“Just because you said yes once doesn’t mean you have to say yes the next time, or the time after that, or even the time after that.”
Isn’t it interesting how thoughts and ideas becomes cliches? For example, the above makes me think of “start as you mean to go on” and “don’t do it today if you don’t want to do it tomorrow.” They can obviously be interpreted as both positive and negative. “Start as you mean to go on” is a British phrase most often meaning to apply yourself and maintain your commitment.
The meaning that I tend to is the one found in the Inner Bitch quote above which I interpret as learning to say “No” and refusing to play nice or be a doormat. And I’ve seen it play out most often in romantic and workplace relationships. At work, if I take on one special project or additional duty, I’ll be expected to take on the next one ad infinitum. In romance or friendship, it is worse. I closely monitor my actions as I’ve learned that refusing to continue something is much harder than just saying “No” in the first place.
My favorite saying for the workplace variation is: If you do a little more today, there will be a little more to do tomorrow.”