For many of us, it can be hard to say no to others. Even though no is just a two-letter word, it can carry quite a bit of guilt and pressure because we want to be liked by others. This guilt around saying no is often self-directed guilt. This may take the form of a close friend asking you to dinner, but you had a rough week and need some alone time to recharge. Many of us may feel guilty saying no to these kinds of friendly requests, so we attend events and push ourselves to be there for others. But sometimes, saying yes and showing up for everyone but yourself can be to the detriment of your own mental and physical health.
Although it may be difficult to turn things down, setting healthy boundaries and saying no to certain tasks or situations can actually improve both your own health and your close relationships. By saying no when we really need to rest, we allow our bodies and minds time to recharge so we can truly enjoy future tasks. You deserve to treat yourself with kindness and allocate time for self-care (this could be taking a walk, exercising, taking a bubble bath, etc.). Taking time for yourself helps prevent burnout and stress.
Saying no can also improve your relationships with others because it breeds a sense of authenticity. Because strong relationships are built on authenticity, it’s important to be genuine and say no when you need to. Giving too much of yourself to others can result in bitterness or resentment, which is harmful to any relationship, whether it’s a professional or personal relationship.
Saying yes can often lead to many great opportunities, and we all know that there are some things we simply can’t say no to. However, we still can take care of ourselves and set healthy boundaries! There is only so much we all can do, and saying no can be a form of self-care.
Sadie Hinkel, Outreach Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Sadie Hinkel is the Outreach Coordinator at The Kim Foundation. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English Education from Morningside University and her Master’s Degree in Writing from Coastal Carolina University. Sadie worked as a high school English teacher for six years, where she realized her passion for advocating for mental health education and awareness. She joined The Kim Foundation in February of 2022 and currently works managing events for the foundation, coordinating volunteer activities, and developing outreach efforts.