Updated: Aug 21, 2019
Why It's Ok To Say No
It's time for one of those heart to heart blogs! It's been a while. Are you the friend that is always saying yes to everything that your calendar is filled and you don't even have a weekend or day to just breathe? If you're not that friend then you definitely have a friend like it. Maybe, you're the friend when people ask you to do something you don't give them a straight answer, you just leave them in limbo? Having trouble saying no is more common than we all think. I struggle with it and with it being said to me (another time for that conversation). You can do anything, but you can't do everything, and we want to appear helpful or can-do. But it’s a trap.
As children, we learned that saying no was impolite or inappropriate. If you said no to any adult/authority figure it was considered being rude even with a "no thank you" behind it. The word no was off limits and yes was the polite thing to say. Things have changed, we are adults who know right from wrong and are capable of making choices like saying the word no. I know as a mom it can be hard with birthday parties almost every weekend. (Like why do my kids have a better social life?) If it’s not a birthday party it’s family and friends. We can’t forget those committed contract yes activities too like soccer practice, gymnastics, swimming, etc. The list of yes can pile up quick which leads to stress and worry.
The root of the issue is we associate the word no with selfishness, rejection, feeling guilty, etc. the worst part is we start saying no after we’ve already been taken advantage of or hurt because we are resentful. when it could have been avoided if we had listened to our gut and said no from the beginning. I always remember the scene from the movie 27 Dresses at the bar where Jane ( Katherine Heigl ) and Kevin Doyle ( James Marsden) are discussing the act of saying no. Jane has the case of the “yes I’ll do any and everything” even though inside it’s killing her to say no. It’s a movie but it’s also a teachable moment. She gets so wrapped up in trying to please everyone else by saying yes and forgets about her own happiness and what she wants along the way. Think about the anguish, stress, and resentment that saying yes has caused you. Wouldn’t it be so much easier and straightforward to just say no in the first place?
I read somewhere to "say no for a better yes" and that really stuck. Don't say "I'll think about it" if you don't want to do something, because that will just prolong the situation and make you feel stressed out. Knowing your value is what it comes down too. Realizing your valuable and choosing your opinion about yourself over others. It might sting when you start to say no to things but that feeling will fade and relief will enter. The FOMO can be real too, but that will also fade. Ask yourself is it really worth a yes? This way, you can say yes to opportunities that most reflect your values. Try to build free time in your schedule so there’s room for new, interesting opportunities you might otherwise overlook. This has been major for me in my life, especially during the week and just leaving it open for impromptu plans or networking events that I otherwise might have said no to due to conflicting plans.
"The real freedom is saying no without giving a reason" Amit Kalantri
Learning to say "no" when you authentically mean "no" is a life skill. For some people, it comes quite naturally. For others, it requires habitual practice and conscious use. Your world will still be there after you say no. Promise.