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There was a movie out some time ago titled “Yes Man.” Remember it? Jim Carrey stars in the film where, according to IMDB, “A guy challenges himself to say “yes” to everything for an entire year.” A guy being the technical term.

The movie is super inspirational, arguing that people need to try things in life and say “yes” to new experiences. While I agree to trying new things, saying “yes” to everything is the absolute worst way to live life. Why? Because when you are constantly saying yes, we often forget to say yes to the things we really want to. 

This school year I have resolved to make a concentrated effort to maintain a happier and healthier lifestyle, with the main focus being my mental health and stress levels.  In order to make the changes necessary to lead such a life, I have had to say no a lot. Up until this decision, I have always been a “Yes Woman”: always saying yes to people who need help reviewing essays, always filling in for people who cannot work, always listening to a person vent even when I have hours of homework.   I began to hate the people I said yes to, but it was not their fault.  It was my own – they did not make me help them.  I chose to. None of these actions are necessarily bad behaviors.  We should help people.  We should listen to our friends vent about their boyfriends weird shaving rituals.  We should not, however, do any of these things with the end result of harming ourselves, emotionally or mentally.  Everything in moderation.

I was by no means a perfect girl before, and I am definitely not one now, but I am trying my best to say no more when I need to.  I am learning it is not selfish to keep yourself mentally healthy because if you are not healthy, you cannot truly take care of others.  By saying no, I can say yes to the important things, the things I want to say yes to, and I can put my full self into those things. Saying no allows us to take care of ourselves so that we can better fulfil the obligations we want to have in our lives.  It is okay to not be able to do everything for everyone, and it is perfectly fine to have nights to relax and rest.  Treat yo’ self. That way you are well rested for your sorority functions or able to put your full effort into your volunteer work.  You can be the best you and do your best work.

Saying yes is important, but saying no is even more so. Channel your inner Meghan Trainor.  Know when to “no.”  

Sophia Zahner is a freshman at Towson University majoring in History. She has a variety of interests including anything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to thrift shopping. She is a slurpee enthusiast and avid DIY-er from Essex, Maryland who loves style, writing, and anything vintage.
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