How the power of “no” has helped to increase my happiness

Reintroducing Dana, a firm believer in the power of “no.” Photo: Mama Photog

I’ve always been the “team player.” The dependable, responsible one. The person who often puts the needs of others before her very own. But this year, especially as a new mother and the parent who bears most of the responsibility taking care of a child, I’ve sabotage my happiness (and well-being) by being the “yes” woman who always gets shit done.

Well, I’m tired. And it wasn’t until my son hit the toddler “no” phase that I began to understand how simply saying “no” can make me happier and probably healthier.

Have your ever stood up against a noncompliant 1-year-old who isn’t interested in putting on their coat or shoes, picking up their cup or changing their diaper before being breastfed? If not, let me tell you that this tiny human won’t just budge for anyone or anything… and that’s not entirely a bad thing.

Watching my sonshine voice his feelings has been an incredibly eye-opening journey. While I do my best to give him the space to experience his full range of emotions, it isn’t always easy when we are both so determined. But his persistent spirit has motivated me to embrace the power of “no” in all aspects of my life. And for that I am grateful.

So I’ve learned to say no when…

  • Work projects surface that I can’t add to my load and still give 200 percent to execute.
  • Friends and family invite me to events and outings that I’m too exhausted to enjoy.
  • Collaborative opportunities are proposed that aren’t mutually beneficial or profitable.
  • I want to resist the urge to step in when my partner can do things in his own way (even if it’s not how I’d do it).

Some may now say “Dana’s head is too far up in the clouds,” or “She has an air about her!” and I’ve even been called selfish by an individual I once held the utmost respect and admiration for professionally. However, I can’t afford to sacrifice my happiness at the expense of not exercising the power of “no.”

Hey Beauties: When was the last time you said “no” in order to say “yes” to yourself? Let’s talk about it! Leave a comment below.



  1. December 30, 2019 / 3:39 pm

    Hello, I used to say yes to things that did not bring me joy when it came to my family (loaning money, hosting functions). This past year I stopped doing that. I not only said no, but said so without explanation, and when people ask me about it, I simply respond with “that doesn’t make me happy”. It has been freeing.
    – Lynn (@third.court)

    • Dana
      January 3, 2020 / 2:55 pm

      Isn’t it freeing? Thank you so much for sharing this lesson, Lynn!

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