it's ok to say no

Saying no to things that are very obviously not right for us is generally easy for people. But what about saying no to something that could be a really good opportunity? Is it ok to say no to things that would be really good for us, or that would allow us to help someone else, but that isn’t in line with what we want for our life, or what we are happiest doing?

Here’s a good example:

I was watching one of Brandon Farris’ videos on YouTube one time, and someone asked him in a letter if he would come and do a talk at a fund-raising event to help them raise money. Very respectfully, he declined. He said, that’s not what I do, or what I enjoy doing, but I’m happy to donate to your cause and help in the ways that I can.

To some, this may have seemed rude, and like he wasn’t caring about other people, but really what he was doing was protecting his energy and following what he is meant to be doing. 

We all only have a certain amount of energy to give to the things we do each day. We can’t possibly do everything and be everywhere. If we try to do so then we’re going to end up exhausted, sick, burnt out, and unable to help anyone. So, we have to pick out those things that line up with the goals we have set for our lives, do those things, and say no to everything else.

The way that we do this is by 1) Finding what it is that we enjoy doing, and what we can do to best help others in our own way, and 2) setting boundaries around those things.

As another example, let’s say someone decides that they want to be a doctor. In going through school, and life in general, this person decides that they don’t want to work in a medical facility, they want to set up a practice online so that they can practice from anywhere in the world. This will allow them to fulfill their dream of helping people, but also their desire to travel.

After a few months or so of getting everything set up, they are offered a job at a prestigious hospital, that would pay a large salary (much larger than what they are currently making).

Can they say no to this opportunity?

I know, it really depends on the situation, and everyone is different. But what I’m asking is: if they decide that they want to keep working on their online practice, and traveling, and they are ok with making less money, CAN they say no? Or would it be completely irresponsible?

I’m posing this as a question, because I really want you to think about this. I want you to pay attention to what comes up for you.

Saying no is not easy for a lot of people in general, but when it comes to the possibility of saying no to what most people would consider a great opportunity, it doesn’t even seem like it’s something that would be allowed in a lot of people’s minds.

Many people don’t realize that it’s ok to say no to an opportunity simply because isn’t right for them.

They feel like they have to have a good excuse. They feel like they have to jump on every opportunity offered to them, or they are being ungrateful, mean, lazy, irresponsible, or immature.

But the reality is, just because it’s a good opportunity, doesn’t mean that it’s a good opportunity for you.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Just because it’s a good opportunity, doesn’t mean that it’s a good opportunity for you.

If you have your direction in life, and you’re trusting your intuition to lead you along the way, then you should make decisions about what to do, and what not to do, based on those goals. Whether you say yes to something, or say no, should depend on what is right for you, what is right for your path, and not what anyone else thinks you should be doing.

With every opportunity that you are given, ask yourself: “is this getting me closer to where I want to be in life?”. If it’s not, then you have the option to say no and wait for something that does.

Now, don’t misunderstand me here.

I’m not saying don’t be flexible, don’t be open to new ideas, and don’t look for better in life. This is another place that some people get tripped up. They get so attached to one outcome, and they miss out on something that could be great for them because they are unwilling to bend.

Just because that person decided to be a doctor, and practice online, doesn’t mean that his dream can’t change. In fact, our life’s purpose shifts over time. Most times it shifts more than once. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be doing something similar, it just means that you might not do the exact same thing for your entire life.

In our doctor example, he may find that, while he’s been traveling, he’s being called to do more volunteer work. So, he may bring someone else in to help him run his practice, so that he can spend more time outside of work, helping others. Or he may decide midstream that he wants to put down roots somewhere and open a practice. While he’s visiting a certain city, he finds a building for sale, and decides to open his practice there.

Always be open to what the universe may be bringing you and telling you. In asking the question, “is this getting me closer to where I want to be in life”, where you want to be can, and will, shift throughout your life.

The key to all of this is knowing yourself, and your life’s purpose. It’s following your intuition about decisions that are placed in front of you.

The other side to this coin is that you have to learn to set boundaries.

Setting boundaries is not something that comes easily to a lot of us. But it’s a necessary element to creating your happiest life. It helps us draw that line between what we’ll say yes to, and what we’ll say no to.

The hard thing about boundaries is not really setting them, it’s holding the line when other people test them. And trust me, they will test them every chance they get.

