This month, one of my subscribers submitted the following question, “How do I learn to say “no” sometimes?”

As a Law of Attraction Life Coach, I believe that the best way to answer this question is to get to the core of it, which I believe is to ask instead, “Am I making this choice based on approval, or from my authentic self?”

Let me explain.

At some point in time, we have all had the experience of being asked a question, given a request, felt somehow pressured into doing something that deep down, we just didn’t feel good about.  And yet, we said “yes” anyway.  Immediately following, a sense of remorse came over us, we felt like we could have said no, we should have said no, or at least we should have said “I’ll think about it”. Maybe we even would have said no if only we were prepared and not caught off guard.

The truth is, we often fall into a habit of doing what others ask of us without stopping to think about what this choice will require of us and we move into autopilot because we feel that it’s what we should do, even when we don’t want to. But even more so, we choose based on a sense of approval, instead of authenticity. Simply put, if we’re having a hard time saying no, is it because we’re more concerned about what others think about us, versus how we think about ourselves, or, it’s more important that you like me and approve of me, than for me to be true to whom I am and do what’s right for me. Now don’t get me wrong, there are times for doing things that perhaps we don’t want to do, but when it becomes a habit that leaves us feeling tired, drained, overwhelmed, and hurts our confidence because we just can’t say no, then it’s time to stop and take stock of how we are making our choices, so that we can choose anew, and this time, choose deliberately.

Let me share with you what happens to us energetically and vibrationally in these circumstances. First, whenever we make a choice based on approval, we are looking outside of ourselves to feel good.  The challenge with this way of thinking is that as soon as we allow others to decide for us, we hand over responsibility for our choices to that other person or people, therefore giving away our power.  One of the fundamental keys in working with the Law of Attraction, and our personal development on any level, is to take 100% responsibility for ourselves, our lives, our actions, reactions, choices, beliefs and decisions. Remember, we are always teaching others how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves. So whether we allow ourselves to be talked into something, or are just unable to say no, we have to start by acknowledging that this is still our decision and our choice.  Our personal power begins to be restored when we acknowledge that no one else can make our choices for us.

If we choose to say “yes” but then feel our vibration drop into the lower energies such as guilt, fear or powerlessness, then we immediately know, based on our emotions or feelings about the choice, that we have gone against our authentic self. We then begin vibrating that lower emotion out to the universe, which in turn is responded to by being met with the same vibration. The same situations then begin to continue showing up, again, and again, and again.  We then start to feel as though we are wearing a sign that says, “Just ask me, I can’t say no!” and we are met with more frustration.

So what can we do to shift this habit, and how can we learn to choose differently?  We begin by checking in with ourselves first before we commit to anything and see how we “feel” about the request.  If we know that we are choosing to do it out of approval and it doesn’t feel good, then we are consciously lowering our vibration. If we say, “let me think about it”, we’ve then given ourselves the time to stop, and think about what we really want to do, and then respond appropriately. Or ultimately, we just respond with the truth about how we’re feeling by coming from our authentic selves. In this case, we have deliberately chosen the highest vibration.  Choosing based on authentic self, on what feels good, right and healthy for us, raises our vibration which in turn, is met with more of the same vibration. This is the Law of Attraction at work.

In order to utilize the power of authenticity as it relates directly to your life to enhance your relationships, increase your fulfillment, and empower yourself, here are five key principles as inspired by Mike Robbins, best-selling author of Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken:

1. Know Yourself.  Decide here and now that you will commit to your personal growth.  Go on a journey of discovery to understand who you truly are. Allow others to support you on this path by asking for honest feedback, support and guidance.

2. Transform Your Fear.Fear has its functions, and there is nothing wrong with feeling fear as long as you do not linger there. The bigger issue is the resistance and denial of fear.  When you take 100% responsibility for yourself, when you admit, own, feel and express your fear, you allow yourself the ability to move through it, transform it, and integrate its power in a positive way. Facing fear head on is a courageous and empowering step.

3. Express Yourself.  It may take some practice, but learn to express your truth boldly. Deal with conflicts as soon as they arise, expressing your emotions fully.  Be truthful, and allow yourself to be vulnerable about what you think and how you feel.  If you perceive this as an outward sign of weakness, understand that in truth, your expressing yourself completely allows you access to real freedom and power.

4. Be Bold – Live, speak, and act with courage, passion and truth. Live your life fully by going for what you want in your work and in your life.  When you fall down, get back up, as many times as it takes, just keep getting back up.

5. Celebrate Who You Are. Remember that you are an extension of the divine source of all that is.Appreciate and honor the person you are, the things that you do, and the gifts that you have to share.  Celebrating yourself is not about Ego, it is not about being arrogant. Instead, it is an awareness of your own power and it is the key to your self confidence, fulfillment and authenticity.

Being your authentic self is not for the faint of heart, but once you’re willing to truly engage and do the work to become more real – your life, your work, and your relationships will be more exciting, meaningful and fulfilling.

And remember, whenever you think it’s hard to be authentic, just remember how much harder it is not to be, because being authentic is an incredibly powerful place to be.