This simple two letter word can be very difficult to vocalize sometimes, despite knowing the need to vocalize it.
There may be many reasons for this:
- You may come from a collectivist culture where you are taught to be mindful about others’ needs. This may directly or indirectly give the message of others’ taking priority over self.
- It may be important to you to see others happy. Of course there’s no problem with this provided you are balancing your needs versus others’ needs and not prioritizing others’ needs over your needs.
- You may assume self-care is being selfish and that being selfish is something wrong.
So how does saying ‘No’ link with self-care. In my view saying ‘No’ to someone else means that you are able to say ‘Yes’ to yourself. Saying ‘No’ also enables you to have truer, authentic relationships with people especially your loved ones. Instead of seeing saying ‘No’ as a negative, start thinking about the positives for you and others.
SOME PRACTICAL TIPS:
- Practice saying ‘No’ to less significant people in your life first and assess what difference it makes for you.
- Say ‘no’ in situations where it feels more doable.
- Become aware of how you feel when you say yes but actually want to say ‘No’.
- Practice being true to yourself and say ‘No’ when you know you want to.