Learning to Say No - Unapologetically

Discover the power in saying, "No".


An abundance of opportunities are headed your way and will require a lot of your time...are you prepared to identify burnout before it occurs? Are you prepared to say no for your better judgement?  Developing healthy boundaries will be important to avoid feeling overwhelmed with so many things to do.

How many times have you said no this past week? 🤔 

Okay…how many times have you said yes? Like most, you’ve probably said yes several times. ‘Yes’ to work requests. ‘Yes’ to requests from family and friends. ‘Yes’ to distractions or demands on your time, that don’t fit your schedule or peak your interest. Remember, it’s important to set healthy boundaries so you can maintain efficiency in everything you do. If you say yes to everything, when will you have time to recharge, indulge in your own pleasures, or simply rest?

Additionally, saying ‘yes’ to something  you either can’t do or prefer not to do will most likely leave you feeling frustrated, resentful, overwhelmed or angry with others and/or yourself. The requests may not be a “bad” thing, but overcommitting and overextending yourself will be.

Have you considered that you may be doing your mind and body a disservice?  

Yes, being “too nice” or overcommitting, including having the “fear of missing out” may have negative effects on your relationships and cause legit problems to your physical, emotional, and social health.  Life experiences, as well as  research,  will  show this to be true (additional resource available here).  

We get it, saying no can be difficult at times because you may want to make everyone happy or be involved in everything   What about you and your happiness? What about your health? This should be your first priority so you can show up and be of service effectively in the things you have committed to. With every request, ask yourself, will this get in the way of tending to my needs? Is there room for this and my needs? 


Saying no is not rude. It is necessary for all parties involved as it showcases love of self and warrants respect from those requesting your time. A yes man or woman is not only limiting their ability to thrive in life, they’re also more likely to experience disrespect….and we don’t want that. Our intention is for you to be assertive and true to how you feel, in every circumstance. 

Assertiveness does not suggest hostility or aggression. You can stand up for yourself by being direct in your stance in a manner that does not disregard or violate others. When responding to others, consider how you would like things communicated to you. If you would be offended by your response, it’s fair to assume, it will also offend who you’re speaking to. We’re sure you’d agree, it’s often not what you say, but how you say it. In practicing this skill, you will grow to see that your new found resolve will help to decrease moments of passivity and hostile blow-ups that may lead to overreacting, emotional burnout, or you being (what you too wouldn’t appreciate) …disrespectful. 


How do you gracefully say no, unapologetically, without guilt? Let’s tap into it.

Tips On Saying No

Think about and practice ways you can say 'No'. Particularly, when under pressure from others to change your mind. You may say, “Let me get back to you” or “I’m not able to provide an answer at this time,” if you need time for consideration.  Be unbothered by the pressure to respond. You Got This and you are still in control of how you respond. 

Take the time you need to make a good decision. Your response should be mindful and of good intention to you as you notify the other party, respectfully. If someone will not accept ‘No’ for an answer, recognize it as a personal problem and  you may move forward simply living.

Don’t wait until you’re upset or fed up to respond. Whether you’re feeling negative vibes or the request(s) frustrate you in some form or fashion, maintain your energy...remember, you are in control of yourself. Do not sit with this feeling. Holding in how you feel and allowing it to build up may lead you to lash out, overreact, respond angrily, or shut down completely, impacting your physiological and/or emotional well-being. Don’t sit with this feeling! We want you to glow as you grow through life. As one of the cards from our customer favorite, Black Girl Magic Affirmation Card Deck states, “Don’t hold on to all that baggage. Release that sh**!” - For Your Inner G

‘No’, is a complete sentence. There are two sides to this perspective. Saying no without explanation may lead to assumption or leave the other person feeling discontent or confused. However, you do not owe an explanation for decisions you choose to make; especially if you feel good about it. Allow the nature of your relationship to shape your perspective and how you choose to approach the request.  

Something to Think About

Place yourself in these scenarios and think about how you would respond. Are you satisfied with your natural actions? If not, think about how you would like to respond. Ask yourself, “How can I respond or decline politely? ” and “How would I want someone to respond to me?  ”. You could go a step further and write it down. Giving yourself a foundation to reference in the future and a space for dialogue and reflection of this journey may help you as you ease into these new feelings. 

  •   After a long day, you’re finally relaxing by indulging in the most amazing self-care experience. Your partner comes into the room and says, “Babe, quick, I need you to go to the store for me.” You have no desire to go to the store at this moment. What are some ways you could respond and politely decline?
  •  You offered to give your friend a ride to work last week but have since changed your mind and prefer to spend some time alone. Your friend reaches out to confirm. How will you reply to inform her of the changes you made to the original plan?  
  • A colleague asks you to step up by taking the lead on an upcoming presentation, but your tasks are full and you’re falling behind on current projects. What are some ways you can decline while remaining a team player?

Examine any destructive self-talk that contributes to the inability or discomfort in being assertive. Use positive self-talk when playing out these scenarios. The use of affirmations may help you in building your confidence and/or setting a foundation for keeping your cool...while speaking up for yourself. Remember, it’s not what you say. It’s how you say it. Speak your declinations from a place of self love and respect.

Also keep  in mind, not every request needs a reply. No response...is a response. Use your discretion accordingly.

Remember to consider - A “but” within your response is there for you to insert a statement that solidifies healthy boundaries and respect. 

Be positive and honest in your feedback.  Implementing these habits may not come easy. This is why we encourage you to practice by visualizing, affirming, and/or writing it down until it flows naturally.

Your choice to put YOU first is not a negative trait. Do not allow others to control your stance or harden your heart because you chose to make the decision best for you. Learning to stand firm in your ‘No’, without disregarding yourself or others, may reduce stress and conflict while building strong, supportive relationships. Stay ready with grace and assertion….a healthy you is a happy you. 

Affirm: “Don’t hold on to all that baggage. Release that sh**!”

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