I spent the first 30 to 35 years of my life being a “yes” girl. Craving to be popular, to be liked, to being the friend my friends could always rely on. Always. To the point that I exhausted myself. Overwhelmed myself. Literally made myself crazy.
I had only myself to blame. You can’t really blame others for taking advantage of the “yes” girl. Probably they didn’t even realize that I was saying “yes” to everyone who asked me for something. And I believe it is just human nature to keep asking the person who always says “yes.” It is like a safety zone from rejection.
For the sake of my own sanity, I needed to start saying “no” every once in a while. For a “yes” girl, this seems like a near impossible task. Saying “no” might very well be the end of the world as I knew it. What if my friends thought I was suddenly unreliable? What if they stopped liking me? What if I became known as the selfish friend?
But what if I said “yes” so much that I couldn’t handle all the obligations that I just agreed to? I would be unreliable anyway, right? And just exactly what would happen if I started saying “no”? “No” seems to be the most difficult word for a “yes” girl to say.
But I can tell you exactly what happened when I learned how to say “no”. I was much more relaxed! And I was calmer. And I could pay closer attention to the things that I needed to do. And do them better. And no one hated me. Well, at least no one told they hated me!
There is strength in the word “no”. There is power. There is control. Controlling your own life. Establishing your own boundaries. Prioritizing your own needs and obligations. Learning how to say “no” to others is quite empowering.
It first began with reasons and apologies. Reasons like “No, I have taken on too much already and I just can’t help you out this time.” Or, “I have already committed to something else at that time.” These responses were always accompanied by an apology. Apologizing because I felt as if I were letting people down. As if I were slacking on my obligations. As if I were a failure if I couldn’t do it all.
As I grew more confident in the power of saying “no”, I was able to evolve to the point of saying “no” without any excuses other than “I just don’t feel like it.” And holy crow, the feeling of empowerment when you can look a person in the eyes with no excuses at all and say, “No. Because I don’t want to.”
I like to believe that people respect me for this rather than view me as unreliable or unhelpful. But then my friends know that if they are really in a bind, an emergency with no other alternative but to seek my assistance, I would never say “no”. But when the request is frivolous or simply for the sake of their convenience (at the expense of my convenience), I really have no problem saying, “No. I just don’t want to!” And I don’t always say “no”. I still often say “yes”…when I feel like it. But when I am really not up to the task, “no” will be my response for no other reason than that…I am not feeling up to the task.
My thought is this…life is too short to bind up all of your time doing things that you really don’t want to do. Yes, we all have obligations that we must tend to in order for life to happen. I’m not talking about neglecting our responsibilities. But it is all those little extra things that we do “to be nice” that add up and can take over our lives.
So if you are a “yes” person, it is time to reclaim your life by saying “no” once in a while! It is very liberating and empowering! There is no need to be mean or rude about it either. If you are very overwhelmed by too many “yeses” and just need a little break, try saying “no”. Without excuse. Without reason. Without apology. Just “no”. The easiest and the hardest word for us to say.
Shirt/Dress: Thrifted from my local Salvation Army Family Store.
Sweater Vest: I have had this sweater for about a decade and I don’t remember where I bought it.
Jeans: Old Navy Button-Fly Boyfriend Jeans (Old and no longer available).
Sandals: Robyn Flat Slides by American Eagle for Payless.
Bracelets: Kohl’s (No longer available).
Necklace and Earrings: Cato Fashions (No longer available).
Beer: Wild Blue Lager (It is so good. So good.)
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Are you a “yes” person or someone who can say “no”? I would love to hear your thoughts on the power of “no”!
Keeping it on the edge,
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