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Self Care Tip #5: No, You're Not Mean If You Say No

Posted by Maha Jawass on

self care tip #5: no, you're not mean if you say no

A lot of the time, we’re afraid to say no because we don’t want to be rude and we don’t want people to think of us as uncaring. The truth is, there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying no, it doesn’t make you mean or selfish. Often, we burden ourselves with saying yes too much because we want to help others or because we feel like we have to. We want to say no, but we say yes. Yes, I’ll look at that for you. Yes, I can pick up such and such for you. Yes, I can finish it for you, yes, yes, yes. You get the point.

I’m not saying you should always say no or that saying yes is bad. I’m just saying that we often forget that no is an option. What makes no such a bad word? Nothing, except the fact that other people will judge us and we'll feel bad about it. Not that we should, but we will because most of us have grown up in a way where saying no to others is rude and disrespectful. 

Why are we made to feel bad for caring about ourselves enough to realize that we can’t handle something extra on our plate? Or enough to realize that we'd be happier by not agreeing to do something? You should be taking care of yourself and sometimes that comes in the form of saying no to others, it doesn't make you a bad person, it makes you human. I've realized that a lot of the time when I agree to do something for others, I'm actually dreading it. I end up getting so stressed out about it because I've agreed to do something when I already have so many other things I need to get done. But, I'd always feel bad saying no, so I chose to be stressed instead.

We see this more with women than we do for men because it seems so much harder for women to say no. Men say no all the time, they know what their time is worth and they’re not going to spend it on something that they don’t want to do. But for women, it’s almost shameful to say no to someone. It’s like people expect for women to say yes because when women say no they're automatically labeled as a bitch.

You don’t owe anyone anything, and if you don’t want to do something, say no. If your plate is full or there’s something else you should be doing but you don’t want to sound rude, just say no.

I’ve seen this happen on social media with women entrepreneurs, they get approached for free services or products from people they don’t have any associations with and then are made to feel like the bad guy. The truth is, people approach women entrepreneurs with stuff like that way more than men because they think they'll say yes. It’s easy then to say “she’s so mean,” or “she’s such a bitch.” They don't owe anyone anything and don't let anyone make you feel otherwise. The thing you’re asking from them is their work, their income, it’s something they’ve worked hard to achieve and how exhausting it must be to have people constantly undermining the legitimacy of their work, because isn't that what it comes down to? 

This isn’t just for working women, it’s for all women, you have dedicated time and effort for yourself. You have responsibilities of your own and projects you might working and yet people still scoff when you kindly tell them "sorry, I can't." The double standards are astounding, because again, no one bats an eye if a man says no.

There’s nothing wrong with helping others, doing someone a favor, or giving away freebies for people, it's the constant expectation that it's something we should do that isn't right. Obviously, we should help and support others as much as we can, but there’s also nothing wrong with saying “sorry I don’t think I’ll be able to do that.” 

So, in case you needed to hear it, there is nothing wrong with saying no. Take care of yourself and say yes to yourself more, be in charge and don't let others make you feel bad for doing so.

No is not a bad word, so don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise.

Do you feel bad for saying no? Let us know!

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