Too often we will say 'yes' to a friend or a colleague even though we do not have the time, capacity, or desire to do so. We get the same amount of hours each day to fill with work, relationships and general life admin, but how much of this time is spent fulfilling our own needs and goals? According to Dr Demartini, putting yourself first is not a bad thing; you should not feel ashamed to say 'thank you but no thank you'. It seems Samantha Jones had it right when she said, "I love you, but I love me more."

What is the power in saying 'no'?

Demartini explains that "every human being has a set of priorities and values that they live their life by; things that they think are most important to least important." Whatever these values may be, the highest value is the thing that is most important, meaningful and inspiring to you. When you say 'no' you free yourself to focus on your highest priority.

"Everything grows when they're living by highest priority," says Demartini. "You're in the driver's seat instead of everyone else running your life."

Why do we find it so difficult to say 'no'?

One of the most common reasons we fear saying 'no' is that we worry what the other person or party will think or feel. We fear that other people's opinions of us are more important than getting what is actually important to us done.

Why saying 'yes' can be damaging.

"If you allow other people to project their highest priorities onto you, you could dilute and devalue yourself," says Demartini. In saying yes half-heartedly when we desire to say no, we are devaluing ourselves and our own beliefs. By saying yes to others, we are feeding their own success while simultaneously weakening the value of our own goals. "If we live in the shadows of others, and not on the shoulders of giants, we won't live our lives to the fullest."

How to say 'no'.

Saying no is all about assessing the circumstance and developing an open communication where both parties (including you!) win. A good way to approach a no response is to be honest by saying: "I wouldn't be able to give it my all and I think you deserve my all." Mostly, understanding that there should be no guilt in saying no; "thank you, but no thank you" is a perfectly polite response.

So should we go around saying 'no' to anything and everything? Absolutely not. A yes/no response should be just as selfless as it is selfish. Simply put, saying 'no' is an assessment of priorities and values at any given moment. With this in mind, I just had an invite, to my cousins' partners thirtieth arrive in my inbox. Normally I would feel an overwhelming sense of obligation to attend so as not to be shunned from the family, but the Bachelorette premiere falls on the same night. It seems my priorities fall elsewhere... Doctors' orders. 

Dr John Demartini, is an American researcher, best selling author, international educator and public speaker in human behaviour.

Why saying ‘no’ is the new ‘yes’