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Learning to Say No

I struggle with advocating for myself. Learning to be affirmative and direct with our decisions is crucial, especially in the society we live in now. This is something that I lacked, prior to last year. Whether we are saying no to a family member, a romantic partner, or a friend, it can feel intimidating. Not knowing when to say no can also create a conflict of boundaries and trust in those relationships.

Saying no is difficult; it traps us into a bubble where we are left thinking, “How far do I want to go? Is saying no impolite? Should I just agree?”

It is not that we have no regard for ourselves, it is just that we tend to forget that we have the right to say no, and that “no” is not a form of disrespect. We get in the habit of living by what other people want, and what they expect, which makes it hard to do anything else. It is hard to step out of the circle and take a breather - to do something for ourselves.

If this fear of saying no proceeds for a long enough time, we might be so accustomed to doing what we are asked of, that we do not even recognize what it is we want. Learning this made me realize that I have let rare opportunities pass me by because I chose everyone else’s plans for me over my own. It is important to learn to choose yourself, even if it means saying no.


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