Health & Well-Being

The Empowerment of Saying “No”

How many times in our life have we slid into disappointment, sadness, or even anger upon hearing that simple little word, “No”?

How often have we grudgingly said “Yes,” when our heart, mind, and good judgment were screaming out, “No”?

We’ve been conditioned from birth to associate the word “No” with negative, restrictive, and often heartbreaking news or scenarios.

How can such a small word have such a profound and often lasting impact?

And yet, as we grow and mature, we must learn how, when, and where to use “No” to set personal boundaries.

One of our greatest lessons in life is learning how to transition from responding to “No” to using it as a tool for protecting our own time, space, and priorities. It empowers us to chart our own course if we are brave enough to employ it.

The power of “No” can serve us in many ways.

It can be used by others to scold and redirect us. It can be used to reveal other people’s boundaries to us. It can warn us of danger and educate us on right or wrong, acceptable, and unacceptable.

As hard as it is at times to be told “No,” it is even harder to say those two little letters to yourself and others.

Saying “No” to our family and friends often casts us in an uncomfortable and unpopular role.

Our inner desire to be kind and accommodating is pitted against our own instinct to protect our own personal time and needs.

Having the courage to say “No” in certain situations can be an act of love, responsibility, and even intelligence.

“No” can be a positive word and powerful tool. It often liberates us and protects our priorities, while “Yes” may commit us to things outside of our comfort zone.

We need to grant ourselves permission to say “No” to anything that makes us uncomfortable or unhappy, that saps our energy or joy, and that compromises our values.

When we say “Yes” to something we really don’t want to do, we might hate the activity, resent the person who asked, and second-guess our own judgment and motives.

“No” can be a ticket to individual freedom and choice. If we desire to simplify our lives, we must use “No” as a tool of discernment, allowing us to control our time, activities, and destiny.

The power, impact, and discernment of saying “No” empowers us to open ourselves to a more positive and personally healthy tomorrow. Say “Yes” to your personal priorities in life but reserve the right to employ your “No.”

The courage and wisdom to employ our “No” provides us with a monitor and vehicle to claim our priorities. “No” can open the door to saying “Yes” to a world of infinite possibilities.


Fred Clausen

Fred Clausen is an educator, author and motivational speaker who spent over forty-five years in public education. He enjoyed a successful career as a teacher, coach, and athletic administrator. Fred is the author of two books, The Fork in the Road Leads Home…A Reflection of My Life’s Journey and The Essential Elements of Successful Coaching which he has widely used in educating leaders in all facets of education, business, and personal enrichment.

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