Learning To Say No
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Health Wellness

The Word 'No' Needs To Become A Permanent Part Of Your Vocabulary

What's so hard about a one-syllable, two-letter word?

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The Word 'No' Needs To Become A Permanent Part Of Your Vocabulary
Sweet Ice Cream Photography

I'm one of those people who is really good at giving advice, but absolutely terrible at taking it.

I could sit here all day and advise you on your relationship problems, how to deal with a coworker or whatever else it is that you may have a problem with. But as soon as it's me with the problem, all words of wisdom fly right out the window. So here I am, speaking it into the universe once again, in hopes of actually taking my own advice: We shouldn't be so afraid of the word 'no'.

First off, why are we so afraid of the word no?

For such a tiny, one-syllable word, I (along with many others) have such a hard time using it. Is it because we're scared to hurt someone's feelings? Possibly because it's easier to beat around the bush rather than ripping off the band-aid? Or maybe it's because we don't want to seem flaky, rude, selfish or whatever other negatively-charged emotion comes along with the word.

I think one of the main reasons saying no can be so hard is because of a little bitch named empathy.

Although sometimes I hate to show it, I am such an empathic person. I love making the people I love happy when I have the opportunity. I don't enjoy letting people down, but at the same time, it's not all that great when I end up letting myself down instead. Because ultimately, by refusing to say no, we're hurting ourselves more than we'd be hurting someone else.

Some instances where I'm afraid to say no aren't even such a big deal.

It's something as simple as a manager or co-worker asking to pick up another shift that you reaaaalllly don't want, yet you feel obligated to say yes because it's your manager and you care about your job. Or something as trivial as someone offering food that you know you won't like, yet you eat it anyway because you don't want to offend them or hurt their feelings.

Other times, saying no sounds like the worst possible idea ever, so instead, you either go along with it or just ignore it—both of which are terrible habits and can take a toll on your mental wellbeing. Who are you helping by agreeing to be in an uncomfortable or undesirable situation? Clearly not yourself.

And you're really not doing anyone any favors by just ignoring the whole thing. Unfortunately for this case, the phrase "out of sight, out of mind" doesn't apply.

While I do still have trouble saying no, I've learned lately that I don't really owe anything to anyone except myself.

There's nothing to gain by compromising your happiness, your sanity, your values or anything else that's on the table. When you really think about it, you're doing a disservice to everyone. If they really care about you, they shouldn't feel comfortable putting you in a situation that you yourself are uncomfortable with. And it's this realization that's led me to want to say no more often.

I am 110% guilty of all these things. But with a little practice (and a few mental pep talks) I think I can cut that percentage in half. Baby steps, amirite?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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