Adele gave me permission to say “No”

img_1398_bwAdele Concert in Phoenix

I was so glad Adele rescheduled her second night in Phoenix, it was incredible to see her live. My best friend Meagan has access to a family suite for most venues and I’m the lucky bestie who gets to come along for the ride when she invites me. Here we are as bookends with her sisters having fun before Adele took the stage!

Her voice moved me, but there was also something that stuck with me that she had said. You may have heard, Adele interacts with her audience a lot.  She said it’s habitual that she says no to everything immediately (sometimes it backfires on her) and her reason was, “I don’t want to be everywhere all the time.” 

I don’t want to be everywhere all the time.

And like that, Adele gave me permission to say no. The cover of Real Simple this month was “Say Yes to No”

I had said no to a few things last month and felt guilty. It was one of those things where I wish I could help but I didn’t want to help like that, and I really wanted to lend a hand and be helpful, but just not do that. I had confided my guilt to a girlfriend and she said took it away by telling me someone had told her, “Start saying no to things you don’t want to do.”

So I was thinking, since I feel like other people have to give me permission, I’m going to be that person that gives you permission to:

  • Unfollow people who put toxic thoughts or feelings (even if they follow you back or whatever rule you made). Life’s too short to make rules you made that you feel you can’t break.
  • Bring something store bought to a potluck, or do as we do, pick up McDonald’s French fries. No one is going to judge you for that, trust me, you’ll be the favorite guest!
  • Not read any of the magazines sitting on your coffee table this month – they can go directly to trash.
  • Don’t feel obligated for a meet up or have your brain picked.
  • Scoot away from the relationships that seem comfortable and seek deeper ones.
  • Quit something you started.
  • Spend the holidays in an untraditional way, away from home by yourself, with friends, whatever.
  • Spend the same amount on sweatpants as you do designer jeans if you that’s what you wear most often. I bet they’re pretty rad.
  • Cry, and hurt, as long as you want over whatever has happened to you, whether people get it or not.
  • Decline going to that party, or hosting that party.
  • Not take any great photos – it doesn’t make your event, relationship or day any less beautiful or meaningful because someone else had a good photo and posted it on social media.
  • Not post every detail your life on social media.
  • Don’t send Christmas cards next year or write a Christmas letter.
  • Stay incognito when you’re in town.
  • Don’t finish the book you started.

Saying NO means you’re saying YES to something else. I hear people say, I don’t have time, blah blah, but yet I see their time spread all over the place doing way too much.

So yeah, you don’t have time to work on these hobbies or travel because you choose to obligate yourself to a ton of less important stuff.

So yeah, you don’t have time to work on these hobbies or travel because you choose to obligate yourself to a ton of less important stuff. Start saying no to things you don’t want to do but aware that sometimes though we don’t really want to, but we could or should at the same time – if you catch my drift.

Like we should always help – a friend move, drop off a meal, being present, cultivate the desire to make others feel special. You can say yes while protecting your interests – you’ll be able to give a better version of yourself when you decide to say yes to the things you really want to do!

Here’s to a new year of saying no, so you can say yes!

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.

1 Comment

  • Carissa

    I completely love your list of examples of things to say “no” to.
    I used to force myself to finish books that I’d started but one day I said “enough! this is ridiculous”
    This year has already had a good start because I’m saying no more, even to some good things, because I know in the long run they would cause me stress. I read The Best Yes and really gleaned some wisdom from the author,

    I’ve wanted to say that I’m sorry for how my readership has declined! It has nothing to do with you or your blog, you and it are still as wonderful as ever! This toddler stage with Charlie has me all kinds of exhausted and most days I feel like collapsing at the end. It’s emotionally, physically, and mentally draining and it’s taking all of me right now. Most of my “internet time” is spent on Instagram, just because I love pictures so much, so that’s where I go for a quick brain break on my phone. Keep being fabulous, I’ll be back more consistently someday!


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