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The Power Of Saying “No:” 3 Reasons Why You Should Say It More Often

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Boston chapter.

How often do you find yourself saying “no” to others? Do you consider it something that comes easily to you, or does it bring you a feeling of guilt?

Nonetheless, everyone can benefit from understanding the importance of saying “no.” Especially within our society, we are often predisposed to speak “yes” to a family member or someone else we care about when, deep down inside we want to say “no.” Let me say this – you are not alone; saying “no” can be difficult. With loved ones, we don’t want to let them down or disappoint them in any way. However, it is essential to know when to start setting boundaries and putting your foot down when you see that you don’t want to do something.

If you feel confident that you can say “no” without guilt or rethinking your decision, that is amazing! Please pass these reasons along to someone you know who struggles with this vital life skill; let’s continue to help each other grow.

#1: Saying “no” is a self-care practice

If there is any way to build your character and practice self-care, it is by telling others “no” when you need the time to recharge and take care of yourself and your needs. Even when you might be invited someplace, but you are overwhelmed with preparing for exams, saying “no” will allow you to practice self-care by creating time to put your remaining energy into things that can help you de-stress and feel better. Stating “no” permits you to gain control of your life again, while also performing a radicalized form of self-care, helping you not only feel better but also increases your awareness of the respect you give yourself.

#2: protecting your energy

Your energy is sacred and is not something anyone should be able to manipulate, regardless of the reason. To protect your energy means to work on eliminating negativity and avoiding disturbances actively. You are putting boundaries to preserve your energy and mental health by saying “no.” When always saying “yes” to something you actually would prefer saying “no” to, you are harming yourself more than doing good. You allow people to believe you are always open access for them, their favors, or other requests. Pay attention to yourself and your needs; no matter what, you deserve a break and the time to prioritize yourself first.

#3: Life goes on

An important fact to remember is that you cannot please everyone in your life. When we permit people to access ourselves, we often need to consider the possibility that they may not entirely have our best interests at heart. Please do not feel guilty when telling someone you do not want to partake in something they have asked of you. Instead, relinquish that you are maintaining control and balance in your life — only some people deserve your time, energy, and effort. You are the only one who can make the choices that will lead to your happiness. Don’t base your happiness on whether or not someone is okay with you saying “no” to them, regardless if it is family, a co-worker, or even sometimes a friend. Put yourself first; someone else will always have an opinion of you and your decisions. You do not owe anyone anything when making decisions to fulfill your goals and happiness better; life continues.

The true power behind saying “no” is narrowed down to the impact and the effect it has on our mental well-being and brain. Saying “no” is a decisive step toward living the life you want with full autonomy and confidence in your decision-making. Your journey to a fulfilling and gentle life begins when you recognize that it is entirely okay to say “no.”

Ciara Santiago

U Mass Boston '25

Ciara is a Junior majoring in psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She loves to paint, watch movies, listen to music and podcasts, and read avidly. They advocate for mental health and wellness and hope to share this passion with others.