Saying yes is easy; Going with the flow is like climbing into a canoe and allowing the currents and rapids to choose my descent downstream.

Saying ‘no’, however, is more challenging and may oppose the general status quo … and invite a reaction.

It can be uncomfortable.

To refuse an invitation to an activity, a pattern of behaviour, a place, or a group can carry risk.

People may feel judged and rejected. (I don’t want to hurt anyone)

Will they criticise me in return? 

Will I be ostracised?

Will I miss out?

Surrounded by people saying yes, I can end up doubting my ‘no’.

Sometimes misplaced guilt can get in the way of saying no to a friend in need.

To give up my ‘no’ is to relinquish my ability to direct the course of my life and hand over the reins to the ‘rapids’ of the swarm mentality.

Mob thinking relies on everyone else sorting through the issues and a ‘safety in numbers’ strategy.

A flawed method with form. It is not a trusted process. 

In my teens, this approach saw me smoke, fail at school, go to terrible parties on the other side of town in the middle of the night, get involved in criminal activities, be a part of bullying, and find myself neck-deep in drugs and alcohol.

The swarm can influence stances on important issues like race, gender, and politics.

The swarm will tow many party lines like alcohol is not a dangerous, addictive poison but a social pleasantry.

It isn’t that ‘no’ is always the response, but I have to be able to assess when it is appropriate, and I must be willing and able to wield it when the occasion is right.

Saying no to others is only half the challenge.

I need to be able to say no to myself.

More specifically, I need to be able to say no to my feelings.

Emotions such as:

    • Anger
    • Excitement
    • Lust
    • Hunger

Each one of the above has the potential to mushroom into an all-consuming power and become a swarm mentality in my head, within which I can get lost.

Each one of the above must be bridled.

Unless I can learn to say no to my emotional drives, I will effectively be deposing my frontal cortex with its logical judgement and relinquishing power to my limbic system with all its creative madness, greed and paranoia.

It would be tantamount to putting a baby chimp behind the decision-making console of a NASA launch of Apollo.

Ain’t nothin’ good ever gonna come a dat!

I don’t want to throw the baby chimp out with the bath water because there is a time and a place for the chimp’s creativity and protection.

Chimpy must be kept on a leash and reined in accordingly when his contributions don’t help. LOL.

Over the last 194 days, I have successfully denied alcohol re-entry into my life, and I have refused its myriad of appeal arguments, which quite frankly were not convincing.

I am continually learning that saying no to others and my inner chimp is really a yes to something more authentic in myself.

I haven’t mastered this gentle art in all areas of my life, but I remain kind and patient towards my efforts.


Practice makes perfect (not that I seek perfection. Pretty good is enough)

Thanks for listening