How Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Year of Yes’ Taught Me To Say No

How Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Year of Yes’ Taught Me To Say No

I am a person who likes structure. I don’t like sudden change. I don’t like confusion. I don’t necessarily like making people happy , but I value peace among others more than friction [although I can get with you if need be – be not confused]  and because of that, I tend to say yes to a lot of things… to keep the peace.

In Shonda Rhimes‘ fresh and thought-provoking book ‘Year of Yes’, Lady Rhimes takes us on her journey of saying yes for a whole year to things she typically says no to. During this journey, Shonda changed her outlook on life, personal agendas, lost some friends, made new ones and more importantly, lived. Although I took away SO many things from book, the biggest thing I took away was learning to say no – which ironically is the complete opposite of what Lady Rhimes is talking about. Now in all honesty, saying no has never been a problem for me. If I don’t want to do something then I won’t! Point. Blank. Period. However, when it comes to friends, saying no is a different story.


Often times it’s easy for us to either agree with our friends to keep from getting into an argument or whatever the case may be. I know I do this a lot of times! I’ll agree with something they say, do something they want to do or go somewhere they want to go all because I don’t feel like hearing their mouths if I say no. Doing that has brought a lot of tension on my end because over time I end up frustrated with them over something they had no idea was a problem. For instance, I bought myself two candles and told my friend about it. Her response, “well I know one of those are for me since you know my candle is almost gone.”

Now did I buy two candles with the intention on giving her one? No. Was her candle almost being gone my problem? No. Could she have bought another one herself like I bought one for my self? Yes. All those thoughts were running through my head but when I answered, the only thing that came out of my mouth was “Yeah girl, I ordered two because I knew yours was almost out from the last time I was over here!” So she was happy and I wasn’t. Why did I agree to give her a candle? Because I didn’t want to start something out of nothing.

After reading Year of Yes, I realized that I am not obligated to say yes to someone or something just because. I have every right to say no and I should say no especially when it comes to something that I really don’t want to do. Same goes for you. If you feel yourself saying yes too much to “keep the peace”, stop! You owe it yourself to be real to not only others but more importantly yourself! After all, the only ‘peace’ that matters is the peace within yourself!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *