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  • Michelle Garcia

Understanding The Power of Saying No

There has been a lot showing up for me in the past month, and I had to take some time and listen to what was happening. Consider understanding the power of saying no.

I believe that every experience we have, every encounter with another person is meant to tell us something about who we are and what we’re doing in our lives. People enter our lives for several reasons, and sometimes it’s for us to learn a lesson. Every experience we have tells us whether we are on the right path, or whether we need to change our course of action. It’s up to us to listen and pay attention to the signs.

I was recently involved in a project working with young women who had faced adversity in their past. As time progressed, there were various situations I was not comfortable with. It could have been a great experience under the right circumstance, but something in my gut told me it wasn’t right, and I backed out of the project. I had to be true to myself and what my intuition was telling me; that this wasn’t what I should be involved in. It was a very tough decision to walk away from this project, and I didn’t make my choice without a lot of contemplation.

Several years ago, I think I would have made a different decision and stuck with the project. I believe it’s important for me to recognize that I’m a people pleaser, and in the past, I would not have wanted to disappoint those involved. Because of this, I’ve looked the other way in several situations in my life and not spoke up for others or myself for fear of disappointing someone.

Fortunately, I’ve learned a few things over the years about myself, and one of them being that I have to be true to me. No one else is going to take care of me and my future but me. I create my future and where it goes from the decisions and choices I make.

When I was making this decision and grappling with what I should do, I wrote on a piece of paper with two columns: Pros and Cons. I listed why this was a good idea for me to continue with this project and why it wasn’t. Overwhelmingly my Cons column was larger than the Pros. It was also good for me to see it in writing. I listened to myself about how I was feeling and set aside any fear of disappointing anyone.

I also found that when I’m struggling with something that is showing up for me, I need to get out for a long walk or a hike in nature. When was the last time you took a breath and said, “I need to go think.” We tend to go, go, go and there is constant noise coming in; the radio, television, or if we’re with other people at work and home.

A great lesson for oneself is finding that time to listen, to breathe, to take a break. I’m not talking about plopping in front of the television and binge watching Game of Thrones. But disconnecting from everything and everyone and saying, “I need to go figure this out. I need to listen and try to understand why these things are showing up in my life and what am I going to do about it.”

As a woman I’ve always tried to please everyone around me. Which meant I would say yes to things when I should have been saying no. Being afraid of disappointing people is a place that I understand very well.   It took me a long time to learn how to listen when things showed up in my life, take the time to step back and look at them, and ask myself, why is this happening and what am I going to do about it? I’m not going to be a victim and go along for a ride, so that means I have to speak up for myself and stay true to what matters to me and not be afraid to say “no.” This is the importance of understanding the power of saying no.

I hope in my willingness to end something that was difficult for me to do, you can take the time to evaluate the signs that show up, decide whether it’s right for you, and know you have the power to make a different decision. Your destiny is completely within your control when you begin understanding the power of saying no.

With Gratitude,


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