How to Say No Without the Guilt Feeling


Saying “No” can be difficult. Most of us had probably been saying “Yes” to things even if we don’t really want to. And while it came with its perks, they were only temporary as it ended up burning us out one too many times. It could be toxic to always say yes and how healthy it is to say no when necessary.

Here are many health benefits to saying no, but why should you say no and how do you handle the backlash you get from people after you say it? Here’s the raw truth about saying no and how to handle the backlash you may get as a response.

Why you should say no

Always saying yes to requests, favors and responsibilities will burn you out, and though our society may put that on a pedestal, it’s never a good thing and a very draining feeling. When you say yes to everything, you won’t be able to invest your energy into people and things that really matter.

Saying no to extraneous social activities and favors meant saying yes to putting your time and energy into your relationships, your job and yourself. Saying no is more for yourself than for others; it’s a way to take care of yourself emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.

You may feel guilty at first, but your body will thank you for it later. Saying no is necessary when you already have a pile of responsibilities and things to do, and when you’re worn out. If it’s something that doesn’t require your skills, hand it off to someone else that may have fewer things on their plate.


Saying no has long-term benefits to your health, but that doesn’t mean you should say it all the time. If you have a lot of things you are asked to do or need to do, it’s gonna be hard to weed out and pick the ones you say yes to and ones you say no to. So we’ll try to make it as simple for you as possible.

If it’s necessary, say yes. If it’s extra responsibilities or things that are minor, say no. For example, we’ve said yes to important social events like birthday dinners, weddings, funerals and big milestone celebrations. But we’ve also said no to social events like regular hangouts with people we see weekly in a different setting.

By turning down invites to have dinner with friends we see every week elsewhere, we were able to yes to investing in recharging and focusing on ourselves, Since we’ve started doing that, we’ve been very content and we haven’t burnt out as much as we used to.

How to handle backlash

It’s never easy to have to receive and take the criticism and insensitive comments that our loved ones make about our decisions. But there’s a right and a wrong way to handle the backlash from them, because depending on how you deal with their criticism, the outcome will be very different.

The worst way to handle backlash is to return the favor because all it does is to make the issue much bigger than it should be. Don’t condemn them for always coming to you for favors or for not respecting your decision to say no. That’s a surefire way to damage the relationship you have with that person.

The best and most effective way to handle it is to be empathetic and to redirect them to other people who can help them accomplish what they need to get done. That way, the conversation benefits both of you and one that has produced results instead of insults. Another thing you can do is to seek help from a therapist if you need to talk it out.

How to deal with relapse

If you find that you’ve relapsed into saying yes a lot more than you should be, take a deep breath and cut yourself some slack. We’re human and there will be times or seasons when we’ll forget how to say no or find ourselves in circumstances where we have to say yes. In those times, curb out short periods of time to breathe and do something that will refresh you.

When you’re trying to get into the habit of saying no, it’s gonna be hard and it’s gonna take some getting used to. But when you relapse into saying yes a lot more than necessary, remember that you can always stop, take a step back and reconsider doing certain things if you find that it’s not absolutely necessary or if it’s detrimental to your health.

Saying no is a hard thing to do and not everyone will understand or respect your decision but it is a necessity to your health. In saying no to extraneous activities and favors, you’re saying yes to putting your best effort and foot forward in relationships, things, and events that matter the most.

Vance Madrid

Freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, social media manager, events coordinator, scriptwriter, film buff, wanderlust and certified foodie. Zealous for a keyboard and new experiences, I wish to live and learn through my writing.