Just the thought of saying “no” to any service-specific question can be terrifying to some people – especially people-pleasers. It can stir up feelings of letting people down by not being there for them when they need you. Even worse, what if they don’t like you anymore?
In my early twenties, it didn’t matter how busy or stressed out I was, you’d likely get a “yes” or “no problem” out of me if you asked me to do something for you. I think back to that time and wonder why I went out of my way so often for people who, now I realize, were taking advantage of me. Even when their intent was not malicious, I’d often put others before myself.
This does not make me a good person and I don’t say it so you think I am. This simply makes me a people-pleaser and someone who was scared of being less liked. If I didn’t go with the flow and just agree to do something I either didn’t have time for or just didn’t want to do, I felt I was disappointing them. I would let myself be put in crazy scenarios especially when the person asking was older, someone I wanted to impress, or someone I really cared for (like a best friend or family member).
At the time I didn’t really see anything wrong with it since all my life I believed you treat people how you would like to be treated. That’s a simple, standard rule of life right? Not really. It took me years and many let-downs to realize that some people take advantage. And the worst part was it was affecting my well-being tremendously.
Below are some of my reasons for setting healthy boundaries and why it’s so important to say “no” more often.
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3 reasons to say “no” more often
You come first
If you read many of my other posts you’ll quickly realize that I talk about self-care quite often. I believe it’s a huge part of living a healthy and happy life. When you take care of yourself and put yourself first (yes, even before your spouse, children, dog, family, etc) you can better serve them. You can’t give if you don’t have anything to give. This isn’t easy and sometimes you’ll be forced to serve feeling like the cup is half full but at least you’ve made some effort to fill your cup first – even just a bit.
You can’t be everything to everyone
I currently struggle with this idea because I want to solve everyone’s problems and be their “go-to” when things go wrong. A lot of this stems from being a people-pleaser. And probably because I like being liked. But when you’re constantly putting out fires and dealing with everyone’s problems you leave no time for your own and you get burnt out fast.
I’m also always the listener, never the talker. For a long time, I didn’t easily open up about issues or problems I was going through. Not even to my best friends. It was always, “Everything’s fine here. Let’s talk and solve what’s going on with you.” Now that I’m older I’m realizing that I can’t do it all on my own and I need my people. Relationships are give-and-take and should never feel one-sided.
Your time, energy, well-being, priorities – they all matter. And when you’re faced with a difficult yes-or-no decision you should always weigh the situation. Being honest with whoever is asking something from you does not make you a bad person and it does not mean you don’t care about them. It simply means you care about yourself more. Sounds mean, I know, but why should caring about yourself be bad? It shouldn’t. And it’s not selfish.
A couple of months ago one of my dearest friends asked if I’d like to write some articles for an online publication. My first instinct was to say yes but then I thought about the time and energy I’d be putting forth for this project. It was unpaid and at the time I was juggling a ton of blog-related work plus tight deadlines for other freelance writing. I also had a lot of personal stuff going on. For the sake of my sanity, I had to say no. And guess what? We’re still super close and I didn’t drive myself crazy.
There will be times when saying “yes” is inevitable because this person seriously needs your help and even though it does nothing for your well-being or gets you to your goal, it’s the right thing to do; That’s an exception. But alllll the other times, remind yourself how important it is to set boundaries and stick to them.
Are you someone who struggles with saying “no”? I’d love to know why below!
Have a wonderful day loves!