“No,” is a Complete Sentence!

“No,” is a Complete Sentence

I read these words a few years ago. I do not remember what I was reading, but it struck a deep knowing within the part of me that listens. Deeply listens.

woman looking at sunset

Why? Because I was a YES person for decades and my health ultimately suffered. I said yes when in pain, exhausted, and overwhelmed. And I usually had a smile/grimace pasted on my face.

Do you say yes to everything, even when your body needs you to say no?

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS said, “It’s just two letters, and yet saying no can feel really hard — even complicated. For many of us, saying no doesn’t just feel awkward. It feels wrong.” Check out her thoughts on How and When To Say No.

How do you even begin to say NO instead of yes?

Try this exercise when learning how to say, ‘NO.”

Imagine a recent situation where you said, “Yes.” AND you needed to say, “NO.” Now, factor in that you are overworked, in persistent pain, and you need to rest.

  • Take a deep breath in and blow it out.
  • Drop your shoulders
  • Pull up the situation in your mind and remember how you felt at the moment of yes. Stay with the feeling and notice where you feel the false yes in your body.
  • Take a deep breath in and blow the memory of yes away.
  • Pull up the same situation in your mind, and this time say NO! Notice how that feels in your body. Good? Relaxed? Lighter? Fearful?

When I do this practice, I watch NO hang in the air between the questioner and me. I witness the tension of the unspoken, “What do you mean NO?” I work hard at not filling the space with all my explanations. I put NO into the airwaves and remain silent.

live well with chronic pain

asphalt blue sky clouds countryside

To live well with chronic pain demands attention to your energy stores. I think back to how exhausting it was to explain why I could not do something. Now I just say NO.

Practice the art of NO. Let it float between you and the one who asked. Feel the space, the tension, the questioning and let it be. Notice why you want to fill the space with more than a NO.

Let me know how you do, what you notice and if you need more ideas to hold your ground.

It is most freeing.


Gail Sinclair, MHt, CNC is a hypnotherapist who helps those living with chronic pain go from discomfort to thriving by using hypnosis, pain management tools and resources.

She is a Master Hypnotherapist, Nutritional Consultant, and a Reiki Master Teacher. She has over 20 years in healing work and is an international award-winning speaker.

Gail lives in Portland, OR with her delightful husband, son, and cat. She can be found cooking, knitting, writing, and figuring out new ways to thrive with Trigeminal, and Occipital Neuralgia.

You can reach her at gailthriveswithchronicpain@gmail.com.

2 Comments on ““No,” is a Complete Sentence!

  1. I wouldn’t agree more Gail – sometimes NO has to be said. It’s important for us to have a balance and not push ourselves beyond what we can handle – or our bodies end up paying for it later!
    Tasha M

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