Learning to Say “No”

Further to my earlier post about self care (which you can find here), today’s post will cover the topic of learning to say “no” sometimes. It sounds like an easy thing to do, but it has taken me years to learn that I have the right to say no to things. Our children will sometimes give a loud “NO!” to a simple request such as being asked to put their shoes on, but it seems that as we get older, some of us become more and more accommodating – to the point of damaging our health.

By agreeing to do too many errands or favours, to take on extra responsibilities or simply to put up with things that make us uncomfortable, we are putting our minds and bodies under extra strain. Our lives are demanding enough, in a day and age where we glorify “The Hustle” and our gyms and supermarkets are open 24/7 to better fit around our busy schedules. Yet some of us are overloading ourselves by taking on extra commitments, all because we are afraid of offending someone with that one little word.

So I want to remind you today that you have the right to say no. You do not need to think of an excuse or justify yourself. “No” is a complete sentence.

That errand a friend asked you to run, despite knowing you have an exam tomorrow? Say no. Go home and study.

The parent at school who keeps suggesting you pick her kids up this Friday, again? Say no. It’s nice to have play dates, but you are not a childminder.

That creepy guy at work who keeps asking you out for drinks? You know you’re running out of excuses… Wouldn’t it be easier to just say no?

Regardless of who it is or what they are asking you to do, sometimes you have to turn people down. Think about it: people turn you down sometimes. Sure, it may not be convenient, and sure, they may be a little miffed about it, but the people who really care about you aren’t going to hold a six month grudge just because you refused to walk their dog that one time. If they do, they’re probably not the best people to be around anyway.

Taking breaks and making sure we aren’t expecting too much of ourselves is important, and I encourage you, lovely reader, to practice saying no sometimes. Not all of the time, not to everyone, but just sometimes. Hopefully it will give you a teeny bit less to do, and if you’re lucky, it will provide a little well-deserved you-time.

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