It is in some ways easier to say yes than to say no. Saying no may disappoint a family member or work colleague or friend. It may incite fear that we are missing an opportunity or closing a door. It may induce shame or a sense of guilt that we are letting someone down.
But now more than ever it is essential that we say yes to ourselves. And part of saying yes to ourselves can mean saying no to somebody else. Perhaps a friend wants to take a walk when what you really need is to stay home and rest. Maybe your boss is giving you more than your fair share of work. Perhaps you are making commitments that, while meaningful, are depriving you of much needed downtime.
For the next week, practice saying no. If your partner asks you to stay up late and watch a movie but you really need to snooze, choose sleep. If a friend calls and you’d rather take a bubble bath than chat, don’t pick up. If you are in the habit of making exotic meals for your family but don’t feel like cooking today, make macaroni and cheese from a box.
You have plenty of time to say yes but, just for a moment, experience saying no. As my best friend once wisely said, when you close the wrong door it frees you to open the right door. One of the biggest facets of self-care is creating boundaries so that when you do say yes, you mean it. When you agree to an opportunity or exchange, you will be fully present. When you give, you will do so from a place of having nourished and cared for yourself.
Saying no may incur anxiety or generate fear that our relationships will be negatively impacted. But in my experience, creating boundaries actually leads to mutual respect. My friends and co-workers and family members know that when I say yes, I will almost always come through. They believe that my contribution will be valuable and meaningful because it is coming from a place of overflow, not strain. Every time I honor myself and listen to my instincts and allow myself to say no, the respect and trust I have for myself increases as well.
As the demands of work and our social lives pick up, create the boundaries you need to stay healthy and positive. This may include saying no to habits and people and patterns in your life that are toxic and detract from your sense of well-being. Whatever and whoever is filling your space has an impact. Nothing is neutral. So make space for the people, events, and experiences that will usher growth and support beauty and tranquility in your life.
Have a beautiful week creating thoughtful boundaries that support your health. ☺