Breast Health Challenge Tip #23

Say “No” to something that bothers you in your life today, and that you can change.


How often do you hold back expressing what you really feel? Or say “yes” when you would rather say “no”?  What gets in the way of you saying “no”?  Is it the need to be liked, fear of disappointing others, the need to be needed, feeling unworthy, or that your rights, needs and desires are unimportant? Do you frequently put others’ needs ahead of your own?

If this sounds like you, listen up.

You Matter

Your needs matter. Your self-expression and creativity matter. Be the designer of your life and your own fulfillment.

Often we adopt a coping strategy as a child to maintain the connection with and approval of our parents or caregivers. This persona is a kind of armour that protects us from being emotionally hurt. Then we foolishly identify with the role we have carefully sculpted. That role could be the “pleaser”, the “good girl”, the “perfectionist”, the “high achiever”, the “helper”, the “peacemaker”, the “responsible one” or many more. What’s yours?

The role becomes a comfortable and familiar garment we wear, and others see us and praise us for these traits. We lap up any attention given to us when we predictably do what others expect us to do. We fall into the trap of thinking we need to be this way to be accepted and loved by others as well as by ourselves.

The truth is, we are complex beings with many parts. Our many facets seek discovery, expression and ripening. This contributes to our wholeness, self-realization and happiness. We can allow ourselves to be both strong and vulnerable; generous and stingy; outgoing and withdrawn; disciplined and carefree; responsible and wild. Our body sensations and feelings are our guide to know how to meet each moment, each invitation to show up as our authentic self.

Pay attention to the signals your body gives you and identify your true feelings. Go with your gut feelings and have the courage to say “no” to explore the unanswered dimensions of yourself.

Your Body Speaks the Truth

When our feelings are repressed, when we are not listening to our needs or giving ourselves permission to be multidimensional, our bodies may speak for us. Illness has an uncanny way of putting us in touch with buried emotions – when we listen to what the body is telling us. For many women, breast cancer is a welcome legitimate excuse to take time off and engage in self-discovery. It is sad that it sometimes takes a disease to give us permission to address our needs. Perhaps if we had a daily practice of inner listening – such as yoga, meditation, journalling, dance, making art or walking in nature, we would not need a disease to do it for us.

Our bodies are like computers – they input the data from our environment and reveal it to us through symptoms. That environment includes the emotional tone of our family life or partnership, the quality of our food and water, the purity of the air and soil, the beauty or ugliness we see around us, the noise and sounds we hear each day, and what we experience through touch. All of these are signals that our senses receive, our brains interpret, and our bodies reflect.

What Do You Want to Say No to Today?

Step out of your comfort zone, assert yourself and say “no” to something today.

Simultaneously, say “yes” to yourself.


For more insight, read “When the Body Says No” by Dr. Gabor Maté.

Take the Breast Health Challenge!

Say no to something that bothers you today. Take a photo or make a video of you doing it, and post on your Facebook page, Youtube or Instagram with the hashtag #breasthealthchallenge between Oct 1-31. Challenge your friends to do the same.

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