A simple two letter word that often goes underused, yet holds a very liberating power. In fact, “no” is probably one of the first words we learn to say (trust me I have a toddler!).
However, the older we get the more we are told to be “nice,” which can mean being overly accommodating and selfless.
How many times have you been asked to do something you really didn’t want to, or didn’t have time to – but didn’t stand your ground. You didn’t have the strength to say “no” and then, just maybe you felt a tinge of regret… It’s okay, we all have.
Don’t get me wrong, being selfless is an admirable trait but one should not forget about themselves in the process. After all, like Samuel Butler says, “self-preservation is the first law of nature.” I’ve seen first hand the effects of constantly being a “yes” person, and you guessed it: it ain’t always pretty in the end. We become consumed with the idea that being available – whether it be with our time resources or skills – is always the right thing to do. But that isn’t always the case.
Say “Yes” to Yourself
When we say “yes” to someone or something, we are ultimately saying “no” to something or someone else, and many times it’s you: the giver.
We don’t want you to be selfish or unkind, and you don’t have to be! However, when selflessness is taking away from your well-being, you need to take back some control. You can run the risk of feeling like a doormat. Saying “no” can lead to colossal benefits in your life and overall happiness.
The unfortunate truth is that being overly accommodating to others can have a negative impact on your mental health. When we constantly deplete ourselves to please others, it’s common to begin feeling resentful or neglected. Saying yes may become expected of you and eventually you may feel taken advantage of. That is why balance is key, you must be able to say “yes” to yourself as well!
Now, I don’t mean to suggest that you go around refusing everyone’s requests all the time.
This is just meant to be a reminder to always consider what is being asked of you. Will it contribute to your overall happiness and well-being, or detract from it?
Find Balance – Set Boundaries
Finding the balance between selflessness and standing your ground will make for a more confident and happier you. Creating realistic boundaries will help you be more confident in yourself.
Though speaking up and saying no seems very difficult and nerve wracking at times, honoring your own boundaries will give you a better sense of self and boost your confidence.
Time is one of our biggest investments.
What we invest our time in ultimately defines us. So think about what’s really important to you and where you want to invest yourself.
Life is short, and you don’t want to look back and wish that you had said “yes” when you weren’t able to because you didn’t say “no” when you’d wanted to. Boundaries, values, and priorities can guide us in learning how to say “no” – which can open up opportunities for us to say “yes” to the things that really matter. In this way, we see that saying “no” can be a thing of beauty!
How do you set comfortable boundaries for yourself? Do you have an experience of being relieved to having said “no” when you likely would have said yes?
Please feel free to share your experiences with the community in the comments!