No is a complete sentence. Take a minute or as long as you need to think about that.
Staggering, right? Imagine living in a world where you, as a woman, can just say, “No.”, without following that with an apology and a legitimate reason why you can’t do something or be somewhere.
We grow up and live in a culture where we are expected to tow the line, please as many people as we can, and not offend anyone by not being willing to do something for them. This becomes even more difficult as women when we are already at a disadvantage in the number of times we are allowed to say ‘No’ to something or someone.
It is not so much that we aren’t allowed to say a No, but more to do with how the other person has the birthright to feel offended or rejected even if our No comes from a legitimate place.
But we are here to tell you that you can and that you should say a big, fat No in many life instances. It is not easy; we’ll give you that. Even Oprah had struggled with this lesson before she learned the value and relief of saying No.
1. Own your life
You are the sole creator and owner of your life. And if whatever someone is asking you to do does not sit well with your conscience, values, or life plan, feel free to stand up and say a firm No. If they want us to feel completely responsible for our lives, they are going to have to get used to our No henceforth.
2. No such thing as unlimited favors
Yes, you don’t owe anyone anything for the rest of your lives. Maybe you were young or unaware when you committed to a certain relationship or life experience. But now that you know better, you have the right to say No to its persistence in your life. And then there are those who hold our gratitude to their role as well-wishers as ransom and expect us to continue to please them. We’ve got news for you and them! You can be grateful without feeling the need to feel pressured to compromise on your life’s values and plans.
3. Change is the only constant
We all know this and quote it very often to people around us. So why then would you not accept that it is natural to move on from what you liked or preferred even a year ago? As we grow – not only age wise – we evolve and expand our mind’s horizons. You owe yourself to say No to circumstances and choices you no longer prefer and those that have the potential to stem your growth.
4. Happiness is your birthright
And you are the only one who understands what brings you happiness. So why hand over your power and responsibility to someone else and then wonder why you’re unhappy? If it’s a new job or a new relationship that you seek, go for it! But remember that these external factors can increase or decrease your happiness, they cannot create it.
5. You’re a priority
Yes, you are! Just the fact that you were born and that you exist means you get to be important, significant, valued and loved. Do not let anyone treat you as an option, or a backup plan, or as a second class citizen.
6. Your USP: You!
Remember when we told you that only you understand what brings you happiness? That’s because your dreams, your values, your ideas, your plans for your life are 100% unique to you. Even your mom whom you love the most in this life, or your bestie who does not want to travel to 30 countries before she turns 30, or your husband who does not feel tied down by a corporate job will understand you. And that’s okay!
7. Teach yourself to feel good
And if something doesn’t feel good, don’t do it! Don’t go clubbing if all you want is a lie-in. Don’t date a guy if you don’t feel ready to meet someone just yet. Don’t gossip at work just to be included among the cool kids. Be you, and maintain your integrity.
8. Selfish = self-love
Putting yourself first does not necessarily mean hurting someone. In a way, you are teaching both yourselves that each one is a priority and each one’s values and dreams matter. Your best friend may not get why you don’t want another chatting session, but if what you want to do is calm your mental chatter and read a book, do that!
9. Excuses aren’t good enough
Because they make you feel worse for letting someone down for the wrong reasons. Be honest and tell them upfront why you don’t want to do something. Don’t endanger your relationship with dishonesty.
10. Don’t follow the herd
This may have been necessary in high school, but you see how old habits die hard? If it doesn’t feel right to do or say something, don’t feel pressured by your peer group. Maybe you will lose them, but you will find your tribe.
It is interesting that we are taught to accept a lot of tasks and life experiences that we don’t enjoy or even want, but when we tell those (who teach us to say Yes to everything) about how we feel stuck/miserable/resentful of our lives, they turn around and tell us we are responsible for everything in our lives. It may be hard in the beginning, but stay true to yourself so that those around you also learn their own value.