The Compassionate “No”

As parents, we are programmed to say “Yes.” If one of our family members or a friend really needs help, I can get behind that. It’s the “Yes” that comes from a martyr habit or the need to control a situation, rather than a real desire to help, that disturbs me. These are the BS answers that leave us feeling drained. This is the “Yes” that could, and should, be a compassionate “No,” if we believed in the value of our time. Saying “Yes” to something that feels like an obligation is actually saying “No” to something that is infinitely more valuable—time for yourself.

If you take all items off your to-do list that you make out of habit, what you’re left with is choice. You may think that you HAVE to do a bunch of stuff, but it’s your time, nobody else’s. I can hear your eyes rolling at me, and that’s understandable. We are in the habit of making endless excuses/reasons for why someone else’s needs are more important than our own. I understand the habit; I just don’t do it that way anymore.

So, how do you learn the “Compassionate No?”

It’s simple, not easy, but simple. If someone calls you for a gift of your money or time that you don’t choose to give, the answer is: “I’m sorry that doesn’t fit into my schedule/ budget /family plan right now, but thanks so much for thinking of me.” The “Compassionate No” may not be easy, but it’s a helluva lot better than a resentful “Yes” that makes both parties feel a little dirty.

It will take practice, so start today. Where can we use the “Compassionate No” in order to say “Yes” to something more meaningful that makes us feel powerful? Sit down with your to-do list and start chopping, people! For a TO-DO list with a twist click below to download my Energy Worthy Worksheet.

If you need any help with this, email me at, or just bend my ear at the front desk.

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