How to Say No (& Why It's So Hard)

3 Minute Read: Boundaries, how to say no, non-violent communication, mindfulness, habit shifts.

For many of my coaching clients, saying no is really, really hard – even when their whole being longs to say it. So…

A few thoughts on saying no, based on work with a client this week.

Many of us are trained from our earliest beginnings to seek external approval and validation as though our lives depend on it – as though that's how we "win" love.

If you're a Big Person wanting to say no and finding it hard, you're likely trying to re-pattern something very old and very deep – something reinforced by the entire System you were part of growing up (and in some ways, are still part of now).

The System has a stake in you staying exactly as you are. "It" feels comfortable and secure that way.

"It" doesn't have to look at its own uncomfortable truths so long as everyone stays silent and plays along – however miserably.

Photo by Arthur Ogleznev, Unsplash

Photo by Arthur Ogleznev, Unsplash

In saying no and voicing your truth, expect pushback.

Both from within – from that part of you who learned that saying yes was how to stay loved and safe...and from without – from the System that’s resting there, over-stuffed and lazy and not wanting (even fearing and doing anything it can to prevent) honesty and change.

Seeing that pushback – and anticipating it – can be helpful. So can naming it when it arises. (It will arise – 100 percent.) Here’s what you do: 

  • Expect it.

  • Name it when it shows up.

  • Touch it lightly.

  • Say, “Thank you for trying to keep me safe, inner self. But I’m good.” 

  • Then let it go, and say your no. (I’ll be cheering you on.)


Support makes simple, healthy eating + living so much easier.

If you’re looking for that, I offer two avenues for personalized support and accountability: The Foundation and The Deep Dive.

For free support, also check out my Primal Eating with Ease ebook.

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With grace + ease.

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