Learning to Say No

January 26, 2013 Sandra Dawes

Saying no has always been a bit of a challenge for me.  My low self esteem and self confidence left me a constant people pleaser and I would often find myself unable to say no to things I really didn’t want to do in the name of not disappointing friends and family.  It always started off with the best intentions, but often I would be left with regret and sometimes even resentment.

Learning to say no has been a challenge for me, but it has also been empowering.  To know that refusing to do something that you simply don’t feel inspired to do doesn’t mean the end of the world shifts everything.  You are not the only person in the world that is capable of doing someone a favour and in trying to do everything for everyone, you’ve left no time for yourself!  Once you are able to be true to yourself, and become aware of what you’re willing to do, you have more time to take care of yourself!

It’s amazing to me, on reflection, how much time I would spend taking care of others, while completely forgetting to take care of myself!  I used to think that taking care of myself was a selfish thing to do, not an act of self-preservation.  The first time that I started to look at me-time as a necessity rather than a luxury, was while listening to a CD with a series of inspirational speakers.  One of the speakers, whose name I can’t remember, was talking about the importance of taking care of ourselves.  She said that we should always remember what we’re told on a plane prior to takeoff about emergency procedures: “should the oxygen masks descend, please secure your own mask before helping those in your care”.  It was then that I finally realized that if I really want to be of help to those around me, I have to take care of myself!

I used to feel bad about saying no.  I was worried that I was going to disappoint someone, or that they wouldn’t feel the same way about me because I refused.  I now realize that as long as my response is coming from a place of real love, it won’t affect the way the people in my life feel about me.  I now know that I am not responsible for anyone’s happiness but my own and that has really freed me to live a more authentic life, more confident about myself and secure in all my relationships! ♥

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