It has taken me years and years of trying to be good by not saying no, to finally realize that I have only been unfair to myself and probably failed to love myself first.
A family member, friend, business partner, boy/girlfriend, husband/wife, boss or just someone random is asking for a “favour” you are sure you don’t want to give, but you simply can’t say NO!
You know too well your heart is not in it but you will do it anyway. Because you feel or think saying no is being selfish, will make you look too bad, you will be hurting them and most importantly you don’t want to lose them.
So you end up doing things you actually needed to say no to, in the hope of being viewed as unselfish, good and being liked.
Society has a way of sanitizing its evils, and condemning us when we say no is just but one.
“You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.” — Lori Deschene
My journey to learning to say no to others has not been easy. No single day, for the longest time now, has gone by without me doing random searches on how best to say no to others without hurting them.
Ever sat back to imagine that not all “NOs” we should be saying are actually bad or hurting to the recipients
My girl is the kind of kids who will ask for chocolate in place of a healthy and heavy meal for dinner. And in the event of trying to be a “good” mother, I most times could give in to her demands, while I should have said no and asked her to take her meals.
Your friend asks you for an evening out for coffee and you need to be home with the kids and that is where your heart is. But for the sake of being a good friend and the desire of being likable, you fail to say no and give in.
Your boss keeps giving you assignments while there are a number still in your in-tray, this is affecting your performance but you won’t say no because you feel the need to continue being viewed as a good and hardworking employee?
There is that voice that will always tell you “Saying no to other people is wrong, terrible and selfish.” No! It is NOT! It’s actually mature and okay. Very okay.
What really matters is not that you said NO and to who, but the Why, When and How that comes with the NO.
To you, who keeps saying yes to things you know you should refuse, is your cup of responsibilities already overflowing by other people’s demands yet you are still accepting avoidable responsibilities? This is for you.
But so often we are so busy giving love to others, we forget to give love to ourselves.
Love matters. It might be the thing that matters most. Giving love to ourselves first can help us give more love to others.
“Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31
Loving yourself enough is not equal to being selfish nor does it mean letting yourself be a doormat. Ignoring people and resorting to loneliness is not loving yourself. It does not mean always letting you have your own way.
Loving yourself means doing what is good and healthy for you. It means leading a peaceful life. It means delayed gratification. It is all about being mature enough to say no to the petty desires that we often give in to. It means knowing what is best for you and choosing it.
You will never be bold enough to say no to others if you have not learnt to love yourself enough to say NO to your own self.
If you cannot take a NO from someone else because you are protecting your ego from hurting, then you will never learn to say no to the rest. How you feel bad and hurt when taking a NO from another person will make you think everyone else feels the same way when receiving it.
We’ve never learnt how to handle NO in a healthy manner. So we say yes to other people’s requests when we know we shouldn’t.
“When you learn how to love yourself — not by indulging yourself, but by saying no to yourself (to your unhealthy desires), you will know how to say no to others in a healthy manner as well.”