T his year I reached my quota of being agreeable. For as long as I can recall I have been a people pleaser. I was overextended myself and unhappy, but I never realized what the culprit was until now. Perhaps, it’s genetics because my mother is the same way, an empathic nurturer, but after decades of being too available something had to give. That’s when I reached my breaking point of always saying yes and learned how to say no. 

It was my pastor who suggested I put myself first. Initially, I was afraid to put myself first in fear of being seen as selfish, or worse, careless. Then, this year I realized just how many people were looking out for #1. It wasn’t selfish at all. It was smart. 

Overcommitting to people and projects creates unnecessary stress and frustration. It also limits your time for yourselves and loved ones which causes resentment. Learning how to say no is imperative to a healthy life. The more you allow yourself to say no to things holding you back the more opportunity you have to accept things that move you forward. Pay attention to your body. It will tell you what it needs. You can be a good spouse, friend and employee and still say no. This doesn’t mean you cannot say yes from time-to-time, but you should always be in the drivers seat of your own life. Especially when it comes to your time, commitments, finances and health/energy. After all, you only get one life.

Don’t confuse no with an excuse but rather personal stability. If saying yes compromises your well-being or happiness the answer should be a polite no. Know the difference. And know what really matters to you. Don’t compromise yourself or shortchange quality relationships for ones that don’t add value to your life. 

While it hasn’t been an easy lesson, I’ve learned to say no affirmatively. Saying “NO” is OKAY and it doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a person who needs to be cared for, too. 

Five reasons you should start saying no today.

  1. Giving your time to others leaves you with no time for your own to-do’s and R&R
  2. Making someone else’s problem your priority takes precedence over yours.
  3. Saying no to something that is NOT important to you makes room for the YES that is important. 
  4. Saying no means making YOU the priority in your life.
  5. Control your destiny by making room for the YESES in your life by saying no.





is the CEO of www.monikafreeman.com. She also works as a Creative Director, Writer, Brand Strategist and Fashion Editor.

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