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Cheers to Saying No

Let's be real, saying 'no' is sometimes one of the hardest things to do, even when it is in your best interest to decline.



I’m going to be brutally honest with you here. This post almost didn’t happen.


As I write this, it is currently Saturday, February 11 at 8:20 pm.


You see, I had tried to write earlier and it was just not happening. I wrote a couple paragraphs on a piece about new beginnings before I decided to nix it. Then I pulled another story I had written months ago and tried to edit it and breathe fresh life into it. That didn’t work either.


So, I found myself at a crossroads. Do I push myself to write something my heart is not in, or do I simply not post anything? Hours earlier when I asked this question to myself, I decided that I was going to tell myself ‘no’. I was not going to push myself. Instead, I was going to enjoy my day and not stress myself by taking on more than I wanted to at this moment.


Do you know what I did? I went grocery shopping, had lunch with my husband, did errands, and read a book while it was raining outside. And that is when I was struck by the writing fairy.


I needed to write about saying ‘no’.


The concept of saying ‘no’ is not new, but the genre of self-care certainly oversimplifies it. That two-letter, monosyllabic word is at times one of the hardest, most enigmatic words to utter in the entire English language.


But let’s clarify the context. It’s easy to tell your kids ‘no’ when they are hounding you about something entirely unnecessary (like going out to Dairy Queen at 9:00 at night). It’s easy to tell your partner ‘no’ when the topic of discussion is where to eat for dinner (and they suggest the most unappetizing places to eat).


The context I am talking about is saying ‘no’ in those moments where people pull at your strings to do something. Maybe it’s a guilt complex, maybe it’s an over-active desire to please, maybe it’s a conditioned response. When you say ‘yes’ to those things you don’t really want to say ‘yes’ to—how do you wind up feeling?


My guess is you find yourself somewhere between tired, frustrated, annoyed, and frazzled. None of those places is a very desirable place to be, and yet we still compel ourselves to say ‘yes’ over and over again.


You contemplate saying ‘no’, but then the what-ifs pile on. What if this puts someone else behind? What if they think less of me? What if I lose an opportunity? What if, what if, what if… And so, you say ‘yes’. Those what-ifs are powerful. But you know what is more potent?


Your own self-worth. Your sanity. Your physical and mental health.


Because saying ‘no’ can be so difficult, don’t be too hard on yourself. Take the first baby step. When you have a minor situation pop up that you want to say ‘no’ to—compel yourself to say no. Stay steadfast and be accountable to yourself. Write your conviction on a sticky pad, as a note on your phone, anything that will remind you of the power of your own choice. Write “I will not (whatever it is).”


Saying ‘no’ reinforces your boundaries and desires. When they (whoever they are) come back around and again try and get you to change your answer—stay true to yourself.


I’m not going to stand over here and pretend that saying ‘no’ is easy. It’s not. But it does get easier.


The sun does not rise and fall based on whether you go to an event, take on yet one more project, or add one more thing to your already full plate. You are not the savior of the social, professional, or familial worlds.


The sun will rise tomorrow.


Go enjoy that afternoon, find your peace, relish the things that make you—you. Who knows, sometimes you will have to even tell yourself ‘no.’


As for me, I have an evening to get back to. A glass of wine awaits.


Cheers!



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2 commentaires


Charlotte A. Cason
Charlotte A. Cason
13 févr. 2023

You are absolutely right! One of my professors said that when we do say no, to not give any reason, thus one keeps others from laying a guilt trip on you, as they don't have anything to argue with. It was good advice which I've followed ever since. Excellent article!!!!

J'aime
Holly Bills
Holly Bills
15 févr. 2023
En réponse à

Sometimes less is more.

J'aime
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