In Defense of Saying No to Anything

You know, writing this blog over the past almost-2-years has been really interesting. I tackle a lot of topics. Many of them have this huge potential to be cliché. It’s never been difficult for me to write from my heart, but I try to put a real and raw spin on it because I think these things I write about really do matter.

So I want to talk about saying yes, because I see so much of the suggestion to “just say yes”– the notion that we should take opportunities when they come to us. That we should say yes to things, because getting out of our comfort zones teaches us immeasurable lessons and gives us experiences that we couldn’t fathom. I believe this to be true. But I also think there is huge power in saying no.

Saying yes is important. But so is saying no. I’m not talking about choosing to stay comfortable, or choosing to not push yourself. I’m talking about self-care, about self-awareness, about tuning into your needs in a world where it is so easy to tune into a million other things.

I am so guilty of wanting to do it all. And not just doing it all, but wanting to do it all 100%. I often hit my capacity and still I say yes to things.

I have learned that I have to have boundaries if I want to do anything effectively at all. I need alone time. I need rest. I need to make space for new things that can’t come my way if I am overbooked. I would love to say yes to all the coffee dates, but I simply can’t. I would love to do all the free collaborations, but I don’t have the time (or closet space).

I believe that I have a limited capacity for most things. I also believe that energy and time are the most valuable currencies we will ever know. We must be deliberate with how we spend them. Life is short and it’s OK to turn things down.

You are allowed to say no when you are prioritizing something else. You are allowed to say no when you need some sleep. You are allowed to say no because you aren’t feeling 100% on something. In fact, you don’t need a reason– you are allowed to say no for any reason at all.

So I defend saying no. Often, saying no is what allows us to say yes.

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  • Reply
    November 7, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    A big amen, sister!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Erin! I love the voice of your writing and blog – it’s such an uplifting corner of the internet to visit. Keep on shining 🙂

    • Erin Sullivan
      Erin Sullivan
      November 23, 2016 at 9:53 am

      Thank you so much, Heather! Really appreciate it.

  • Reply
    Jessie @ Chasing Belle
    November 19, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Boundaries are so key and as I have grown older, I have honed my ability to say “no”. Most of the time it is not easy, but this is our one and only life and, with such precious time, it is important to know your priorities. Great post!

    • Erin Sullivan
      Erin Sullivan
      November 23, 2016 at 9:57 am

      I feel ya! I used to feel bad saying no, but now I fully recognize that in order to be my most effective self, I just can’t do EVERYTHING. Thanks!

  • Reply
    November 23, 2016 at 4:47 am

    This is so true!
    Prioritizing things really help to sort it out. And i’ve been there, i was a yes man saying yes to everything, turns out it’s getting out of my hand and it’s just not effective.

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