saying no sometimes

Sometimes what's harder than saying yes to something is saying no to something.

I am a notorious yes person. I don't want to disappoint people and I confess to caring much more than I should about what others think. I also, in the age of social media and knowing what everyone is doing at every moment, have the fear of missing out if I say no. So I say yes far too often and in doing so, run myself into the ground.

I know that I'm not alone in this. There is this tendency for all of us to do all.the.things and so we say yes to volunteering, yes to dinner, yes to a party and yes to an amazing opportunity that may end up not being that amazing because it's one more thing stacked on everything else.

It's like you carry this stack of plates and then you think, oh, just one more, a teeny cup-- I can stick that on top. Or it's the issue with grocery bags out of the car-- we always have to bring them into the house in one trip, don't we? Why can't we do it in stages? And why do we feel the need to say yes to the final teacup on our already towering stack of plates?

Recently I said no to something hard. I applied for Renegade Chicago and wasn't really expecting to get in-- I know it's a really good handmade show-- Chicago is where Renegade started-- and so I thought by applying it could be the boost my business needs.

Then I got in.

I did a dance in front of my computer. And then I started thinking about it: running numbers, figuring out all I would have to do, the logistics... panic set in. I already feel behind in so many things-- like the website I was supposed to start for the shop oh, like two months ago, the other two local shows I already committed to-- the wedding that I'm a maid of honor in in TWO weeks... it's a lot.

So I said no.

Well actually, I typed out a no response and then let it sit in my email drafts for a few days because while I knew I should say no, I really, really, really didn't want to. I wanted to do it all. I really did and still do.

But I finally sent it-- and as I did-- I felt sad, not going to lie to you all here, but I also felt a small release of pressure. My stack of plates felt lighter.

There will always be Renegade next year. There will be another opportunity, and even if there isn't, sometimes you still have to say no.

What have you said "no" to?

xo, erika

p.s. random transition here, but if there is anything you should say yes to, it's the gorgeous work by NS Pottery. I love the statement ring I got from her and wear it several times a week. :)

denim shirt: thrifted
coated jeans: Joe's Jeans via Nordstrom (similar)
ring: c/o NS Pottery
booties: Wanted Shoes last year (similar)


  1. I know that feeling. I too felt like I used to be such a "yes" person, and then would get overwhelmed and unhappy. I recently decided to postpone teaching a workshop (and at first felt guilty about it) because I knew I had too much on my plate, but everyone totally understood. It definitely takes practice, and it can be hard to pass up opportunities, but you don't want to topple over!

  2. So incredibly true. Sometimes its so hard to use the word NO... Funny huh? But most definitely worth it at times.

    Faded Windmills

  3. It's why I'm saying no to a bigger wedding. Sure it'd be fun and fancy. But I don't need the stress or the drama. Everyone keeps pushing us to make it bigger and I just don't want to. It isn't about what other people want or need. It's about what YOU want or need.

  4. Good for you!! I find I enjoy the things I do participate in so much more if I _really_ want to do them and don't have any legit reservations. A few years back, I dated a guy who tried a little experiment: When he didn't want to do something, he said, simply, "no." Not "No thank you" not "no, because ...." It was just "no," as a kind of proof that he didn't actually have to explain himself to anyone. I found it kind of brilliant.

  5. that's a tough one but you are so right - there is freedom that comes with saying no. good for you, girl!

  6. That release of pressure means you made the right decision. You are growing into a fine little business woman who knows how to make the tough decisions, and I LOVE it! Now you can laugh at me when I am a stress case about saying yes to the Detroit show. "Oh Julie. You're such a newb." ;]

  7. It's really hard saying no to things sometimes, but in the end it is much better for us + our state of mental health!! I hope you get a spot in Renegade next year darling and take it easy in the meantime!! xo

  8. I know that feeling. I always tend to be 'too nice' and never want to say no to something. Back in February, I got an amazing 8-month job contract in a new city. I loved every second of it, and when it was almost time for me to leave, they gave me the offer of staying on for an extra two months. I had moved in with a roomate, but she broke her arm early on and ended up moving out about half way through the contract. So I was paying double the price I originally was, had terrible neighbours/landlord, and knew that I couldn't afford to live there for an extra two months. I could move to a cheaper place, but it would only be for two months so I would be moving 3 times (total) in a year. Saying no to the extension was one of the hardest decisions I've made, and the day after moving back in with my parents, I am sitting here wondering if it was right. For my wallet, it was. For me? I'm not sure.. But it's the decision I made, and who knows, maybe I can go back after graduation.

  9. Way to go, Erika! When I was growing up, my mom a lot of times left decisions up to me on whether I should spend the night out for the 5th weekend in a row, or even thought I was exhausted from a church trip I could decide whether or not it was smart to go to the movies with friends... anyway, my point is that I always felt like I was making the more mature decision when I decided to stay home and rest.. and that has stuck with me all these years. When I say "no" to things I actually want to do and aren'y necessarily BAD, but aren't necessarily the BEST choice either, I do a fist bump to myself and smile. It's all about being mature and knowing your limits!! ((fist bumping you right now!))

  10. What a awesome setting for a shoot...love the colors on the stairs. And your hair is just too perfect:) I've been saying no a bunch recently to things such as gigs that don't pay as much as they should. Yes, it would be nice to have the money, but it's sometimes that money isn't worth the stress and time away from other things that matter so much more:)
    xo Andrea
    Boho Bunnie

  11. I agree, 100%. I've also read studies that women, in particular, are prone to that auto "yes" response. I've actually lost friends by saying "no", so it's extra stressful for me (especially where family is concerned). I think if you feel relief, you know it's the right decision. But sometimes, after saying "no", I'm still second-guessing myself, even years later! I wish there was an easier way to determine when to say "no", and stick to it.

    But when you DO get out to Renegade, look up Meredith at Sweet Anthem Perfumes. She's done it several years in a row now, and she's a total sweetheart, and I'm sure she'll have pointers if you need any (for navigating Renegade, the paperwork, etc). :)

  12. Oh girl, I think you just wrote my biography. Oy.

  13. It's sad that you had to say no, but you're right....sometimes it's just too much! Good for you for making a hard decision. There are so many hard decisions when it comes to running your own business, huh?

  14. Hi Erika! I just came across your blog via Etsy (where I fell in love with your adorable purses and have since placed them at the top of my wishlist!) and had to tell you that this post was exactly what God wanted me to read tonight. I am definitely a people-pleaser and I have a terribly hard time saying no. And I also am a dreamer, so saying no to opportunities and such is also hard. But, as you said, sometimes saying no really is the best solution. Sometimes, it's saying no that brings about better opportunities and even better things than we ever could imagine.

    Thanks for this sweet encouraging post! I look forward to reading more. :)

  15. I totally understand that. My friends wedding (her second wedding, same guy) is in several months but I have one to many things already. Although I don't mind going I don't want my grades for school to suffer so I had to say no. It's sad but at the same time I know I needed too.

  16. Saying no is so so so stinkin' hard but I have learned over the last two years or so that it is absolutely necessary to my sanity. I wish, selfishly, that you had said yes to Renegade because then I could have seen you in real life again! XOXO


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