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Learning to say “No” Quotes Even When It’s Not Easy

This is an issue that is of particular interest to me, as it is an issue that I struggled with for years myself.

The ability to say “no” comes easier to some, but feels virtually impossible to others.

Many people are very comfortable with saying “no” when their plate is too full, or they simply do not want to do something.

Other people find it almost unbearable to say no, no matter how busy they are, and how much they do not want to do a task.

Hopefully, these quotes will illuminate why it is easy for some, virtually impossible for others, but important for all nonetheless.

Quotes about learning to say “no”

1. “There are often many things we feel we should so that, in fact we don’t really have to do. Getting to the point where we can tell the difference is a major milestone in the simplification process.” – Elaine St. James

Say No Quotes to teach you how to choose

2. “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

Say No Quotes about new beginnings

3. “Say no to everything, so you can say yes to the one thing.” – Richie Norton

Say No Quotes about choosing the right thing

4. “It takes heart to say no when our heart and brains and guts and most important, pride are yearning to say yes, Practice.” – Cole Harmonson

Say No Quotes about pride

5. “You have to learn to say no without feeling guilty, setting boundaries is healthy. You need to learn to respect and take care of yourself.” – Unknown

Say No Quotes about setting boundaries

6. “Learn the art of saying no. Don’t lie. Don’t make excuses, don’t over-explain yourself. Just simply decline.” – Unknown

Say No Quotes about declining

7. “It is simple to say no when your priorities are in order.”- Unknown

Say No Quotes about priorities


If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of priority quotes that will help you clarify what’s important to you in your life.

8. “It’s only by saying NO that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” Steve Jobs

Say No Quotes about important things

9. “Don’t say MAYBE if you want to say NO.” – Unknown

Say No Quotes about not saying maybe

10. Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to the things and people that stress you out.” – Thema Davis

Say No Quotes about happiness

11. “I refuse to please others at the expense of my emotional well-being. Even if it means saying “no” to people who are used to hearing “yes.”” – Unknown

Say No Quotes about pleasing others

12. “No is a complete sentence. It does not require justification or explanation.” – Unknown

Say No Quotes about justification

13. He who trim himself to suit everyone else will soon whittle himself away.” – Unknown

Say No Quotes to make you more wise

14. “Saying NO means you know your limits.” – Unknown

Say No Quotes about setting limits

15. “Say NO out of strength instead of YES out of weakness.” – Unknown

Say No Quotes about strengths and weeknesses

16. “Sometimes you have to forget what you feel, and remember what you deserve.” – Unknown

Say No Quotes to remind you what you deserve

17. “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

Say No Quotes about highest priorities

18. “Not every opportunity it meant to be my assignment.” – Lysa Terkeurst

Say No Quotes about opportunities

19. “When you say YES to others, make sure you are not saying NO to yourself.” –Paulo Coelho

Say No Quotes about personal priorities

20. “Simplify: say no to the good so you can say yes to the best.– Unknown

Say No Quotes about choosing what is best

More quotes about saying no

21. “Silence isn’t always agreement. Sometimes people no longer argue because they no longer care.” – Joyce Rachelle

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Say No Quotes about silence

22. “Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” – Anna Taylor

Say No Quotes about boundaries

23. “Take no as an encouragement to redouble his efforts, so it was easier to say yes right away.” – Stieg Larsson

Say No Quotes about Acceptance

24. “Real freedom is saying ‘no’ without giving a reason.” – Amit Kalantri

Say No Quotes about explanation

25. “Tone is the hardest part of saying no.” – Jonathan Price

Say No Quotes about the tone

26. “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

Say No Quotes about giving an answer

27. “When you say no to the wrong people, it opens up the space for the right people to come in.” – Joe Calloway

Say No Quotes about the wrong people

28. “When I claim more than what I can handle, I limit the opportunities for another person in my community.” – Jeff Shinabarger

Say No Quotes about claiming more than you can handle

29. “When others are not okay with your NO’s, they should not be allowed around for the YES’s either.” – Christine E. Szymanski

30. “You don’t have to stay committed to something just because you’re good at it.” – Brittany Burgunder

Say No Quotes about commitment

Short Say No Quotes To Help You Walk Away When You Should

31. “Focusing is about saying no.” — Steve Jobs
32. “Sometimes no is the kindest word.” — Vironika Tugaleva
33. “Saying no can be the ultimate self-care.” — Claudia Black
34. “You can say no if that is more truthful than a resentful yes.” — Judith Lasater
35. “You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.” — Lori Deschene
36. “It takes true courage and real humility to say no.” — Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
37. “Saying no to something is actually much more powerful than saying yes.” — Tom Hanks
38. “Freedom comes when you learn to let go, creation comes when you learn to say no.” – Madonna
39. “If you must say yes, say it with an open heart. If you must say no, say it without fear.” — Paulo Coelho
40. “Saying no does not always show a lack of generosity and that saying yes is not always a virtue.” – Paulo Coelho

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Say No Quotes To Make You Learn When To Say No

41. “One key to successful relationships is learning to say no without guilt, so that you can say yes without resentment.” ― Bill Crawford
42. “Learn to say no in situations where saying no can be difficult, where it could mean getting fired. Say no anyway, because it could lead you to greater opportunities.” ― Samuel Dash
43. “Just saying yes because you can’t bear the short-term pain of saying no is not going to help you do the work.” ― Seth Godin
44. “As you get older, you become more comfortable in your skin and comfortable in saying no to things…I’ve also learned that saying no is just as valuable as saying yes.” ― Meghan Markle
45. “Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” ― Josh Billings
46. “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” ― Warren Buffett
47. “Until you learn how to confidently say no to so many things, you shall always say yes to so many things.” ― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
48. “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
49. “Part of the skill of saying no is to shut up afterward and not babble on, offering material for an argument.” ― Judith Martin
50. “Serenity comes from the ability to say yes to existence. Courage comes from the ability to say no to the wrong choices made by others.” ― Ayn Rand

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What did you learn from these “say no” quotes?

Hopefully, these thoughts have inspired and empowered you enough to consider when you may want and need to say “no” to others yourself.

That saying so if not the end of the earth, but perhaps the end of being walked over, and of missing out on the opportunities that you want and should be saying yes too.

It is about not over-extending yourself, and leaving room in your life for opportunities where you want and should be saying “yes.”

Dr. Nikki Martinez, Lead Contributor
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