How To Say NO
So, let’s talk about saying no.
Honestly? It sucks.
It’s exhausting to continually have to opt out of things “everyone else” has no problem with. Piling into a hotel room with 3 other people to save money? Great! Driving back Monday morning and having a work call that afternoon? No problemo!
But nobody’s talking about how HARD it is to say no. The ‘no’ flag gets waved around as an emblem of empowerment, a not-so-subtle 🖕🏼 to anyone who dares to ask you for something.
The message is that your happiness matters more than anyone else’s—and anyone who feels guilt or uncertainty about saying no, is a sissy. (cough cough patriarchal bullshit cough cough)
Saying no isn’t enough—you have to say no *unapologetically*. You have to say no without feeling even a tiny bit bad about it.
I’m fed up with this low-level pressure to stop caring about how other people feel.
We’re made to feel silly for caring, like we’re “doing it wrong,” because if we were doing it “right,” then other people’s reactions wouldn’t get to us so much. We’re supposed to float through life on a hazy cloud of bliss and gratitude, never letting anyone’s ‘low-vibe’ energy pierce our bubble.
If you say no to something because you know you’ll end up hyperventilating on the bathroom floor, that’s absolutely the right call.
If someone in your life is disappointed about that and wishes you weren’t so sensitive, then that’s understandable too.
And if their feelings affect YOUR feelings, and then YOU feel guilty and also wish you weren’t so sensitive—
Well then, congratulations, you’re a human person.
Saying no sucks and it’s super hard. Letting people down also sucks, and if you’re an empathetic person, it won’t ever, ever feel good, even when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re doing the right thing.
1. Yes, we need to get more practiced at saying no…
2. But that doesn’t mean it won’t still suck, because it will.
Here are some templates to help make it a tiny bit easier.
Samantha Pollack writes creative copy (mostly emails) for feminist companies and/or thought leaders who are working to build a fairer, more connected culture. She’s also the founder of The Highly Sensitive Entrepreneur, a 6-week course that helps HSP business owners create healthier, more sustainable systems in their work.
She publishes frequent essays on feminism, privilege, pop culture, entrepreneurship, the creative process, and more on her website, cultofpersonality.co. She currently lives in Asheville, NC, and while she can *technically* work from anywhere, she prefers her adventures laptop-free.
Emails for cult thought leaders.
Want to learn how to craft emails that inspire action and engagement WITHOUT the “tried and true” (cough: patriarchal) norms we’ve all been taught?
I’m doing it, and I can show you how to do it, too.
(But sometimes, I also like to write about the books I’m reading, or the creative process, or the entrepreneurial experience, or why I hate Steve Jobs, or how I met my BFF. I’ll send you emails like that, too.)
*Just kidding. It’s only an email list.
Books. Cats. Rants. Drawrings.
(and every couple months or so, an unexplained absence 🤷🏻)