“No” can be an incredibly hard word to say. But it can be very powerful and is something that should be in your vocabulary.
The word “no” has a bad rap. It is commonly associated with being negative, letting people down or staying in your comfort zone. But in actual fact, “no” should be used to your advantage in your everyday life. Saying “no” is important to your wellbeing just like sleep, a balanced diet and exercise. This two-letter word has the power to help you prioritise what you want to do in life, build boundaries, nurture relationships, and reduce stress.
When we choose to say “yes” to everything and do not set boundaries, we often end up feeling burned out, stressed and overwhelmed. We all want to be liked or accepted, and to do that we tend to strive to please other people.
For most of my life so far I have been a people pleaser who has always been scared to say “no.” That is until I started counseling and I learned that saying “no” and putting my needs first is an act of self-love and self-care. Saying that two-letter word doesn’t make you a bitch and it doesn’t make you selfish. At first it feels completely alien to switch your mindset from a people pleaser to a me-pleaser, but you are guaranteed to feel and notice a difference after a while. There have been a couple of times in my life that stand out where I have said “no”…
The time I said “no” in a job. I was working in London as a freelance photographer and this particular client was someone I was working with each month. One day I was asked to do something I wasn’t contracted to do and shit hit the fan. To say she was unprofessional is an understatement, and it was after I received that email from her I decided that “no,” I wasn’t going to do this. I walked out and never looked back. You can read about the whole fiasco in this blog post.
The time I said “no” in a relationship. I had the displeasure of finding myself in a number of shotty relationships during my early twenties, however one stands out from the rest. It lasted for 6 months and I was unhappy throughout the whole thing. I ignored every red flag, I ignored my friends and families, and most annoyingly I ignored my gut instinct. After getting some cold, hard evidence that he had slept with someone else, I confronted him and he gave the same excuses he had every other time. But this time something in my mindset changed and I decided “no,” I’m not going to put up with this and I ended it there and then. You can read all about lessons learned after dating a f*ckboy in this blog post.
If you are nervous about say “no” there are alternative ways you can say it which may make you feel less guilty:
“Let me think about it.” This doesn’t give a definite yes or no answer which takes the limelight off of you especially if you have been put on the spot.
“I can’t today, but how about…” If you feel you might be interested in something at a later date, use this. We all have those days where you’d rather hibernate at home and that is totally fine!
“Thank you for thinking of me, but…” If you have been invited to an event by someone but you do not want to get involved for one reason or another, instead of outright saying “no,” thank them for their invite and then give your reason as to why you can’t make it.
Do you find it difficult to say “no”? Do yourself a favour and use it more often!
Photos – Fordtography