Alzati-Leadership Coaching by Susan Ann Darley


It’s not always easy to give yourself permission to say “no.” The deep-rooted feeling of obligation can make you feel chained to others and filled with frustration.  It’s not the “doing” that will harm you – it’s the negative feelings that you carry that will.


The word “obligation” is defined as: a binding agreement, a duty, a burdensome task, a demand, just to name a few.  People are often raised to believe that the right thing to do is to always help someone – “it’s your moral obligation.”  However, we’re rarely taught how to discern what is truly helpful or when to say yes and when to say no. 


As you develop the skill of turning within and listening to your internal guidance, your ability to discern will grow.  With that it will become easier to say “no.”  And you will begin to understand your motives behind the habitual and reactive “yes.”


Ask yourself:

1)  Are you saying yes in order to be liked or a part of the group?

2)  Are you doing it because everyone else is?

3)  Are you doing it because you were programmed many years ago to be a nice person?


If you answered yes to any of the above questions then it’s time to break free of the old pattern. To continue it will disturb your well-being and peace of mind. If you continue to repress your feelings and needs for the sake of others you will be doing it at the expense of harming yourself.  Not wise.


Now do this exercise…


Every single day for the next week commit to slowing your response when asked to do something.

  • If possible, say “let me get back to you.”  Take time to think it through by addressing how you feel about it.
  •  Ask yourself the three questions above before saying yes.
  •  If you choose to say no, how does that feel?


With practice you will begin to move out from under the pressure to always say yes. Best of all, you will begin to enjoy a personal freedom from guilt and resentment. You will no longer be caught in the mindset that keeps you obligated to say yes to everything and everyone.


 To drop the need to always say “yes” is not selfish. It’s self-care and that’s where our compassion and caring for others begins.  


“Drop the word obligation from your vocabulary
and you will be free of resentment.” ~Author Unknown

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