"When you say "Yes" to others, make sure you are not saying "No" to yourself-Paule Coelho
I hear so much about the power of saying yes. Say yes to new experiences. Say yes because “it’s the right thing to do”. Well, too often people are saying yes and in turn depleting all of their energy by serving others. It’s ok to say yes sometimes but we should learn how to say no as well. This year I am going to focus on saying no to things that cause unhappiness, uneasiness, and that are un-budget-friendly. Sometimes in order to pursue happiness we need to learn that we can’t just say yes to everything. There is power in saying no. Ironically, when you say no you’re actually saying yes to taking care of your own needs.
How often do we feel negative feelings, such as guilt or selfishness when we say no to people? Wouldn’t it be awesome to decline an invitation somewhere? Not because we have other important plans. But simply because we just don’t feel like going. If we ever cannot do something for someone, we don’t just say no. We usually justify why and then apologize. “I can’t babysit for you tonight because I have to work late. Sorry!”. Sometimes we make up an explanation just to make ourselves feel better. How about just saying I can’t do it or I don’t want to and leaving it at that. Why do we have to apologize? What are we actually sorry for?
We feel bad for saying no and then we feel worse for lying about why we can’t do it. Just say no thank you. No thank you, I don’t want to go to your dog’s birthday party. No thank you, I don’t want to split the bill when all I had was water and an appetizer. No thank you, I don’t want to give you my number. (I no longer say I have a boyfriend or I’m just getting out of a serious situation and I need time to heal. Both of these statements are untrue and make me feel awkward that I have to quickly think of a lie to make him feel like I’m not rejecting him. But actually I am still rejecting him. So now we both feel bad and now he wants to be my therapist to help me get over this imaginary relationship). No thank you.
It’s not just saying no to events or propositions. It’s also about giving a truthful response when sometimes the answer to a question is no. A few years ago I decided not to lie anymore. I have never been a pathological liar or had a problem with being truthful. However, I wanted to be very thoughtful and accurate about what I say to people and how I answer certain questions. For example, I would go on vacation and when I got back to the office I would hear, “we missed you, did you miss us?” Naturally, the response would be “Yes, I missed you guys too!” But that’s a lie. I didn’t miss my coworkers when I was laying on the beach sipping mojitos. Therefore, I am not going to lie and say that I did just to fulfil societal expectations of making someone else feel good, which in turn makes me feel bad for not being sincere.
By no means am I saying that we should go around being rude to people by saying no or that we should be completely selfish. Of course there are times that we need to suck it up and say yes, even if it causes us temporary discomfort. We still have to go to our grandmother’s house for the holidays even though it smells like moth balls. However, I believe that we should be genuine with ourselves and learn to put ourselves first sometimes without feeling bad about it. Say yes to the things that are important to you and bring you joy. Say no to the things that make you feel bad about yourself or take away your peace.