art of saying no blog post - Prioritize Yourself, Be Bold.

The Art of Saying No

The bold choice:  Say No to Them, and Yes to You

I’m a firm believer of living a bold, loud, authentic life, of making a practice of being unapologetically you. Voicing your opinions, speaking your truth, showing the world what you stand for. 

There are many different ways to go about living this philosophy, some are extremely difficult and require years of dedicated work, and some are as easy as wearing your favorite band t-shirt and big bold necklace.   

Circle Necklace on Model Madera Design Studio

Being bold is a lifelong journey. It’s a constant learning and growing experience. I’ve definitely gotten it wrong so many times, but I pick myself up and keep going. To be perfectly honest with you, it hasn’t always been easy.  

I’m naturally a cup-half-empty type of person trying to squeeze herself into a different cup so it seems more full. Negative thoughts about myself, my actions, my options, my choices or lack thereof (to name a few) have always been a nagging issue for me. 

They say fake it till you make it, and I think that’s what I did. I used to fake being happier and more confident and bold for others. I didn’t like people seeing those negative thoughts from my mind out there in the world. I didn’t enjoy being the downer all the time. 

So, I started practicing more positive thoughts, trying to convince myself I felt them. When those imposter syndrome thoughts and self doubts were screaming in my head, I silenced them with positive ideas.  

Ya know what - eventually it began to work. The hard news is that It took years, but by defying the negative voice in my head over and over, I slowly changed those thoughts into neutral thoughts, then eventually into positive ones. 

You may be asking yourself, what the hell does this have to do with saying no? I’m getting to that I promise. 

Life (at least my life) is set up to constantly pull me in multiple directions, and it can be hard to say no, to myself at times and to others at times. 

Don't be pulled in different directions, prioritize your needs - blog post Madera Design Studio


For me, saying no has been a long hard road to hoe. I am sure it stems from those old negative thoughts that still exist within me. I am, deep down, still a bit fearful of letting myself or others down. But here's the thing: setting boundaries is actually one of the most powerful tools we have for improving our well-being and achieving our goals. When we say no we're prioritizing ourselves and our needs. And that's not selfish - it's empowering. 

I am by no means an authority on the subject, nor a therapist, but having lived it, I feel that I have some sage advice to provide on the topic. 

Here are some tips for mastering the art of saying no

Prioritize YOUR values and needs

Say No to Them and Yes To you - Madera Design Studio Blog


You’re probably thinking, yeah great idea. Let me just get all of my needs and wants aligned with what everyone else needs and wants from me - no prob. I know it’s a tall order but it’s worth the work. YOU should be your first priority.

Have you ever been lying in bed about to fall asleep when the best ideas start to flow? Ideas are coming to you about every facet of your life and you’re too tired to drag yourself out of bed to write it all down, you think I’ll totally remember all of this tomorrow. 

This happens to me all the time, but guess what - when I sit down to download all of those thoughts the next day it’s utter silence. It’s like pulling teeth for me to get my mind to focus on a single topic - forget writer's block, it's more like thinker’s block. 

It takes so much energy and focus to get to know ourselves but it’s so necessary. That’s why they call it work I guess. This is all part of working on ourselves. Getting to the root of our values and priorities.  Doesn’t it seem like we should just already know ourselves? In reality that’s not the case - at least not for me. I feel like I’m working everyday to get a deeper understanding of why things hit a certain way with me. Why some things really bother me and some things roll right off of my back. 

This work to know ourselves helps bring into sharper focus what is important to us and when you know what's truly important to you, it becomes easier to recognize when something isn't worth your time and energy. It makes saying no something positive. You are reclaiming what you want and need. 

Don't be afraid of disappointing others

Don't worry about disppointing others, Madera Design Studio Blog


Again, sounds so easy right? Ha ha. I think deep down a lot of people have the fear of disappointing others. I think it’s driven into us at an early age. We want to please our parents, then our teachers, then our friends, then our lovers. Always putting the happiness and comfort of others above our own - I blame society. But that's a post for another day. 

 At the end of the day when we’re left with our thoughts, when we run through our day, our week, our year, our lives - that voice in our heads is the one we need to satisfy. We need to strive to stop disappointing ourselves in order to live our true authentic lives. 

You know what - you will wind up disappointing others because a lot of the time everyone cannot get what they want out of a situation, the situation just isn’t set up for that. This is when it’s time to be bold - to be you - to stand up for yourself, to put yourself first.

While it may feel uncomfortable at first, it's important to prioritize your own well-being over the expectations of others. I truly believe that in the long run, if you do what’s right for yourself you will have more to give to others. 

Don't over-explain or over-apologize 

Don't apologize for what you want, be bold and prioritze yourself, Madera Design Studio Blog


Why are we always saying sorry? I may be rocking the boat here, but I know a lot more women who over-explain and over-apologize than men. I could list many examples but this article is already a bit long-winded :) I am not apologizing for that, just being respectful of your time. 

I think it’s a gut reaction to apologize when our actions disappoint or hurt someone else, or even when they compete with what someone else wants.  Most of the time we’re just living our lives, making our choices. I don’t know too many people who intentionally offend or hurt others, it just happens.  Here again I believe apologizing has been taught to us by society. 

In English, we only have a few words that can be used in lieu of I’m sorry. I feel we need to build those words into our vocabulary. I actually wish we had more options to choose from depending on what our intent and outcome of a situation is. Alas, we’ll work with what we have. 

Saying I'm sorry implies fault. I’m sorry I can't / won't / don't want to ( insert anything here ). Sorry puts blame on ourselves as if our wishes are wrong or bad. What we really mean is it doesn't serve me to do what you are asking.

In our 'polite' society saying that would be seen as super selfish, when it's not. Why should we do things we don't want to do to please others? It makes no sense.  Yet, I still find myself doing it from time to time. Sometimes it's easier to just say yes, than to deal with the repercussions of saying what we want to say, which is No. 

Don’t say you’re sorry - you aren't, simply state your choice and stick to it, that is enough.

This is a starting point to reclaiming your time and space. 



If you found this article insightful or annoying, hit me up, let's chat :) Looking to bring more content like this out of my brain and into the world so stay tuned if it interests you. 

Boldly yours - Stacey

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