Why is it so hard for us to say no to things that are not good for us? We will have one hundred and one things on our plate, and somehow find the words, “Yeah, of course I can do that”, coming out of our mouths, when we truly feel like we can barely handle the things on our plate currently.
I think it is so hard for us to say no because saying no means potentially losing a relationship that could have otherwise been built for a future opportunity. Saying no means realizing that we actually can’t do everything, and that feeling can often really hurt our egos. Saying no means that we might miss out on an opportunity that could change our lives forever.
But what does saying yes get for us, when we already have too much on our plates? Saying yes causes more anxiety, stress, anger, and fear about how you will get everything done. We all have the same 24 hours, and there is only so much that you can get done in that time frame, before you begin to lose your sense of self. Saying yes when we are already overwhelmed shouldn’t be admirable. Saying no when we are overwhelmed, instead, should be admirable, because when we say no, we make a conscious decision to look after ourselves and put our own mental wellness first, and that is truly special.
Lately, I have said yes to a few opportunities, and then sat on them for a bit, and came back and changed my mind and told them that I no longer could commit to what I expressed interest in. I told them no because I was already overwhelmed and there would be no way I could take something else on, no matter how much I wanted to collaborate. I told them no because I don’t want to be in this dark space, feeling like I have no time for myself or for others. I told them no, because I am putting myself first. And it was pretty powerful to say, “No, not at this time, but I would love to connect in the future if my schedule opens up”. By saying that, I leave that door open that right now my mental health might suffer if I take this on, but in the future, I might be in a different space and would love to reconnect.
Saying no is scary, but saying no is also really liberating. I am a true believer that things come to us for a reason, and they leave us for a reason. Saying no to an opportunity that isn’t good for you, or that will take up too much of your mental space and hurt you mentally, doesn’t mean you will never see that opportunity again, it means that an even better opportunity is coming. The universe will thank you for taking care of you and for making a decision that puts you first, and the universe will come back full circle with more opportunities, more relationships, and more avenues for success.
We see so many adding and adding to their plate, and so we are conditioned to think that we are supposed to do the same. We see so many with tons on their plate who appear to be fine, so we question why we can barely juggle two projects at the same time. Everyone’s capacity is different, and more importantly what people show on the outside, is not necessarily how they are truly feeling on the inside. Regardless, if you are feeling overwhelmed, and someone reaches out to you for help or to collaborate or for a second or third job, and you just don’t have the time or mental capacity, it is more than okay to say no to that opportunity. You owe it to yourself to put yourself first and recognize that if you need more time for yourself, you can take that. When you say no so that you can invest in you and take time for you, when you have less on your plate, or need different things on your plate, that opportunity will come knocking.
So, say no, it is a powerful tool I have learned, after growing up my entire life thinking I had to say yes.