Women need to lear how to say no.

Why I'm Done Being A 'Yes Woman'

I'm saying yes to saying no!

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I've long been surrounded by superwomen. They're strong. They're selfless. They're caring. But what makes them super is that they never, ever say "no."

I grew up thinking the number of times a woman said "yes" equated to their success. I thought and still do to some extent, that the number of organizations and activities listed on a woman's resume defined their leadership prowess and set them apart from all the rest. I sought to prove myself by satisfying others' requests and let the number of activities I could juggle stabilize my self-esteem. Overextension was an understatement.

But where does this incessant need to satisfy people's requests come from? Perhaps it comes from my need to please people. Maybe it stems from my fear of confrontation, or maybe it comes from my inability to make decisions regarding the direction my life takes.

Now that I'm in college, I realize that I'm a serial user of that dreaded three letter word because of the last explanation. More than my desire to be well-liked or fear of confrontation, I've always been indecisive. I'd rather avoid the awkward tension that comes with weighing the pros and cons of a decision entirely by answering people's requests with a resounding "Yes!" "Yes" is a directional word for me- it means moving forward, it means being optimistic and positive, it's a validation of my ability to do something and do a good job.

But what I've come to learn and what Vanessa M. Patrick, Associate Professor of Marketing at the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, says is that "the ability to communicate 'no' reflects that you are in the driver's seat of your own life." And for women, being in the driver's seat in our own lives is a necessity.

I realize now that I've internalized indecisiveness as a feminine trait, and that at heart I've relegated myself to insecurity and anxiety when it comes to making decisions because I've been taught that that's a masculine trait. My inability to say no reduces my power as a student, as a woman, and as a leader.

Taking decision-making off the table further distracts me from pursuing my greatest passions and curiosities. By placing myself on a path that seems to be made for me and playing into the essentialist perspective I betray myself and my own independence. So now, I refuse to accept the path that's presented to me. I refuse overextension. I refuse to be timid in the face of decision making and pledge to be diligent in saying, "no."

"No" does not mean closing a door. "No" means focus, it means direction, it means the enhancing my true purpose in a journey made by me for me.

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50 Things To Be Happy About

It's the little things in life.
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It is always easier to pick out the negatives in life. We tend to dwell on them and drown out the happy moments. I asked a friend to tell me something that made them happy. They sarcastically laughed at my question then thought about it for a minute. Nothing. But they could easily come up with things that made them unhappy. Then I read them my list, and they were smiling and laughing in agreement the whole time. There are so many more things to be happy and laugh about than we realize. After all- it's the little things in life that can mean the most! Here are 50 things that make me happy. What are your 50?

  1. The first warm day of the year
  2. Laughing so hard your abs ache
  3. Freshly washed sheets
  4. Looking through old pictures
  5. The smell of a coffee shop
  6. Eating cookie dough
  7. Reading a bible verse that perfectly fits your current situation
  8. Seeing someone open a gift you got them
  9. Eating birthday cake
  10. A shower after a long day
  11. Marking something off your to-do list
  12. Drinking ice cold water on a really hot day
  13. Dressing up for no reason
  14. Breakfast food
  15. Being able to lay in bed in the morning
  16. Finding something you love at the store
  17. And it’s on sale
  18. Cute elderly couples
  19. When a stranger compliments you
  20. Getting butterflies in your stomach
  21. Taking a nap
  22. Cooking something delicious
  23. Being lost for words
  24. Receiving a birthday card in the mail
  25. And there's money in it
  26. Finally cleaning your room
  27. Realizing how fortunate you are
  28. Waking up from a nightmare and realizing it wasn't real
  29. Fresh fruit
  30. Walking barefoot in the grass
  31. Singing along to a song in the car
  32. Sunrises
  33. Sunsets
  34. Freshly baked cookies with a glass of milk
  35. Summertime cookouts
  36. Feeling pretty
  37. Looking forward to something
  38. Lemonade
  39. Comfortable silences
  40. Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you have more time to sleep
  41. Surviving another school year
  42. The cold side of the pillow
  43. The smell of popcorn
  44. Remembering something funny that happened
  45. Laughing to yourself about it
  46. Feeling weird about laughing to yourself
  47. Printed photographs
  48. Wearing a new outfit
  49. The sound of an ice cream truck
  50. Feeling confident
Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Before You Hand Over Your DNA To 23AndMe, Learn What You're Really Signing Up For

Think before you spit.

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In the past 20 years, we have seen genetic testing go from a million dollar per person investment to a $99 direct-to-consumer kit. The relative accessibility of genetic testing comes with a price, and it is not the price we see at the time of check-out.

As with any medical testing, researchers and scientists in these industries are keen to utilize patient data for population analysis. Much of this work is for the betterment of society and to promote research and development efforts for drug-related clinical trials.

In a recent New York Times editorial, "Why You Should Be Careful About 23andMe's Health Test," the writer(s) make a clear point that disease risk analysis isn't dichotomous. The well-known genetic testing company has met "FDA approval" to roll-out their newest kit for gene-based health risks for diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, breast cancer, and several other medical conditions, however, this does not necessarily indicate "clinical utility." Insofar as the physician ordered diagnostic testing, it's actually more robust.

So what good is genetic testing, if there are significant issues, which may allude or delude a person into thinking that they have an increased or decreased risk for a disease which they have no control over, such as degenerative neurological conditions?

Consider also, there are frequent "reclassification" of genetic mutations, as scientific research constantly evolves to understand the vast landscape of the human genome. The implications of "reclassifying" genetic mutations translate to clinical misinformation, and overall inconsistencies between the creators of the kits to the patients, and the physician's, if they are involved in the equation. As it would seem, the results of a genetic test are understood to be the "truth," however, this is a common misunderstanding, which can cause grave medical implications downstream for patients.

Scary to think that a mutation considered to be benign may be considered malignant tomorrow.

How should this shape your view on genetic testing? Whether you have a known family history of a genetic condition or have an unknown carrier status, you should consider speaking to your primary care doctor to discuss the implications of physician-ordered testing kits and or direct-to-consumer kits. Moreover, there are less complicated diseases known as Mendelian conditions which are typically better known and understood, as they are controlled by a single locus in an inheritance pattern.

Additionally, there are board-certified genetic counselors who work alongside physicians, industry labs, and so forth who are trained to educate, inform, and empower patients in terms of their genetic predisposition. Their role in genetic testing is crucial, but as the typical doctor's visit is less than 10 minutes, this does not allow for comprehensive genetic counseling inclusive of all other necessary measures.

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