The Dangers of Being a Yes-Woman, Part 2

I furiously flip through the pages of my worn planner, scanning hundreds of weekly “To Dos” for some semblance of free time. A text from my best friend Emily sent me into my desperate search, because she wants to grab coffee some time this week, and I really want to see her. And I also really need the coffee.

I double check this week’s page, cluttered with homework assignments, tests, and work project due dates. Zero free time.

Next week?

Nada.

Could I swing a quick lunch?

Nope. No time.

Defeated, I reply with the lame and overused excuse, “I just can’t swing it this week. We’ll meet up soon for sure.” Reading the words back makes me wince.

“You can’t be everything to everyone. You can’t be everything to everyone,” I recite to myself, as I hit send. Though the words should calm me, they tear me apart. I miss my friend.

Saying no is one of the hardest things for me to do—it’s led to 18 credits and a load of extracurriculars. But unfortunately, if I don’t flex my no muscle enough, it leads to even bigger and more disappointing no’s later on.

Frankly, not saying no enough sucks the life out of you. It’s led to countless late nights at the library, a mountain of looming due dates, lost sleep, and the occasional poor grade. My quality of life has decreased. I have burned out, freaked out, and missed out. Missing out is the worst—I cannot stand thinking about the amount of time that I have sacrificed precious time doing important things with wonderful people.

I’m learning that it isn’t about always saying no, it’s about learning when to say no. It’s about balance. And as I’ve figured out how and when to flex that no muscle, my schedule has gotten easier, and I’ve had more room to breathe and just enjoy life as it comes. But until I’ve perfected the art of no, here’s to my quest for peace and harmony.