No is not necessarily a negative.

Sometimes along your path, you will have reasons to say no. While we often associate no with negatives, that is not always the case.

There will be times when you need to say no because saying yes will actually lead you down the wrong path.

We live in a world full of extremes. Left and right, liberal and conservative, short and tall, attractive and ugly…take your pick. But in truth, most of us live between the extremes. We might lean to one direction or another, but for the most part we live somewhere in the middle.

Some people can only clearly see one side of the opposite extremes. However, there is seldom just a single aspect to any of the extremes. For example, what to me is beautiful to you is hideous. What I find offensive you find funny. How I view this thing may not be the same as how you do.

No is only negative if you make it a negative, as yes is only positive if you make it so. However, we get so caught up in the messages of the extremes, it can be hard to see the vast potential of either of these concepts.

This has nothing at all to do with the meaning of yes and no. No means no, yes means yes, with very few exceptions. This is not about meaning, this is about intent.

What’s the difference between meaning and intent?

Meaning is how you define yes and no. If I am told “No you cannot touch me” then I cannot touch, just as if I am told “Yes you can borrow that” then I can borrow that. Meaning is the very basic root of these words. To get truly technical, you can define no as an adverb, adjective, noun, verb and more depending on context. That is the meaning.

Intent, however, is a whole other matter. What is the intent of saying no? Is it to prevent a tragedy, to end the travels on a given path, to change course from bad to good? Are you saying no to get out of a negative situation, like a bad relationship, rejecting bad advice, or telling someone to stop interfering with your life? That is intent.

Sometimes no is a positive. Whether I am delivering or receiving that no, it may not be an intended negative. For example, I might get the message “No, that road is closed” and in the process avoid a horrific accident. Or it could be “No, I will not be your friend” and in the process I am separated from someone who would be a drain on my mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. It could even be “No, I don’t like that” and in the process you avoid a matter that could be a distraction or detriment to your choice of paths.

Pathwalking is about taking control of your own life, and your own path. This is a matter of choosing for myself who I want to be, and what I want to get out of my life. While I have constantly explained that positivity in this process is unbelievably important, that does not mean that everything needs to come up yes.

In order to discover your path, you are going to encounter false starts. You will from time to time walk down blind allies. As such, you will need to say “No, not this path” and choose anew. This is an example of a positive no – because you can make a fresh and better start.

Our choices are infinite. It does not always feel that way. Sometimes, it feels like all you ever get is no. Listen to the message, but don’t get hung up on the meaning, understand the intent. No does not mean negativity, it just means explore and possibly change your course.

In tarot cards, Death is not literal – it is change. When the Death card is drawn, it means that change is coming, not actual, literal death. Likewise, when the answer is no, it may not be a negative opposing where you want to go, but an embodiment of your need for change, and support for that.

Know the intent when the answer is no. It could be the difference between simply walking the path, and knowing the path.

When has saying no proven positive for you?


This is the one-hundred forty sixth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Feel free to re-blog and share.  Thank you for joining me.

The first fifty-two weeks (Year One) of installments of Pathwalking is available in print and for your Kindle.