making it happen with force because I’ve stepped out of the natural flow of things.

  11. It’s very interesting how we override our body with our mind and let ourselves be driven by all the different scenarios from our head, which is always at the expense of the body, and ourselves. When we turn it around and listen to our body first we make far more loving choices.

  12. Sandra thank you for sharing your experience, when we do openly and honestly say no, it is a great opportunity for a deeper communication and expression and one that can be equally freeing for everyone involved as it gives everyone the opportunity to express how they really feel.

  13. Through us being honest and saying no when something doesn’t feel right for us, we are allowing for areas within ourselves to be exposed and to be healed. So each ‘no’ coming from a place of love is a big yes to evolution.

  14. We absolutely know when we say no we are saying yes to something and it doesn’t really matter if we say yes or no it’s the energy behind it and if there is a drive and attachment the end result will expose this.

  15. Sandra, reading this I was nodding knowing how it is to live in that perpetual drive to achieve a goal from a picture in my head of what it should be or look like. Recently I’ve experienced so many moments that confirm how super important and loving it is to go with what our body feels and knows. Like not getting something out at work that has been ‘urgent’ and instead of staying back and pushing myself, my body felt to finish and go home, and then management being relieved the next day it didn’t go out, as something needed to be changed. We sometimes see these moments as little miracles, like ‘how did we know’ or ‘that’s amazing’ but in truth it’s just normal when we pay attention, trust and listen to our bodies… as our bodies are constantly feeling energy and all that is going on around us.

    1. Beautifully said Aimee, I have had this exact same situation play out myself. When I stay true to my body everything else is taken care of. What a great reminder to take care of my body so it can take care of me.

  16. Although I have come to appreciate and acknowledge the power and honouring in saying no I still find myself struggling with it in certain situations but at least I am aware of it now and chipping away a little more each time.

  17. We are so used to letting our mind do the work and to try to make things happen. I totally agree ‘It’s a selfish manipulation which takes nothing else into account other than what I want.’ I have to get used to how effortless and thus simple and joyful it can be when we are in harmony with our natural rhythm, the rhythm impulsed by the universe we are part of, that is there to align to. I love how you say ‘It graces everyone.’ and that’s what life is about, when we come from the love that we are, it is there for everyone equally.

  18. Thank you Sandra for sharing, one that I can relate to, I have always been a yes person giving my power away to the needs of others. Things have changed since I have come to be more self loving. The other day i was about to go for a walk when my husband asked me if I would stop at the shop and get something for him, my immediate response was no, just a clear clean no with no emotion at all, we both laughed as it felt so great to be so clear and have that honoured by my husband,

  19. I totally relate to your blog Sandra. I used to be terrible at saying ‘no’ and used to push myself to do things I didn’t want to do, this was then filled with resentment and frustration. ‘My body did not want to do it but my mind drove me to act out of fear.’ This is brilliant, it is exactly what drives me to say yes when I meant to say no. It is like there is an internal battle going on between what my body communicates me and what my mind feeds me. Do I choose to listen to my mind or my body? Now, I am learning to choose my body.

  20. So good!! The part about choosing not to give your daughter the money is amazing. The outcome far outweighs any temporary relief the money could have provided. I can imagine it would have been a very scary thing to do, saying no…but so inspiring that you did. I’ve been in a similar situation, not with money, and it does hurt to say no, but in the end I realised that not being liked for a little while was nothing compared to what was being presented by being honest in a situation, as relationships that are willing to go there will always grow so much from such scenarios.

  21. we are so used to manipulating our life’s path for desired outcomes that the very concept of listening to our bodies, that there is an inherent intelligence that knows exactly what we need to do and when we need to do it, has become very foreign to us… Nevertheless as revealed here it is there waiting for us just to listen to it

  22. This is a beautiful example of how being more honest with ourselves we help others to be more honest with themselves too. And it offers us a whole new awareness of what is going on.

