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Learn to Say No: A Better Life

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Do you consider yourself a people-pleaser?

Do you find yourself saying “yes” even when it bothers you?

Do you always prioritize the needs of others over your own?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you should practice saying “no” 

Although saying “yes” might create a peaceful relationship with others, it sometimes could be just a burden for us. Many of us struggle to say “no” because we are afraid of being rejected, reprimanded, or another negative assumption about how others will react. Some of the reasons we try so hard to please others are growing up in a happy family, having good friends, and being raised in a healthy environment. We have been treated well by others and would like to give our good feedback. Although it’s a difficult request, we still try to fulfill their requests every time, especially if we remember how kind they are. Another reason is that we may not receive enough attention and believe that if we please others, they will notice us. We believe we will receive the same kindness from others. The most obvious example is saying “yes” to every request from a friend who almost always gives us rides to school. If we refuse their requests, we are afraid that our friend will no longer give us rides. So here we are, stuck between the fear of being left behind and causing trouble for ourselves.

Saying “yes” almost always protects us from any negative reactions from others. However, saying “yes” disrupts our ability to distinguish between what is important and unimportant in our lives. We are so focused on meeting the needs of others that we have lost sight of what is truly important in our lives. I’m sure it must be exhausting.

The simplest way to try and say the word “no” is to remember all the time, energy, and money we’ve wasted by saying “yes” to everything we could have said “no” to. We could ask ourselves, “How many hours of tedious meetings have you sat through when you had no real reason to be there?” or “How many times have you spent accompanying someone with whom you are uncomfortable?” You receive no benefits other than the assumption that other people will not abandon you. You do something only to later come to regret it. Others may be happy, but you are not.

Instead of saying “yes” impulsively, we should develop the habit of asking ourselves questions like, “Am I agreeing to do this for me?” and “Wouldn’t doing this harm me?”. We can begin by saying “no” to minor things like refusing to assist with unimportant tasks. We learn to recognize how it feels in our bodies to say “yes” and “no”. We can concentrate more on the important aspects of our lives. We can devote more time to self-care, children and families, and improve our mental health. We can all come up with different reasons or wisdom for saying “no” to other people. Let us try to say “no” in order to live a better life!


Reporter, G. S. (2019, June 3). Want to improve your life? Just learn to say no. The Guardian. Retrieved September 11, 2022, from

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