Despite the usual repercussions it has on our time, energy, money, and attention, most of us tend to use the word "yes" like it's going out of style. At first, I blamed FOMO and Shonda Rhimes. (Year of Yes, anyone?) But then, I realized we humans thrive on social reciprocity, and more often than not, we aim to please. Whether it's in hopes of solving a problem, meeting a need, or frankly yearning to be liked, we're much more inclined to throw out an easy "yes" than confront the intimidating two-letter word "no." Sound familiar?
What many of us don't realize is how debilitating the habit of people-pleasing can be. From the unnecessary stress to the inefficient production cycles, it can take quite the toll on us — mentally, physically, and emotionally. Yet as contrary as it sounds, saying "no" is the ultimate battle shield for dodging overcommitment and staying on track with your personal goals, all while remaining true to yourself in the process. Although it might be small in size, this one-syllable word packs a lot of punch when it comes to power. Here are three reasons to start saying "no" more often.
1. You can be anything, but you can't be everything. Ever since I first heard this statement, it quickly became my new life mantra. While I am a firm believer that we can become whatever we dream to be, the reality is we cannot do it all. Why? Well, besides the fact none of us are Superwoman — but wouldn't that be nice? — we all have limited resources.
Whether it's time, energy, money, etc., we must learn to allocate these resources properly in order to avoid an overwhelming burnout, and the quickest way to slow down the increasingly fast pace of life is to start by saying "no."
2. "No" is not the equivalent of flipping a giant middle finger. As women, we have a tendency to say "yes" to things — even things we'd rather turn down — out of fear of disappointing someone or coming off as rude or insulting. But saying "no" does not allude to negativity, nor is it the equivalent of flipping someone the middle finger. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
When you say "no" for whatever reason, you are essentially communicating you are in the driver's seat of your own life. In other words, you're choosing authenticity over likability. This doesn't make you a jerk; it makes you mature.
By setting boundaries and making choices with integrity, it shows you have a plan and vision for your life and that you know what's important to you . . . and what's not. The more you respect those personal goals, the more often people will respect you. And if that's not empowering, I don't know what is.
3. By saying "no," you will ultimately be saying "yes" to a happier, more fulfilling life. Of course, saying "no" will feel uncomfortable at first. And chances are, it'll probably make you feel a bit anxious, too. But the more you say it, the more natural it will start to feel. With each new opportunity or request, ask yourself: does this make me feel excited? Will it help me further my goals?
If the answer is no, well, then, say no!
Remember: you are the driver of your own life and the ultimate decision-maker behind your choices. So why not commit yourself to less of what you don't want to do so you can do more of what makes you happy? Trust me, saying "no" is not only liberating; it will also make you feel really good.