The first few times that you say no to something, especially if you’re the one who always says yes, people aren’t going to like it. They will likely say that you’re being selfish, that you don’t care about them, or some other such craziness. You may even hear the words, “You’ve changed”.

Hold strong though, and remember, this is not a true reflection of you. This is a reflection of them. They are having to adjust, and they don’t like it.

When I’ve had to set boundaries with people, I’ve gotten all kinds of backlash over it. People act like I hate them, like there’s something wrong with me, and like I’m the most selfish, uncaring person in the world. It’s not always easy to hear someone you care about say things like this to you. I’d like to say that people eventually get used to these boundaries, and they become ok with them. Most people do. But definitely prepare yourself for those who won’t ever understand.

Again, this is not a reflection of you. Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person, mean, uncaring, or lazy. Some people will see it that way, but that is on them. If you are saying no to something because it doesn’t fit with what is best for you, best for your family, best for your happiness, and best for your energy levels, then you don’t have anything to worry about.

Learn to trust your intuition, follow it, and don’t worry about what other’s think.  

Another trap that a lot of people fall into when they are trying to decide whether to say yes or no to an opportunity, is making the decision based on fear.

Jim Carrey once said, “we make decisions based on fear and call it practicality”.

We say things like, “Well, it would be nice to have all of that extra money. Then, with the extra money, I can go back and pursue my dream”. We think we’re being smart about things, but really, we’re reacting out of fear rather than out of our own best interests.

This can happen for several reasons:

1) We see the world as a place of lack.

What do I mean by this exactly? Seeing lack means that we see the world as not having enough to go around, as not having enough for everyone. We think that there are only a finite number of things out there (money, jobs, partners, etc.) and we’re afraid that if we turn this opportunity down then we may not be offered another one. When we learn that the universe is boundless, AND that just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not out there, we are much more equipped to overcoming this fear.

2) We let our fear of how we’ll be viewed by others influence our decision. We’re worried about what our friends, family, or other people may say about us. Or what people will think of us if we don’t take an opportunity that they may love to have. “I can’t believe you didn’t take that job; I would love to have an offer like that.” “You should be thankful to get a job offer like that, there are plenty of people out there who never do.” We’re more worried about disappointing them, than we are about our own happiness.

This is where setting boundaries will be helpful. It won’t stop people from reacting this way, or saying these things, but it will give you the ability to make the decision based on what you want, and not what someone else wants for you. Even if someone wants what is best for you, their version of the best may not mesh with yours.  

3) The age-old FOMO pops up. The fear of missing out, or of something better coming along. We’re too afraid to commit because we’re afraid we’ll commit to the wrong thing and be disappointed. This comes about because we view ourselves as unable to move after we make a decision. If we take a job, and then a better one comes along, we feel like we couldn’t move. Most of us hate change so much that it becomes a deep seeded fear. We want to make the right decision the first time because we’re scared that the change to something else might unravel us. But the fear of making the wrong decision keeps us from making a decision at all. It’s a vicious cycle.  

Don’t let fear guide your decisions. Ask yourself that same question above: “is this getting me closer to where I want to be in life?”, and concentrate on your answer. Be sure to pay close attention to how you feel when you’re making your decision as well. Most of the time, even if we’re ignoring our intuition, our bodies will tell us the right decision.

This is especially true if you come upon a step that your inner self is telling you to make, and this step makes no sense whatsoever at the time.

I’ve had this happen several times, but the biggest was when I was being guided to quit a job I had. Doing so made no sense. It was an easy job, I made good money, and my bosses were super easy going. But I kept hearing that little voice in my head, telling me that I needed to quit. I asked why, I tried to see my next steps, and nothing would come up. Finally, I made the decision to leave. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I saw the blessings start to come from not being there. I also began to see the next steps that I was meant to take. Steps that I wouldn’t have been able to take if I had still been working at that job.  

So sometimes, even if it doesn’t make logical sense, if your intuition is telling you to make a move or make a change, honor that voice. You may not be able to see the benefit right away, but rest assured, the universe can.

No matter what comes along, take the time to go within and make sure that what you’re doing is in line with what you want for your life.

Be careful not to let fears and other people derail you from finding your happiest life.

Even if it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime, remember, just because it’s a good opportunity, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Ask yourself, “is this getting me closer to where I want to be in life”. If it’s not, it’s ok to say no.