There’s a ton of good advice out there reminding us that sometimes the best answer to give is No.

Turn down the invitation because you need a good night’s sleep.

End the relationship that feels like an energy drain 95% of the time.

Set boundaries with the relative who’s always hitting you up for a loan.

And it’s all good and sound advice.

But here’s the branch I’d like to add to that tree:

‘No’ is still an option – even when we’re talking to the people we admire most.

No’s tend to be easier to deliver when we’re talking to:

1) people we believe have our back unconditionally, like our family and close friends


2) people we think of as further down the food chain than us.

We can quickly say No when asked for spare change by the homeless guy on the street or easily ignore our friend’s FaceBook post inviting new members to join her book club. In those situations, saying No is often no big deal.

But when the person who’s doing the asking is someone we perceive as more wealthy, successful, enlightened, smart, sexy or well-connected than we are, it’s a whole other story.

We see their name in our inbox or their face standing behind us in line at the grocery store, and all the No juice we’ve built up drains away. And without even a moment’s pause, we volunteer endless amounts of our time, cancel our plans, and do pretty much anything that’s necessary to give them a Yes.

We’re so enamored by the glow of this person’s supposed superiority that we numb out to the soft voice whispering, “This doesn’t feel right.”

And if we do sense that soft voice warning us to back away, we’ll often rationalize the voice into submission by creating a long list of concrete, indisputable reasons why we should give this person a fast and enthusiastic YES.

This job will look amazing on my resume.

He’s the husband + father of everyone’s dreams, right?

If I do this, I’ll be in her good books and she’ll remember me when she’s writing her will.

If No is what you feel, it’s what you feel. Honor that. Hear that. Say that. @annikamartins
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And you’re not obligated to provide some lengthy explanation for why you’ve decided to say no, either. Sometimes, short + sweet does the job perfectly.

That is a truly generous offer. Thank you. It doesn’t feel right for me, though. I’m sure you’ll find the right person soon.


Your event sounds like a ton of fun but I need some down time with my family, so I’m going to pass.

Moving forward with anything other than genuine enthusiasm and positive intentions will come back to bite you. Hard.

So the next time your guru of choice tells you that the only way to achieve enlightenment is by investing in their pricey program, or the rich Mom on the street invites you over for a catty gossip session, don’t jump straight into Yes Land.

Take five seconds. Take an hour. What is that soft voice saying?

If the answer is No, the answer is No.

With love, humility and buckets of respect, it’s No.


Annika Martins is a spiritual curator, which is kinda like being a museum curator. Except instead of curating paintings, she curates spiritual practices. From prayer and eyes open meditation to surfing and self-touch (oh yah!), pack your curiosity and prepare to expand your definition of what’s high and holy.

See the Sacred. Your way. It’s all going down at

You can also find Annika on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Image courtesy of Adam Przewoski via