The Art of Knowing When to Put Your Foot Down

Have you ever found yourself thinking, ‘Man, everyone else is getting what they want! When is it going to be my turn?’ I know that I have! I’ve thought it numerous times…about my coworkers, about my neighbors, even about my own family. ‘They get time to lounge around and read a book. When am going to have that kind of free time?’ Then, I figured it out. I wasn’t ever going to have that kind of free time, not as long as I was letting myself be the grunt of everything. So, I decided to change, and you can, too.

I know it’s difficult to stand up and tell the people you love that ‘No, I will not cook the dinner again tonight because, yes, Grey’s Anatomy is on and Cristina is leaving the practice!’ It’s difficult to ask things of other people, especially if you know it’s going to be putting them out. But when you spend year after year after agonizing year allowing yourself to be the one put out by everyone else, a line needs to be drawn. Let’s say you’ve been working the same job for ten years, making the schedules and managing the personnel. Your birthday is coming up, and you need a week off; it will be your first vacation in three years. But as the day approaches, you come to realize that your company is short staffed and one of your coworkers, who has been with the company for less than a year, wants the same week off. What do you do?

No! You don’t give her the week off! I know it’s super important that she gets the time off because she hasn’t has a vacation since she started this job and it’s really stressful and her niece’s sixth birthday party is that week in Nevada, but you haven’t had a vacation in three years! It might be the kind thing to do, letting her go to her niece’s birthday party, but sometimes it’s far more important, for the sake of your own mental well being, for you to just take a big deep breath, confront her, and say “No.” Sometimes, in our lives, we just need to learn the power of the word No. 

I’m not saying that it needs to become a regular part of your vocabulary. There is something absolutely graceful, refreshing, and just lovely about a woman who says “Yes.” However, if life has taught me anything, it’s that in order to be a Yes Woman 90% of the time, I need to decide when to say “No.” And not “No! Absolutely not! How dare you ask?” But, rather, “No, I’m so sorry. It’s really important to me that I take care of myself right now, but perhaps I can help you out next week. I hope you understand.” There is always something refreshing about a yes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be lovely when you say “No.”

So, be strong. Be independent. Do you for a change. Just learn to say “No.”

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