We’re Allowed To Say No

‘No’ is often one of our first words. As a toddler, it’s usually one of our favourite words. But as we get older many of us find that it becomes harder and harder to use our no. It can feel far easier for us just to say yes, even if it’s at the expense of our own needs, than it is to simply say ‘no’. We are allowed to say no when we mean no.

We're Allowed To Say No

Our no is as important as anyone else’s no

In the same way that our needs are as important as other’s needs, our no is just as important as anyone else’s no. Other people’s time, wants, needs, and opinions are no more important than our own. We have just as much right to say no as anybody else, and though it can be hard to remember our own value and worth, we are important and we deserve respect. Our time, wants, needs, and opinions are just as important as anyone else’s.

Our Needs Are Important

Many of us view our needs as less important than other people’s. We try to squash our needs down in the hope that they will just disappear and we will become some sort of super-human who can keep going 24/7 without ever eating, sleeping, or taking a break.

None of us are superhuman. We all have needs such as the need for food, water, sleep, rest, socialisation, stimulation, and fresh air. Our needs are no less important than anyone else’s. If we start ignoring our needs, then we will begin to feel worn down and find it difficult to have the energy to do the things we want to do.

Self-care isn’t selfish, and using our no is part of self-care. Honouring our no allows us to put all of our energy into the things we want to say yes to.

Our Worth Isn’t Determined By What We Can Offer

Our worth isn’t determined by what we can offer. Being busy and doing more things doesn’t make us any more of a person, or any more worthy. In the same way, saying no, and giving ourselves time to rest doesn’t make us any less of a person. Our worth isn’t determined by how much we earn, how many kids we have, what we look like, what car we drive, our output, or anything else. We are worthy just as we are, and we don’t have to run ourselves into the ground to prove that.

We Can’t Be Everything To Everyone

We only have one pair of hands and we can’t be in more than one place at once. However hard we try, we can’t be everything to everyone. If we try to be then it’s likely that we’ll end up burning ourselves out and not being anything to anyone at all.

We aren’t responsible for other people. If they make a mistake then it’s not up to us to fix it. When others are struggling, we can support them but it’s not our job to save them.

We are allowed to say no. We don’t have to say yes to everything and everyone all of the time.

No Guilt Allowed

When we first start using our no, we may well feel guilty. We get so used to being people-pleasers and minimising our own needs, that when we start to put ourselves first and to introduce some boundaries, it can be really uncomfortable. But we absolutely deserve to put ourselves first sometimes, and we are allowed to use our no without feeling guilty. Over time, we should begin to feel less guilty as we get more used to using our no.

It’s Not Rude

The first few times we use our no, it might feel rude. There are certainly ways we can say no that, depending on the situation, may well sound rude, however if we phrase it in a polite way, then using our no isn’t rude at all. If someone asks us to do something and we say ‘no, why should I?!’ it can come across quite prickly, whereas if we say ‘I’m afraid I’m not able to commit to that’ or something along those lines, then it isn’t rude at all. We don’t have to provide a reason or an excuse, either, and we don’t have to say sorry for using our no.

We Don’t Owe Anyone A Yes

Sometimes when someone asks us to do something, our gut says ‘no way’, but a yes comes out of our mouth. We may feel as though we owe others a yes. Life is about give and take but we don’t have to give because we feel pressured or as though we’re indebted to someone – to give is a gift of our resources; guidance, skills, time, energy or something else. You don’t owe anyone a yes, no matter what.

We Are Allowed To Rest

We don’t need an excuse to say no. We don’t have to be doing something else in order to say no to something. Our no is allowed whatever the reason for using it. Rest is important. Down time is important. We need quiet times to allow us to wind down, to take care of ourselves, and to reflect on various aspects of our life.

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