The Power of Saying “No”

While I grew up, I was taught to say yes to everything. “Yes, of course, I’ll try that,” even if I really didn’t want to. “Yes, I’ll help you,” even though I really couldn’t. It seems that saying no to a person is the hardest thing to do. I used to feel guilty whenever I said no to someone. I thought I was letting them down whenever I couldn’t do anything to help them or please them. I kept on saying yes to everyone, and when people realized that, they just started to ask for more and more. Of course, that just left me exhausted and stressed. I’m sure you and a lot of people have experienced some similar things. Some of you find it really easy to say no but a considerable number of people, myself included, find it extremely difficult. That is why I decided it was time to think more about myself, and you should too.

You are probably thinking, “Who does she think she is? I can’t just go around throwing ‘NO’ around. I don’t want anyone to get mad at me.” But let me tell you about how this magical word can be the best thing you can say. We all need to learn how to say no to finally lift the weight off our minds and souls. Saying no has slowly helped me make more time to do the things I consider important to me. Whenever I say no, I free myself, bit by bit, of the constraints that come with saying yes. If I hadn’t started this journey, I probably would have ended up angry with myself and all the people that asked things of me. In the end, if your friends don’t understand why you’ve decided to change your life for the better and they just get angry at you, then they were not really your friends.

Ever wonder why people ask, “What are you doing?” all the time? Everyone asks that question: parents, friends, partners. We have been raised to think we have to be doing something all the time. “Clean your room!” says your mom; “Help your siblings with their homework,” says your dad; “You never go out with us,” say your friends. Well, guess what? Sometimes I don’t want to do anything, and I think you don’t either. We keep on pressuring ourselves to do more than what we can actually manage, and because of that we slowly exhaust our bodies and minds.  You need time for yourself, either to relax, sleep a little more than normal, meditate or just to think for a bit. Taking some time for you and stepping away from the hectic activities of your day is very important for your mental and physical health. Saying no is about recovering your energy and all the time lost, about being happy with yourself and your decisions. Whenever you need some time for yourself, just say it. Don’t be afraid of expressing why you need to take some time, I’m sure whoever needed you to say yes will understand, after all, I’m sure they have felt overwhelmed too.

For all these reasons, we should now say “No, I don’t want to go,” “No, I can’t help you with that,” “No, I can’t do that” or simply “No,” whenever we feel like it. You shouldn’t let people make you feel guilty or like you’re selfish just because you’re not doing what everyone else wants you to do. You don’t need to explain why you can’t or won’t do anything because you don’t owe anything to anyone. This process is clearly easier said than done. I’ve slowly freed myself from the pressure of saying yes to everything, but like everything in life, it’s a work in progress.


Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4