The Power of No

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Adulting is obligations.

When it comes to going to work or paying your bills, it can be impossible to say no. You can’t choose which bills you feel like paying or what days you feel like working. Work takes up the majority of our week so it’s important to do what you desire with the time you have outside of the office.

Here’s the issue, obligations continue into your personal life. There are dinners and date nights, bridal showers and birthdays, weddings and work events etc. There are events that you want to attend, events you don’t want to attend, and events that you can’t afford to attend but do so anyway.

I’m an introvert. I love my alone time. I am living my best life when I’m at home, in sweat pants, with a book in my lap and a coffee in my hand. I love it. The issue I struggle with is that I am also a people-pleaser. I tend to say yes before I think about if I can, should, will or want to do whatever is being asked of me.

Instead of saying yes I should've said No thanks, I know I won’t feel like going out after work on Friday. No thanks, I really can’t afford another wedding/stag/shower this year and I’d rather use the money I do have to go on vacation. No thanks, I get anxious in big groups but I’ll be there if you want to grab a coffee just the two of us. Or simply no thanks. There doesn’t always have to be an explanation. These ‘yes’ scenarios usually end with me sending an apologetic cancellation text 12-24 hours before the outing. More often than not, this text includes a buffer lie or two.

What irks me is the guilt attached to saying no. The embarrassment that comes with not being able to afford to go to X, Y, Z or wanting to use my hard-earned money to do something else. What upsets me is being afraid that I will offend someone by saying no.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to think before I say yes, either via text message or IRL. I’ve been trying to listen to my gut and reminding myself that my time and money is precious and if I don’t protect it, no one else will. What I’ve learned is that if you’re upfront from the start, people are less angry and more understanding. If you say no thanks people tend not to ask why, and if people are offended, that’s on them, not you.

I noticed that I’ve been spending more time on things that I want to do rather than things I feel obligated to do. It’s been freeing in a way I didn’t know was possible. Saying no is not always the easiest thing to do, but it just might be the most beneficial. It leaves so much more room for the things you really want to say YES to!