  23. There is so much power in the word ‘no’ in getting real about life and what is truly harming in the way we live. We often play games with the comments of saying ‘yes’ to things that our bodies are communicating loud and clear are not needed nor supportive to us in any way. Taking the steps towards using this simple word regularly is definitely exposing to others and can be met with much reaction. The question here is… How much of our decision making is driven by our investments?

  24. Being shown the true responsibility of life by a parent, just as your daughter has experienced is one of those priceless teachings that will always provide an internal reflection. Thank you for the blog Sandra

  25. I have experienced so much anxiety in the past at the mere thought of saying no to someone and yet, on those occasions when I have been able to express it (more and more common these days I’m really glad to say), the reaction, if there has been one, has never been as bad as the one I imagined. What I have learned from this is that if we do not allow the other person the opportunity to respond/react, and feel what is there to be felt, we are in fact judging them to be unable to feel what is being presented. We are basically telling them that we know them better than they do and are therefore not going to bother to give them the grace to feel for themselves. Pretty arrogant isn’t it.

  26. ‘If there is tension, I may be making a bad choice or I am resisting making the right choice. In either case my body warns me to look closer at the situation.’ Our body knows and your examples are making this very clear. I notice the moment I stop and choose to be honest and trust my feelings the answer is right there. Nevertheless I can put a lot of pressure on myself to keep on going and sometimes I am forced to stop by an accident or my car is not working or other complications. Always time for a closer and truly honest look what I am doing and what the consequences are for me and everyone else. But when it comes this far it feels as an attack on ones own body and truly harming for all others involved.

  27. I relate to the expansion in the body you are talking about Sandra, the more I commit to meet life through my body first it is something that I experience more and more on a daily basis creating a flow of ease and simplicity.

  28. There is no denying that if we allow ourselves to not be controlled by the mind we can be open to the messages that are constantly offering us wisdom and support should we choose to stay in connection to the natural flow of life.

  29. I have come to realise how much I overrode what my body was clearly communicating to me to say no to and how much I had to fight and push myself against that in allowing my thoughts to control my actions and agreeing to do something I knew would have a big impact on my body. Now in coming to value my true worth, I am listening far more to my body and when I honour how I am truly feeling my whole body responds with no resistance and a true joy.

  30. Some great examples Sandra of the true support, both for ourselves and others in saying no when it is true. We do get those indicators from our bodies, it does know. When we say ‘no’ we are actually saying ‘yes’ to something….truth or not.

  31. This is a beautiful sharing Sandra. There have been many times where I overrode what I felt and stubbornly pushed on, when I do this things get complicated and messy quickly. Conversely when I go with the flow and take action from a place of connection life expands and there is only simplicity and beauty.

  32. This is brilliant. Sometimes I am not sure whether my ‘no’ is a real one. When things don’t run smooth, I can feel something is clearly amiss – then again I sometimes get into a muddle thinking whether I am actually allowing interference to have its way if I stop the whole thing. And there’s self-judgment to follow if things turn out not so brilliantly. Then again, how do I know what is the truest good for the whole? I know from my own experience that it doesn’t always look pretty. I can feel from your sharing that it all comes down to simple honesty.

  33. I love this sharing and that when you honoured what you felt it allowed others to take responsibility for what was going on for them and then the reflection to make different choices so that they could support themselves.

  34. There are many things I love in this blog, one the way you discuss the force used to make things happen – if we really stop to feel it, it feels horrendous, so awful and damaging – not one ounce of true love, care or compassion for anyone. We especially do this in relationships, with partners, friends or family. Very manipulate and abusive games we can play – it’s really horrible to feel we do it. No wonder we are all exhausted.

  35. I love this sharing Sandra, thank you. There is something innate in us all that ‘sees’ the bigger picture and when we follow this innateness things do work out in ways we were not expecting. I feel it is important that we develop this connection because if we rely solely on our mental abilities we rely on logic, rationality and a limited perception of life. The big picture is felt and not thought and hence the importance of feeling.

  36. Yet again we hear that our body seems to know, almost in advance, of what will be really serving for us, what will be good for us, which path to go down, which road to take, its like its voice never dulls, all we have to do is to start to literally tune in and listen.

