No. It’s a word with only two letters, but it’s one of the most powerful in the world. This simple word has the power to free you of commitments, take back your time, and cultivate calmness and mindfulness.
Women are afraid to say “no,” as it may be perceived as “I don’t know” or “I am not good enough.” And because women are socialized into caring for everyone and everything around them, it’s entirely possible that the word “no” has slipped out of your vocabulary, replaced with an eternal unenthusiastic “yes.”
But there are plenty of problems with saying “yes.” Saying yes to everything leads to stress and exhaustion, as you pile on emotional and work-related commitments until your schedule is full to bursting.
As a result, even the strongest of us suffer when we say yes. We have no patience, make mistakes, and become unproductive. We take work home, and start stealing time from our family.
“Yes” leads to a negative cycle where you beat yourself up for the mistakes that result from tiredness. You don’t sleep well, which leads to more anxiety and fear.
It can be hard to say “no,” especially as a natural people pleaser. Here are a few ways to make using that powerful word easier.
- Start valuing your time. Realizing that your time is valuable is the first step to freeing yourself from other commitments. You deserve time for your hobbies and to relax — as well as time to complete all your work thoroughly.
- Learn to prioritize your jobs and projects. Learning the basics of time management, and then how to apply those principles to your job and projects, can free up more time than you’ve ever imagined. Don’t give equal weight to small, trivial things that don’t matter.
- Stop thinking that you have to be a people pleaser so they’ll accept, appreciate, and love you. Your value does not arise from external sources, but your inner acceptance and worth. If people leave you after you begin saying no, chances are they were time and energy vampires who offered you little in return.
- Work on your agenda first. If you prioritize your well-being above the requests others make of you, you’ll quickly learn the best way to make use of your time.
The last point might be one of the most difficult for women to accept, but when you realize that you are just as unique, important, and valid as everyone around you, your appreciation for your own time will go up and you will start saying “no.”