Once you have learned to say a fundamental yes, later “no’s” can be helpful and even necessary: without them, you have no protected boundaries or identity. Our modern world has coined a word for people who cannot say no: “Co-dependents.” No one ever taught them how and when to protect themselves with a necessary no, and that a no can be as sacred as a yes. The value of a no was, in fact, probably the import of so much teaching about the “avoidance of sin.” Learning to say no to yourself gives you a sense of boundary and identity in the first half of life, but too many people make it an end in itself and then, by the second half of life, become highly judgemental. Such forms of religion end up obsessed with purity codes rather than compassion, justice, and a clean heart.
from The Naked Now; Learning to See as the Mystics See
Chapter: But We Have to Make Judgements, Don’t We?