"NO" is a complete sentence.

Yeah. That's right. 'No' is absolutely a complete sentence.

I cannot begin to tell you how many minutes, hours, days, I've spent figuring out how to get out of something, what excuse that isn't quite a lie that I could use to decline an invitation, avoid working extra hours, or get the creepy guy to stop talking to me. The number of times I've been told by more assertive folks, "you're too nice!"...ugh I could probably buy a car if I got a dollar for every time I heard that!

The thing is, it's not my responsibility to make everyone happy. Or to spare everyone's feelings. Or to pick up slack in every situation. My responsibilities lie most importantly with myself first, and then with my family. Period. If taking that extra shift is going to give me less patience and energy for my family? No. If I feel uncomfortable talking to the "nice" person who just offered to buy me a drink? No. If someone says they need my help, but it would massively inconvenience me and my family? Sorry, no.

Does saying "no" make me a bad person? I don't think so. I think it gives me a lot more space to recognize my own needs, and more love, patience, and gratitude for my family. Do people dislike me now that I say "no" more often? I sincerely doubt it. It definitely feels like I'm letting someone down or hurting their feelings sometimes, but that mostly is not the case. Think about times you asked something of someone and they respectfully declined. Did you suddenly have a chip on your shoulder about them, or change your entire opinion about their character? I'm guessing not.

Learning to prioritize, and give a simple, firm, and respectful "no" has changed a lot for me, for the better! I still struggle with it often, but I've learned that my life won't go down the tubes if I don't scramble to please everyone in my world.

If this resonates with you, I challenge you to try it! Give yourself a little more space, a little more freedom, a little more love. Say "no!"

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