When do we say YES and when do we say NO? Making choices can protect our self from unhappiness — or from happiness! Here are some quotes from writers about the values of saying yes or no. And you’ll notice some contradictions between the writers; these are offered as food for thought, not the final answer.

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When you say YES to others, make sure you are not saying NO to yourself.

— Paulo Coelho

The oldest, shortest words – ‘yes’ and ‘no’ – are those which requires the most thought.

— Pythagoras

Sometimes we receive the power to say yes to life. Then peace enters us and makes us whole.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is no meaningful yes unless the individual could also have said no.

— Rollo May

People that hold onto hate for so long do so because they want to avoid dealing with their pain. They falsely believe if they forgive they are letting their enemy believe they are a doormat. What they don’t understand is hatred can’t be isolated or turned off. It manifests in their health, choices and belief systems. Their values and religious beliefs make adjustments to justify their negative emotions. Not unlike malware infesting a hard drive, their spirit slowly becomes corrupted and they make choices that don’t make logical sense to others. Hatred left unaddressed will crash a person’s spirit. The only thing he or she can do is to reboot, by fixing him or herself, not others. This might require installing a firewall of boundaries or parental controls on their emotions. Regardless of the approach, we are all connected on this “network of life” and each of us is responsible for cleaning up our spiritual registry.

— Shannon L. Alder

NO is a complete sentence. It does not require an explanation to follow. You can truly answer someone’s request with a simple NO.

— Sharon E. Rainey

Let today mark a new beginning for you. Give yourself permission to say NO without feeling guilty, mean, or selfish. Anybody who gets upset and/or expects you to say YES all of the time clearly doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Always remember: You have a right to say NO without having to explain yourself. Be at peace with your decisions.

— Stephanie Lahart

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage pleasantly, smilingly, and non-apologetically – to say “no” to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger yes burning inside.

— Stephen Covey

No is a complete sentence and so often we forget that. When we don’t want to do something we can simply smile and say no. We don’t have to explain ourselves, we can just say “No”…. Love yourself enough to be able to say yes or no.

— Susan Gregg

If the person you’re talking with continues to press you for more or can’t seem to accept your answer, then you are being harassed. I know that sounds hard for people-pleasers to accept, but it’s true. No means no.

— Suzette R. Hinton

No is always a door-closing word; Yes is a door-opening word.

— Thomas Dreier

The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.

— Tony Blair

Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.

— W. Clement Stone

After the final no there comes a yes. And on that yes the future world depends.

— Wallace Stevens

Free speech carries with it some freedom to listen.

— Warren E. Burger
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