I Can Ask And You Can Say No – Right?!

Jan 18th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles

By Imelda Almqvist

This week I have been feeling somewhat overwhelmed. The word “somewhat” is only inserted here because after living in the UK for nearly 30 years I think and write in British English (rather than my mother tongue, which is Dutch). British people are masters at the art of understatement: they do not “freak out”, no… they “get a little concerned”.

So this blog is about an issue I am growing “a little concerned about”!

The thing I am monitoring closely at the moment is the energetic nature of exchanges between people – and obviously I myself am the best guinea pig for this because I am always present in exchanges I have with other people!

What has been staring me in the face all week is how much time I spend saying no to people, appeals, suggestions and a multitude of deserving causes.  Frankly I spend too much time replying to unnecessary messages (because I would come across as rude or “full of myself” if I don’t). Too much time goes on answering questions and/or giving guidance of a professional nature without payment or reciprocity. One of my points of focus for 2018 is drawing boundaries around that and putting proper value on my time.

The sense of overwhelm surely originates somewhere. Yes, we are living in times of change an upheaval this is true. Modern technology and social media make it easy (tempting and even addictive) to on-line and on-call day and night – but to my mind there is something more going on.

I remember a time when it was not considered “in good taste” to do certain things, e.g. phoning people after 9.30 in the evening or asking for too many favours. This may just have been the town in the Netherlands where I grew up – but I don’t think so!! To me this mindset reflects respect for other people’s time, resources and privacy and it is an entirely good thing!

These days we are more entrepreneurial: the sky is the limit, we are expected to actively improve ourselves and always reach higher. This has brought in the spirit of “Well, I can ask and you can say no, right?!” I have also heard this voiced as “Asking is always OK – After all the person can no!” I suppose the original wording is the expression “nothing ventured, nothing gained“.

My bone of contention is this: every time you ask and put me in the position where I am forced to say no, you essentially draw (some) life force from me. I don’t like saying  ‘no’ (especially all day long!) When I am asked for something (or to do something or reply to yet another message) I feel pulled in – and energetically I then need to resist that pull. It forces me to choose my words with care. After all asking is always OK but offending people is not quite so cool. Essentially I feel I spend too much time on the defensive, already anticipating the next time I need to say no creatively in such a way I still come across as a friendly and well-meaning person.

By means of this blog I would  therefore like to suggest that perhaps asking is “not always OK” because “saying no” can be hard to do and is not always heard the right way. So next time you think: “I can always ask and the person can always say no” perhaps ask yourself: “What about not asking – would it improve someone else’s day?!” Or “What about doing this some other way?!”

Imelda Almqvist, London, 18 January 2018


Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in 2016. She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit 2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book Sacred Art: A Hollow Bone for Spirit (Where Art Meets Shamanism) will be published in the Autumn or Winter of 2018.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/ (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist (Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

http://affiliate.soundstrue.com/aff_c?offer_id=124&aff_id=2260&url_id=86 (Year of Ceremony)

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