Saying Yes When You Want to Say No

New Orleans

How many times have you said yes to others when you really wanted to say no? I often have an internal dialogue about what I “should” be doing for others and for myself. I think this has been an internal dialogue for as long as I can remember and I know I am not alone in this. When it comes to making decisions, sometimes it’s easy to just say yes to things, opportunities, people, and experiences without fully thinking things through or thinking about your needs. Most times, I think this comes from a genuine desire to be helpful and sometimes, it can be out of a need to prove something to others or to ourselves.

I’ve been a fan of boundaries for a long time and the older I get, I value boundaries even more. That doesn’t mean that I never struggle with boundaries (trust me…I do!), however, over the years I have become a little more comfortable about navigating those internal dialogues. Last year, I read an incredible book by Nedra Tawwab, a licensed therapist and author of Set Boundaries, Fine Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself and it was essential for my own growth and development around setting boundaries. I highly recommend this book if you want to learn more about boundaries or need a little reminder. In Nedra’s book, you learn more about the importance of setting boundaries and the six types of boundaries:

  • physical boundaries
  • sexual boundaries
  • intellectual boundaries
  • emotional boundaries
  • material boundaries
  • time boundaries

According to Nedra, boundaries are “expectations and needs that help you feel safe and comfortable in your relationships. Expectations in relationships help you stay mentally and emotionally well. Learn when to say no and when to say yes is also an essential part of feeling comfortable when interacting with others.”

How would you define boundaries? Do you struggle with saying yes when you really should say no? Where do you need to set boundaries in your life today?

As you navigate boundary setting, be kind to yourself.


“the root of self-care is setting boundaries: it’s saying no to something in order to say yes to your own emotional, physical, and mental well-being”

[Nedra Glover Tawwab]

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