So how does one say "NO"

amidst the turmoil

and still be calm

in one's heart?

Let's practice.

A family member asks you to host a birthday party for another family member this coming weekend.  You are exhausted, and have no energy to put something like this together, yet you feel badly because you rarely host anything for your family due to your consistently full work schedule.


Do you:

  1. Say, "I'd love to!  What time should we tell everyone to arrive?!"
  2. Say, "Oh, I already scheduled something else that weekend - so sorry."
  3. Say, "You know, I would love to help out, but I am feeling exhausted and overwhelmed lately.  I simply don't have the energy to do something like this right now.  However, when I do have my energy back, I will be happy to create another family event.  Thanks so much for understanding."


Right, #3.  The first response is coming from guilt and "should."  The second response is not the truth.  Number three is you speaking from your heart, in a kind and loving way.  Remember, nobody can fault you for how you feel.


Let's try another one:


You are a very popular hairstylist with a private studio.  A regular client calls, insisting she have an appointment on your only day off, as she has an important engagement that night and it is the only time all week she can get to you. You really need to be home to rest and get some chores done as you have been working morning, noon, and night all week.


Do you:

  1. Accommodate her.
  2. Tell her you are sorry, but you are out of town that day.
  3. Tell her you would love to accommodate her, but have made a promise to yourself to keep your one day off each week sacred, and you do not make appointments for anyone on those days.  You say you will be happy to try to fit her in the day before, or can recommend another great stylist in the area if she prefers that option.


Right again, #3.  The first response is coming from either "should" or fear that you will lose her as a client if you don't accommodate her...and possibly the innate thing most women I know have about always wanting to help.  The second response is not the truth.  The third response is speaking your truth, saying "NO" in a nice way, and taking important time for you.  Even in a recession, coming from fear about keeping clients will not keep them.  Being a great hairstylist will.


Here's one more, and this is a tough one:


Your aging widowed father has Alzheimer's disease, is beginning to show signs of aggression from dementia, and is needing care around the clock in your childhood home.  You have a brother and a sister, but you are the only child living near him.  Since you are close by, your siblings expect you to take care of him, although they do offer to help pay the bills. You love your Dad, so you take on finding, juggling, and paying caregivers for him.  You also spend as much time as possible with him in the evenings, away from your husband and children.  You are exhausted, feeling a little resentful, but you feel you should do this for your Dad.


Do you:

  1. Keep doing this until he passes, which could be years.
  2. Decide to bring Dad and the cycle of caregivers home to your guest room so you don't have to travel back and forth so much.
  3. Have a conference call with your siblings, explain the situation and your utter exhaustion and constant concern, stress, and loss of time with your husband and children, and ask that the three of you create a game plan for Dad.  This may be to move him to a facility where his care is managed 24/7 and sell his home to pay for the expenses, (with help from them here, too), or for the three siblings to rotate responsibility for him in some fashion.  Explain calmly and kindly that you can no longer handle this alone and need their help.


You got it, #3 again! The first two could quite possibly kill you, or at the very least put a tremendous strain on your mind, body, spirit, and relationship with your husband and children.  You may find resistance from one or both siblings about the options you give them.  Look into your heart, and stand your ground.  Know that you are doing this not only for you and your family, but for your Dad as well. 


The Family Caregiver Alliance actually has a list of physical ailments that occur with frustration over caregiving for a loved one. Some of the common warning signs of frustration include:


  • shortness of breath
  • knot in the throat
  • stomach cramps
  • chest pains
  • headache
  • compulsive eating
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • increased smoking
  • lack of patience
  • desire to strike out


Saying "NO" and creating solutions is healthy for everyone involved.


Now get a sheet of paper and write down some situations in your life you would like to change.  Come up with possible ways to handle these situations, just as I did above.  Then give yourself a deep breath and feel into your heart which ones work for you.  Don't let your mind get in the way.  Your heart knows the answers.


Then GO for it!  Feel the weight lift from your shoulders, the knots loosen in your stomach, the smile returning to your face...  (next...)





Holistic Wellness Educator,

Author, Motivational Speaker,

Bach Flower™ Therapist,

Wellness Boutique Owner, Plant-Based

Nutrition Counselor,



Charity Founder

(Photo courtesy of Alexis Emm)







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