Saying No: A Tool of Self-Care
In this exhausting world, so much is asked of us. Sometimes these offers come in the form of tasks or an extra work load. On the other hand, sometimes these extensions we have to turn down come in the form of social gatherings, people, or advice. There often comes a time when we feel like this is all too much. We may have pressures on us internally, or externally, to be able to do it all. The realistic answer is that we can’t.
We have to ask ourselves: what do I really want? And what is important to me at this time in my life? At the top of our list of things we care about, we, ourselves, must be number one. Saying yes and taking care of others cannot come at the cost of destroying ourselves, or neglecting what is truly important to us. If we are worn down, we will have nothing to give at all.
Our energy is not an infinite resource and at many times saying no to one thing, is actually saying yes to something else. It is a yes to taking care and re-establishing self-preservation as our number one priority. This is self-love. We are such a valuable piece of a number of communities at one given time, it is no wonder there is so much asked of us.
The way you spend your time, energy, and resources must align with the things that are
most important to you. How we devote these things in our lives shape our realities. So much of the time, we say a number of things are important to us, but the way we allocate our time, energy, or resources depicts otherwise. Day by day we have outside circumstances and people that influence the way we make our choices and it is often difficult to be critical. Take the time to be introspective and list the things that are most important to you. If the way you spend your days does not reflect the things you listed, it may be time to re-organize and re-prioritize.
Taking back the power to say no to things that strain the ability for us to feel the way we wish to feel or do the things we wish to do is the key to taking control of our future.
Our ability to say no is an exercise of our freedom. Taking care of ourselves may look
like rest, or it may look like allocating our time to things we are passionate about. This is up to you, and the beautiful part of saying no is that it is part of building our lives the way we wish to. We can find balance through managing our commitments and the time we allocate to rest.
Sometimes people in our lives may extend invitations or offers with good intentions, but it is ultimately our burden to judge if this is truly good for us. Find it in yourself to give the opportunity to rest and show yourself love. Pushing yourself to do more than you can, or engage in activities that aren’t rewarding, is tiresome. Much of the time, we might not have the option to decline, in situations such as workplace or family obligations, but when we can afford to spend our time in favourable ways, we owe it to ourselves enjoy our life.
In the moment, the pressure might be on to give an answer. Often, people near and dear
to us in our lives are the ones who have the most to ask of us. If you are put on the spot and may be easily persuaded to give more than you can, a practical alternative may be buying some time. A default answer may be I have to check my schedule or I’ll get back to you. This can create an optimal circumstance where you can give a mindful answer at another time. The catch is that you must actually get back to them. This gives us the time to formulate a thoughtful and meaningful answer to respectfully decline. We must do it with consideration and good intentions.
Turning down people in our lives might be hard, or come with it some guilt. If you always are the one people go to for a yes this may take some time to create a new expectations. It might be a surprise to those around you, so if anything, find it in you to be kind and understanding. The strategic answers and new forms of relationships take time and practice, but at the end of it is the liberty to build your life the way you want to. The power you have to say no to things not in your best interest is one of the ways you can practice self love and self-preservation.
To put this in practice, it might be more challenging than expected. When finally faced with the circumstances, we must be critical. Why am I doing this? Does this align with my morals? Does
it require straying away from what is most important to me? Do I have the time, energy, or resources to take this on? Can I do this and be happy? We must be careful to not over extend ourselves. Even if it may be feasible on some level, we should strive for more than survival. By critically analyzing what we engage in, we give ourselves the power act in accordance with what’s important to us and show ourselves kindness.
Written by: Eva Pomedli