Saying No | The First Step To A Healthy Lifestyle
Sometimes it’s hard to say No.
A word so small yet, can make such a huge difference in your life and state of mind.
With just two letters, one syllable...it can free up your time, take weight off your shoulders, and provide emotional, physical and mental stability in areas of your life that were so bogged down with pressure that you were ready to combust.
One simple word; but, one of the most powerful tools we possess.
These past few weeks I’ve been trying to train my new puppy; which means No has officially become the most used word in my vocabulary.
“No, leave that alone,” “No, stay off the rug,” “NO! Don’t chew mommy’s baseboards --- Sir, this apartment is rented.”
I don’t think I’ve said No this much in my life! But, in the midst of all the “No’s” and all the times I've yelled, “George -- do you have a job? Do you pay bills? Leave that alone,” I started to wonder…
Why isn’t saying No this easy in the rest of my life.
At work, at home, in my personal and family life -- it seems like No is rarely ever used.
Can you do this, can I borrow that? Can you pay for this, can you help me handle that?
Everybody needs or wants something, and I can’t seem to just say no.
In all reality, it’s not that I can’t, it’s that I won't. I don’t want to disappoint anyone; I don’t want to let anyone down. I mean if you can help, you should help --- right?
In theory, yes; but, the problem with never saying No is, sometimes, you get so focused on helping others that you forget about yourself. You end up taking on everybody else’s burdens, and forget about your own. You neglect your work to help them finish theirs. You neglect your goals to help them achieve theirs. You neglect your needs to help them with theirs, until finally, you end up losing yourself.
You lose your own focus and end up falling behind because you’re so caught up in keeping everyone else afloat.
And the truth is, it’s hard. It takes an emotional, physical, mental and financial toll on you. It can leave you feeling burnt out, weighed down, and exhausted until the weight of all your responsibilities comes crashing down.
It can feel like you're drowning and you don't know how to come up for air. You have big problems and there seems to be no solution.
But, there is one! Two letters. One Syllable.
You can Just. Say. No.
This past week, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and I realized that a lot of my stress could be alleviated if I just said no.
It’s okay to tell my coworkers, “I’m sorry, I wish I could help today; but, I’m so bogged down with my own assignments, I just can’t.”
It’s okay to tell my friends, “I’d love to be a bridesmaid; but, financially I’m just not in a place to do it right now.”
It’s okay to tell my family, “I wish I could help, but I just don’t have the time/resources to do it.”
It’s funny because I’m an avid lover of Rupaul’s Drag Race, and with all the antics and challenges, at the end of every episode Ru poses such an important question: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell can you love somebody else?”
This concept is so poignant because it forces you to look at you:
If you can’t do something for yourself, how can you do something for somebody else?”
Yes -- I know we’re not talking about love, but this ideology is so applicable. How can you help someone else, if you need help? If you’re drowning? If you’re struggling?
How can you give time if you have none? How can you give energy if yours is spent?
If you're tired, stressed out, overworked and over-burdened; if you're physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted, how can you give your best to others?
It's OKAY to put you first sometimes. It's okay to say right now you need to focus on you. Never sacrifice your dreams, goals, work, finances, etc to become an extra in somebody else’s movie.
Don’t neglect yourself to the point of destruction.
Don’t fail your exams helping someone else study.
Don’t get yourself fired trying to help your coworker complete their tasks.
Don’t get yourself evicted paying someone else’s bills.
Take care of you first.
That’s not to say be entirely selfish, or focus SOLELY on you all the time; it is just a reminder that there has to be balance. You can help if you’re in a position to; but, when your plate is just too full - it’s okay to say no.
It’s okay to say, “I have too much on my plate. I need a chance to lighten this load first.”
The best care is self-care; so, the next time someone needs something; but, you’re feeling too much pressure and you have no way to do it all, just remember you can say No.