Stop Saying "Can't" and Start Saying "Won't": How I Learned to Put Myself First

In today’s society, we are supposed to be available for others at all times.

We find ourselves pressured to say yes to every opportunity, plan, and event. Your friends will tell you that, “you don’t want to miss out on this.” That, “you HAVE to come.” On top of that, we are also expected to answer every call and text and update your friends and family on your life via social media. Finally, to be considered a good human, we are encouraged to help people solve their problems.

And sometimes, your social life ends up feeling like a burden.

I was taught to be kind and help people. To me, saying “no” was never an option. I had to make everyone happy, or I was failing at life.

For the past year or so, I have said yes to every single thing. Every time someone (friend or acquaintance) would ask for a favor or suggest we hang out, I would immediately accept, without checking my agenda -- or my mental state -- first. Even if the timing was not ideal, even if I was exhausted, I made myself available. I skipped meals, sacrificed my sleep and my sanity. Multitasking became my new normal. My social life ended up feeling like a burden. This went on for so long, and I am over it.

From now on, things are going to change. From now on, I am going to take care of myself.

Credit: We Heart It

So I’m sorry, but no.

I will not pick up the phone at random times to listen to your two-hour rant. I will not run errands for you. I will not do everyone’s English homework. I will not invite 20 more people to my party just because you want to bring all your friends with you.

I could, but I won’t. Because I have to put my mental health first. I want to live my day focusing on one thing at a time. I want to take my schoolwork seriously. I want to get more than 4 hours of sleep a night. And I want to see the people that matter most more often, instead of doing things I don’t care about. I want to have some free time to have fun.

Credit: We Heart It

I will always do anything for my closest friends and family. But when it comes to other people and random plans, the answer will be no. I empathize with your situation, I appreciate you as a person but I cannot keep burning myself out by saying yes to every event I’m invited to or every favor you ask me.

There is only so much I can do for everyone in a day. Most importantly, I am mine before I am anyone else’s.

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