The way my life is set up, I am the worst at being a "yes" person. Always have been and probably always will be if I'm completely honest. From not wanting to hurt someone's feelings to being afraid of missing out on an opportunity that could change my life, I am really bad at saying no.
But when my energy and well-being are the ones suffering, something's gotta give, and it could only be my health and self-care for so long.
When I started saying no, I felt just as liberated as those days after work when I relieve myself of my bra and pants (sometimes I say no to certain things for the sole purpose of being able to do just that). It just brings this empowering feeling of balance, boundaries, and all things self-care. While saying no still calls for cringe-worthy moments of awkwardness, it's so needed.
It's Okay If You Have Nothing On Your Schedule
Having no plans doesn't mean you have to say yes to something just to fill the empty space. I used to feel so guilty about saying no to going to an event, babysitting, etc. when I didn't have anything else to do. I just didn't want to do that.
I once heard someone give this suggestion as a tactic to say no and I literally hollered. I still have yet to put it in motion, but it's definitely in the vault for ways to decline an offer if I ever feel like doing so it could be super awkward. Basically, if someone asks you to do something that you really don't want to, tell them, "I have something on the schedule." And then go and write the word "something" in your calendar app or wherever you actually keep your schedule.
It sounds kind of corny but even if your "something" is going home, taking off your bra, and binging on Netflix for a much needed rest day, that's completely fine.
Don't feel like you have to explain or justify it just to say no.
Have A Cut-Off Time For Work
Working as a full-time freelancer, it became really difficult to have a work-life balance. Especially when how much work I do directly impacts my coins. So you can probably see why saying no became really hard for me once I embraced the freelance lifestyle head-on.
There was absolutely no balance in the timeframe that I worked, so it wasn't rare for me to burn the midnight oil for the sake of the grind (and again, my coins). But when you get to a point where your fatigue impacts your work, there's a clear problem. Because without a balance, it's only a matter of time before it does. I had to start setting a designated time I would work each day and not go beyond that. Whether it was holding off on answering emails until the next morning or turning down an event because I desperately needed a lazy day, being intentional about a work-life balance is one of the best ways to have a balance overall. It just calls for saying no every once in a while.
Designate A "Give Fund" And Don't Go Beyond It
Saying no doesn't just mean turning down invitations and not answering emails. I've been in the position where not saying no when it comes to this taboo topic of loaning money has really messed with my balance too. There's really no need to get into the details, but what I will say is that I know most can relate. For me, I found that having a fund that's designated for giving to people can create a much needed boundary. And when that fund runs out, it's over. You can reup whenever you want or nah.
But remember, you don't have to explain why you're saying no.
If it's something you don't want to do or don't feel comfortable with, you should be able to say no without any shame or guilt. Yes, there's this honorable thought that goes with giving someone the shirt off your back. But the key is balance.
Those Who Love You Will Understand
As much as we hate saying no sometimes, the ones who really love us and get us will be okay with it. I can't even count the times when it took everything in me to say no to something, and the person on the other end was completely understanding and actually made me feel better about it.
On the flip side, in those moments when I said yes to something I really didn't want to do, I started to dread it right away and tried to think of ways to get out of it. Like that meme that says, "I'm sorry I was late, I didn't want to come." This was the story of my life for quite a while. But then I started telling myself I didn't want to do it in the first place, I was going to start saying no. And anyone who understands you and the importance of your self-care and sanity will understand why you're saying no as well. And those who don't, well they're definitely not worth you sacrificing your precious time for.
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