It's a simple enough word: no. N-O. It's almost universally understood, yet grossly underutilized. So many people fail to embrace the freedom that comes with saying “no,” women especially. We tend to want to please everyone and, as a result, often end up subjecting ourselves to things we don't really want to do.
Women are socially programmed to be accommodating. In her aptly-titled book, “The Book of No,” Susan Newman, Ph.D. explores the general tendency to want to please others, including differences between men and women.
Men are encouraged to be assertive as a means of establishing themselves from a young age, as anything else gets them labeled as wimps. Women, on the other hand, are praised for being helpful as little girls, which can later translate to a need to help others in an effort for gaining approval.
Saying yes doesn't always seem like a big deal, but before you know it, you can end up overstretched and unable to make time for yourself. You may also be resentful of those you were trying to help in the first place.
Well, it's time to break that cycle. No more staying up until 3 am, trying to finish a project you “volunteered” to do. No more indulging unrealistic wish lists or untimely suitors.
It's time to take back your life and that all starts with learning to draw the line in these five instances:
1. When you're shopping
Sure, you may be a pro at walking past the perfume spray people without so much as blinking, but what about the sales rack? What about the woman at the counter who's tempting you with 15 percent off your purchase if you apply for a store credit card?
Shopping is one of the fastest ways for young women to fall into financial ruin. It's important to learn how to draw the line when it comes to your wallet.
By cutting back on frivolous or seemingly obligatory purchases, you'll have much less to worry about when it comes to making ends meet.
2. When you're asked to donate but can't
Coworkers asking you to chip in for a birthday present for someone you barely know? Friends pressuring you to purchase their affiliate beauty products? Your cousin insisting you must support her cause to save an animal halfway across the world?
It's okay to say no in these instances. Offer to congratulate the coworker in person so you can get to know him or her better, instead. Assure your friend that while you're unable to afford the products now, you will once you can.
Tell your cousin that while money is tight, you applaud her efforts and will share the link with others.
3. When you get a late-night booty call
A man who is not respectful of your time is not worthy of it. Sometimes, we entertain late-night texts or other impolite advances we're not fully comfortable with because we like a guy.
It's time to be more discerning and not reward rude and disrespectful behavior with responses or further investment of time.
4. When you're overworked
It's fine to stay late at work once in a while. In fact, it's inevitable. But, there's a difference between living to work and working to live. You need to have a work/life balance and to do that, you need to learn to say no to unreasonable hours and excessive workloads.
Women tend to want to meet and exceed every expectation, but this can lead to a quick burnout rate. So, if you get an assignment and you already have a full plate, ask your boss how he or she would like for you prioritize those assignments.
If you find you're doing more work than your position entails, have a meeting with your boss and address it directly, emphasizing the fact that you want to ensure you're as productive as possible.
5. When you're asked to participate in or attend a wedding
Your 20s are prime wedding season, and sometimes, all the festivities can get overwhelming. While it's an honor to be asked to be a bridesmaid, you may not always be inclined to accept this due to financial or time constraints, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Make sure you talk to the bride personally, explain your situation and support her as much as you can up to and during the big day.
If you're asked to attend a destination wedding but can't make it, just make sure to get a nice wedding present and speak with the bride to help her understand. It's likely that many other guests will have to decline as well, so don't feel too badly.
Learn to say no in these instances in order for it to mean more the next time you actually decide to say yes.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It