Healthy Linda

Saying ‘no’ hurts for a moment. Saying ‘yes’ can hurt for years.

Healthy Linda

Saying ‘no’ hurts for a moment. Saying ‘yes’ can hurt for years.

I’m curious, what does this mean to you?

This saying speaks to a period in my life when I still hadn’t worked out that sacrificing my own needs, wants and desires for the temporary feel good of pleasing others was a fast road to burnout.

Burnout took longer and looked different to others in my case. This was because I actively use my own selfcare and self development tools. However whilst slower, a great deal of collateral damage occurred along the way.

Here are just some of the ways my lack of self worth, intentionality and desire to people please by saying ‘yes’ took a toll.


It was hard to focus where I needed when needed because I was often exhausted or had too much else on my mind by the time I got to it.

Lack of happiness.

The constant interruption to the projects that gave me happiness meant lacking the energy or sense of intentionality and momentum that helped me create and deliver the work. I lost sight of what I wanted to contribute to the world. It was a self-perpetuating negative cycle.

Unable to refuel from my day to day life due to a lack of purpose and fulfilment meant feeling flat and ineffectual. My sense of efficacy floundered.


From believing I wasn’t making a difference in the areas I really wanted to. Choosing other people’s projects and expectations over my own in any given moment and then wondering why I got no satisfaction from the success I helped them deliver.

Resentment and frustration.

From feeling taken for granted when it was me who was actually lacking boundaries.

The costs to others was also slow but steady. Seeing me unhappy and distracted and experiencing my dissatisfaction and resentment made me pretty ordinary to be around.

Creating a distorted perception of who I was.

Colouring my interactions because I was shut off to others.

And then there was the shutdown from myself to avoid all these feelings.

Boundaries or a lack of them.

There was also the re-breaching of any shaky boundaries I tried to erect. I had taught others that my stuff was less important than theirs and that it was OK to place last minute and unrealistic demands on me.

It took a time of great uncertainty, fear and anxiety (much like what we are experiencing during Corona time) to straighten this out in my head.

I recognised that in trying to be all for everyone else I was an exhausted wisp of myself. I was unhappy and my life lacked purpose, spontaneity and fun. I was not living a life that was a representation of who I was let alone who I wanted to be.

What a waste?

Actually no.

On reflection and having taken many new steps forward in a much more fulfilling direction I now understand.  The journey I took was the one I had to take to reach something new and to recognise my own value.

There is no point in regret. What is valuable instead is to learn. Make amends to self in particular and to others if necessary. To shed and or re-educate others on the new rules of engagement with self.

Reshape your life. Reassert yourself. Re-establish your purpose. Say ‘NO’.

And be dedicated to your own happiness for it’s own sake, for your sake and ultimately to be able to contribute more.

When we are assertive and direct with our desires, including saying ‘no’ it can be uncomfortable. But if we don’t, by not being true to ourselves the trade off can be far more expensive than we ever imagined.


Dr Linda Wilson is a Mindflow Mentor, Author and Presenter. From neuroscience to energy psychology, habits change to emotional management – let’s have a chat about you, your team or your business. Are you looking to find your way through, around or over something? Are you in need of a course correction and need support. Make a time to #connect

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