Why Saying No is Good For You

By Reniel


Last Updated: August 5, 2021

Saying “No” is hard. 

I know this, you know this, everyone knows this. What is more interesting is that everyone also knows that it sucks to say, “Yes” to something that you didn’t want to commit to. Yet, we all find ourselves in this awkward position. Unable to say “No”. Regretting saying, “Yes”.

This challenge often comes up because we downplay the benefits of saying “No” when we want to, whilst overestimating the benefits of saying “Yes”. Or more accurately, we fear the consequences of saying "No" more than its benefits. Yet in a backward way, it is the consequences of saying “No” that also serve as the benefits, and the benefits outweigh the consequences by far.           

For example, saying “No” would most likely cause the person asking for your help to leave you alone for a while (Until you have time for that). In other situations, it might even cause them to decide to never bother you about that issue anymore. This could be a colleague asking you to do their job for them, or a family member asking for a loan to do something which you aren’t sure about.     

All the same, the consequence is that that person may not want to speak to you concerning that matter anymore, but that too is the benefit. By clearly refusing to get involved, you keep yourself ready and free to accept the things that you are thrilled to be a part of. 


Two harsh truths of life to remember are:

  • You have limited resources – time, money, energy, attention, etc.
  • Life would move on with or without you

Once you keep these things in mind, you would realize that a lot of the pressure to give a “Yes” would be shed. This is part of setting boundaries. 


Are you unsure of how to start creating boundaries in your interpersonal relationships? Read this next: The Most Common Boundaries You Should Know and Set in Your Relationships


Look, seldom are people’s needs a life or death situation in which you are the only source of help they have. Most times, it is just someone trying to shed off their own responsibilities, get more for less, or serve some secondary whims.    

Even in situations where you are the only source of assistance they can get – for example, your kids, if you have any – saying “Yes” all the time is still very unhealthy for your sanity and toxic to their development. 

As a guardian, it is your duty to train them for the real world – and in the real world, you don’t always get what you “want”, and there is a limit to how much you can ask of or from someone. If you allow the kids to get everything they ask for, you risk turning them into entitled, self-absorbed, and potentially narcissistic brats.     

By actively choosing what to ignore – that is, by saying “No” to the less important things – you ultimately chose the things you want to commit to.

Considering the fact that the quality of our lives ultimately boils down to the choices we make, saying “No” becomes the single most effective means of optimizing those choices – hence, optimizing your life. You simply say “No,” until what is absolutely necessary and worthy of your precious time is remaining – then you say “Yes!”       

In fact, by actively choosing to say “No”, you end up training those around you to value your “Yeses” more. You teach them to curate their requests. You teach them to respect you. You teach them to be better people – to optimize their lives.


4 Benefits of Living a Life Where You Aren’t Afraid of Saying, “No”

1. You Become Happier: Only the activities that you genuinely enjoy are left on your schedule.

2. You Make More Money: Seriously, a lot of people are broke because they divide their attention amongst unproductive and unhelpful tasks. 

For example, they try beautifying their website whilst ignoring the functionality, or try to convince an uninterested stranger on the internet about the quality of their services whilst ignoring the pressing questions of the white-hot ready-to-buy client. Don’t be like most people.

3. You Make More Impact: Imagine that you are a farmer, but instead of focusing on weeding your property, you decided to help the kids nearby catch the butterflies. Do you think you would do much farming that day? 

A knife gets sharper and can cut through thicker objects if it can shed some of its skin through sharpening. If you want to make an impact in whatever field you are in, saying “No,” and remaining laser-focused on your own goals will help your results skyrocket.      

4. You Gain Respect: When people see that you value your time, money, and energy, they would naturally learn to respect you. They would cease trying to distract you with frivolities, and only come to you when it is needed.


Ultimately, by saying “No” often and intentionally, you get less of the things you don’t want, and more of the things you do want out of life.

The final harsh truth of the day is that a lot of people who struggle with saying “No”, are either having boundary issues, struggling with their self-esteem, or lack a sense of purpose. They are people-pleasing because they are afraid of how people might react.

Indeed, it is a Catch-22 situation: Where you feel bad if you say “No”, and horrible if you get stuck doing something you despise because you said “Yes”. The way out of the conundrum is oftentimes reminding yourself that saying “No” is good for you. This is what this post aimed to teach you. It is what it has taught.


Photo by Thirdman from Pexels


5 comments on “Why Saying No is Good For You”

  1. Great article - great timing as always - I literally just sent my regrets to a canoe trip - it was driving me nuts and adding so much stress to my life - now that I have graciously bowed out - I feel soooooo much better! Your articles are often very timely in my life - keep em comin!

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