Saying "no", women's lib, and the pull of family

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Saying "no." It has always been hard for me, and I still struggle with it in my 40's. I recently said  "yes" to something I really wanted to say "no" to, and ended up surprisingly angry at myself. Why is it so hard for me to say what I really feel when it might go against someone's wishes? When I don't speak up for myself, every fiber of my being feels wrong. Yet there is the pull of my upbringing telling me to be nice, and to avoid conflict at all costs. 

Feeling temporarily untethered, I ended up at my favorite theatre--The Nickelodeon. Without kids, or anyone, I was free to see what i wanted. I chose "20th Century Women." It transported me into the minds and souls of women in the 70's, who seemed much more free to explore their thoughts and desires than women today. This may sound strange, since we are supposed to have come a long way since then, but I haven't truly felt free to say or do what I want, as a girl or as a woman. Sitting alone in this movie allowed me to feel that I could--if only for two hours.