A simple word. Short, sweet and to the point. And yet at the same time, for a lot of us, it is a hard word to say. Why? Why is it so hard to make a decision that goes against someone? Why do we feel the need to make up some sort of excuse like, "Sorry, I can't, plans with the family" rather than just say that you won't be coming?
When I was younger, in the midst of puberty, something changed. I went from being a carefree kid to one that constantly craved to please others. In my eyes, if I didn't make people smile or laugh, or get invitations to a sleepover or to sit with someone at lunch, I had failed. I taught myself to change how I acted, to be someone other than myself, to please others, hoping that would mean I would have friends. That backfired, however, when I got older. I lost the ability to say no.
I would end up attending things I didn't want to. I would help someone who asked for my help even though I didn't think they deserved it. If I was friends with someone who was toxic, I would have a hard time getting away from them, and I would end up getting used because I couldn't say no. It was actually because of one of these relationships that it hit me what the problem was.
There comes a time in everyone's life when they realize they have to learn to say no. For the sake of your happiness, "no" should be as easy to say as it is to pronounce. You can't go to everything. You can't help everyone. You can't let someone push you down to help themselves get farther. What I was doing was wearing myself out. I couldn't handle it. And I was terribly unhappy. I thought I was helping these people and that since they were my friends, that it would make me happy. Once I learned to say no, though, the smile I craved came back.
Don't change yourself for anyone else, and don't let yourself be used! The "friends" you make when you aren't yourself won't make you happy. The ones you make when you are being true to yourself love you for being who you are, and that is what will actually make you happy. It's a word we all know, and it's a word that tends to be hard to say, but to keep your own sanity and to find your own happiness, that little word can make all the difference.