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Learning to Say No

Lend yourself to others, give yourself to yourself

You know those nights when you just really want to stay home and be alone, and then your phone beeps with a text from a friend asking to hang out?

Or that day when you’re just overloaded with work and your boss comes along and ask if you could help out with this other project?

Or…when you’re dead tired from work and your dad asks you to help out with something?

In those moments, most of us would probably want to say no to whatever is being asked of us, but more often than not, we feel obligated to be a good friend, worker or kid – so we simply agree.

Maybe we’re all so used to living that way that we don’t see a problem with it, instead, we feel guilty if we don’t say yes to these people. Sometimes, that can cause us to stretch ourselves way too thin, and we may even end up resenting these people. We think that it’s them that’s draining us, but in reality, it’s really our choices.

For a long time, I never knew how to say no – to people, to projects, lunches or just simply being there. But there were just so many occasions where I didn’t want to be there – I just wanted some ‘me time’ and I was just so frustrated over how people around me didn’t understand that! It wasn’t even their fault!

Slowly, I learned that it’s okay to say ‘no’. It’s okay to want to be alone and recharge whatever’s inside you. It’s okay to want to have internal monologues and have people think you’re anti-social. Whatever, man.

Storyteller, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, says this in the best way in her poem ‘The Invitation’:

“I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”

I, personally think that at the end of the day, if you’re going to be out there, pleasing others and being unhappy with yourself – that’s got to suck – and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hang out with a tired, resentful version of me.

So, yes, make time for others, but don’t forget to schedule in a couple of hours for yourself. Plus, in the end, it’s not so much about saying no to others, what it really is about, is saying yes to yourself.

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