Saying ‘NO’ is an art, too!

3 min readOct 14, 2022

It is 6:35 pm. Jasmine is reaching home, after a tiring day at work. Her daily doses include meetings in the board room, calls with clients, and hectic travel. Nothing new, nothing less. But something ‘unexpected’ is about to happen.

Her boss called her up and assigned a task, like another ‘norm’. She was instructed to do some ‘excel work’ on reaching home. As usual, without any second thought, she said ‘yes!’

She reaches home. It is 7:05 pm. Mom has served a glass of water, yet Jasmine has not drenched her thirst. Her eyes are engaged on a laptop. And, ‘burnout mood’ pounces on her suddenly. This subitism was nothing but a signal meted out by her ‘drained mind’, which she has ‘conveniently’ ignored so far. Her right hand is on the mouse and her left is on the keyboard, and she is just silent. No thoughts in mind, but subtly provoked.

Her boss rings again, triggering the state of mind. She is in a duality of attending and ignoring the call. She wants to attend the call, but her mind resists her body to pick up the call. The ‘clash of titans’ within her culminates in a lesson that she has never heard of. And that is mastering the art of saying ‘NO’ was never part of her career. Hustled always!

Jasmine realized that she is not an artist because she has not mastered the art of saying ‘NO’. She has achieved heights, savings, and luxury, but what is the value of them if it has not fetched any sound iota of mental tranquility?

Finally, she disconnects the call. Politely drops a message to her boss: “Sorry, I am home. I need some me-time. I should revert tomorrow, at work! Good night!”

No explanation was given, no justification offered, no regrets, no apologies, and no guilt. Yes, Jasmine did it. Better late than never, she realized that drawing boundaries are very important to secularise between work life and personal life. And it is OK to protect our mental health. If not for us, who else will?

Our own mind, like our body, is our own property. We must normalize the act of caring for our own mental health. It is not selfishness; it is purely scientific. When we can give rest to the motor engine, why cannot we offer compassion to our mind and our boundaries? Otherwise, it does not take much time for a ship to sink.

Not saying ‘NO’ facilitates the structures of ‘rape culture’ too, as we lack the courage to respect our own time, energy, privacy, and nevertheless consent. The corporate culture has brutally evaded into our individual spaces and transformed the ‘workers’ into ‘zombies’, leaving us in the abysm of a conspicuous lifestyle. Wherein, we are subconsciously trained to say ‘YES!’ because we might not impress people around us. Such a people-pleasing attitude, in the eyes of psychology, is verily a source of depression and functional anxiety. If we do not say ‘NO’ today, we are certainly spending the rest of our lives doing expensive therapies.

Freedom is not the ability to say YES. It’s the ability to say NO.

Saying ‘NO’ is not disrespecting. On the contrary, it is an ‘honest response’. This assertive trait is not arrogance. If saying ‘NO’ displeases your people, it is a fine thing to let the wrong ones leave your palace. Your energy is qualitatively conserved, in fact. Remember: “Those who mind, do not matter. Those who matter, do not mind.”




A libertarian professor based in Mumbai, youtubing at times, and reading books all-the-time. I write too. Dhamma practitioner.