Deepen connection with yourself, others & life itself

5 Reasons to Make Good Friends With Your Authentic NO

  1. It gives us a much better chance of getting our needs and desires met
  2. It keeps us on our own track in life
  3. It makes our Yes more real
  4. It makes us more real
  5. It gives us self-confidence to live life more fully

 An authentic No is one of the most valuable companions we can have in life. It’s about as small as a word can get, but the power in it is huge when we feel and say it clearly. A No is authentic when saying it matches what we really feel inside.

Life throws up situations every day in which we want and need to say No; being asked to do overtime at work when we’re too tired (or we just don’t feel like it), being invited by our partner to have sex when we’re not feeling sexual, someone asking for help when we have no time or energy to give, a party invitation when all we want to do is curl up and read…the list is endless.

So we just need to say that small magic word, right? Yet sometimes (or for some perhaps even often) we just don’t, or won’t, or feel we can’t, for a whole variety of reasons. As a result, we find ourselves in all kinds of situations we don’t want to be in, doing things we don’t want to do and taking actions that are against our true wishes.

All this considered, I think it’s pretty fair to say that if we do have barriers to saying No, it’s well worth putting our energy into overcoming them. Here are 5 reasons to make good friends with our authentic No.


  1. It gives us a much better chance of getting our needs and desires met

The very act of saying Yes when we want to say No requires us to bypass or even ignore our own needs and desires. In contrast, expressing an authentic No is an act of tending to them. When we deeply listen to ourselves and express what we truly feel, we are in a better position to receive what we really want and need, both from ourselves and from others.


  1. It keeps us on our own track in life

Saying No to things we don’t want, and don’t want to do, gives us the space that we need to choose the things we do want in life. Each time we say Yes when we feel No (even for “small” things), we steer ourselves down a path that we are not happy to tread. Doing this repeatedly can bring us far away from what we really want, where we want to go and who we really are. Saying No helps to keep us clear, orientated, and living our life the way we really want to live it.


  1. It makes our Yes more real

When we’re willing and able to say No at any time, it makes our Yes mean Yes. Saying Yes to everything (because we find it too hard to say No) makes our Yes lose its meaning. This can often leave others guessing whether we really mean it, and we may find ourselves not even knowing whether we really mean it! And so everyone gets a bit lost. An authentic No gives us a healthy authentic Yes, which gives everyone a better idea of where they really stand.


  1. It makes us more real

Feeling and recognising our own No is part of knowing ourselves, and saying it to others is part of letting them know who we really are. If we don’t say No when we’re feeling it, it’s not the real us that others are meeting. It may be tempting to hold back our No to please others because we want to be liked and loved. But if we want to be loved for who we really are, and we want to enjoy being who we really are, we need to be and show who we really are! And our authentic No is part of that.


  1. It gives us self-confidence to live life more fully

Knowing we can say No at any time gives us the confidence to be open to exploring new experiences. Without having a healthy No to call upon when we need it, we are much less likely to feel safe enough to step forward into the unknown. Life can seem scary and overwhelming, whereas having a good healthy No as a travelling companion can make it a thrilling adventure!

To make really good friends your authentic No, start by committing fully to the friendship. Listen carefully to yourself and welcome your No when it arises within you. Make a list of the situations and relationships in which you find it difficult to say No and start practicing saying it. Begin with the situations you find least difficult, building up slowly to the more difficult ones. This way you get to stretch your comfort zone over time and learn as you go along. You may find you need to learn new communication skills, or ask for support from others.

Take time to reflect upon what not saying No is costing you, and appreciate what it gives you when you do say it. Having a good friendship with your authentic No will give you space to experience more freedom, confidence, deeper connection with yourself and others, fun, happiness, health and wellbeing. 

Nicola Williams