  37. We try so hard to control life but fail to see that life is a product of our choices and how we respond to those outcomes.

  38. Having also struggled with saying ‘no’ in the past it is interesting that the more I honour myself and what feels true the easier it has become.

  39. Saying no is a really important lesson to learn in life. It may seem unkind at the time or heaven forbid honest, but I have learnt the hard way that it is the only answer when we feel our bodies withdrawal or pulling back from the idea. Then there is no resentment and instead respect.

  40. These are great examples how very simple life can be when we listen to what we know is true, the outplay may not always be easy but the clarity is there and will stay if we do not waiver from this inner knowing.

  41. A brave example of what we open up to when we listen or at least ask a deeper why, why things at times can be so difficult it feels like you are going against something. We have a picture or many pictures of what life should be and then we drive everything to that picture and even when everything around us is saying no we still push ahead. I think this is a great example, a living example of the way to peel things back and to bring more understanding and awareness to why things can be like they are. When you look around us everything respects the flow or the cycles of life and yet we are constantly living to another rhythm or out of the natural and larger rhythm around us. It is only when we open up, like this article that we can be aware of what has been hidden by our past choices. The tension we hold in our body is a great marker for asking what more is going on. We all get feelings, all the time, remember when you were younger? Nothing has change, the feelings are still there we have just learnt a way of being that is able to turn a blind eye to these feelings but nothing stops the feelings, they just keep coming. No wonder on the whole we are becoming more unwell, all those feelings still happening but not acknowledged or dealt with.

  42. What I have noticed is that my mind almost always wants to make a choice based on fear and security where as my body has a wisdom, intelligence and clarity on situations that is way beyond this and so it makes sense to always listen to my body and how it feels when making any decision.

  43. What a gorgeous example of listening to your body and honouring what it was communicating. It is also a great example of the fact that if it is true for you, from this innermost sensitive part, then it will also be true for all, however much or little they may like to think. A beautiful opportunity for you and your daughter to deepen the relationship you have with one another… this is true support.

  44. It can be hard enough saying ‘no’ to other people sometimes but who would have thought it could be so tricky learning to say ‘no’ to ourselves! It has definitely been worthwhile for me to feel and assess the quality of my thoughts in every moment and it has been a real surprise to find that many thoughts I have are simply not self-supportive but in fact self-abusive and self-destructive and all based on a lie or a belief that I try and convince myself is true. Tricky customer the mind… by the way I’m not crazy, just thought-full 🙂

  45. So glad to heave read this blog today. When I push on with my own agenda things get messy really quick. It pays to read what is really going on rather than ignoring or being frustrated with accidents and other complications that arise in my life.

  46. I used to think that I had to push hard and struggle through life wanting to please and also help people but in not asking myself whether my body could really cope with what was being asked of me usually ended up feeling quite drained and resentful for saying yes afterwards as it was often going out of my way and would turn out to be far more complicated.

  47. Saying No or better phrased saying YES to the body honours what is true. It keeps it super simple and the flow and order of things just happens without effort. It is a great marker of knowing you are on the right track.

  48. There is no right or wrong or even bad or good in the body. Simply what is true and what is not. The good or the bad is what we can label based on the out play of the result of our choices but the body does not judge us ever on what we choose or not. Even though we can may override its messages and do something that is not true, it is still there with us 100% never giving up on sharing with us the truth of who we all are.

  49. What a beautiful example of what happens when we over ride our bodies, our bodies are very wise, ‘I am realising that my body does let me know whether I am making the right choice or not. If I feel an expansive feeling in my body that means I am making a good choice. If there is tension, I may be making a bad choice or I am resisting making the right choice. In either case my body warns me to look closer at the situation.’ Love it, so true.

  50. I agree it feels so much more lovely when we surrender to the flow and rhythm rather than trying to control and get things to happen for self, ‘I started to fully understand how much it hurts myself and others when I try to make things happen. It’s a selfish manipulation which takes nothing else into account other than what I want.’

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