Openness, positivity and always saying ‘yes’ to new challenges and experiences—these qualities have long been heralded as harbingers of success. But, is that really the best way? Sometimes we say ‘yes’ when all we really want to say—what we need to say—is ‘no.’
In lieu of wellness, so many of us stretch ourselves far too thin. Whether it is your career, your family or a crazy schedule of way-too-intense workouts, we live in an era where it is posh to push ourselves to the brink of our physical and mental boundaries. We are always doing more, more, more. While challenging yourself is certainly beneficial—after all, complacency is boring—there is such a thing as over-stretching yourself. When you’re too busy—when you lose sleep, stop pursing your own hobbies and passions, can’t remember the last bit of time you had entirely to yourself—you’re not healthy. Healthiness is as much about your diet and exercise habits as it is about your mental fortitude.
Although the word ‘yes’ is associated with positivity and openness, it is not always the best choice. Sometimes, saying ‘yes’ too much can inhibit your own personal growth and development. Saying ‘yes’ to everything means we are trying please others, rather than considering our own wants and needs. By giving yourself permission to say ‘no’, you are putting your own health, wants and needs before everyone else’s. ‘No’ is not a projection of negativity; it is a projection of strength and self-empowerment.
Some might say that is selfish. And perhaps it is, in a very blunt sense. But in order to live a balanced, happy life, we must be a little selfish now and again. If you need a night to stay in, whether you want to work on your poetry or you want to watch old Friends episodes on Netflix, you shouldn’t deny yourself that in order to appease others. Put you first and everything else will fall into balance.
So when should you say ‘no’? Here are some examples:
- You need a night to clear your head after a busy week, but your friends or coworkers want you to come out for drinks.
- When you get offered a great job, but something in your gut feels uneasy about the work situation.
- You’re trying to stick to a new exercise regimen, but a friend asks you to blow it off for some rainy day activities like shopping or trying a new restaurant.
It can be challenging, but sometimes saying ‘no’ is the best thing you can do for your own wellness. Of course, saying ‘yes’ is important, too (especially if it involves a friend or family member who really needs your support). But, like diet and exercise, use ‘yes’ in moderation. Only agree to jobs, dates or ideas that truly interest, improve and empower you to live your best life. It is not about the amount of times you say ‘yes’ or ‘no’; it is about your wellbeing and the quality of your resulting actions.