“Yeah sure, I’ll help you out with that work thing.”
“Of course I’ll make a round of tea.”
“Yes, I’ll come to the pub with you on Friday.”
Sometimes it can feel like all you ever say is yes to everyone and everything, making you busier than you once were, much more tired than you used to be, and sometimes even a little unhappier than your previous self. There’s no time for the things that you want to do. No energy left to even try and accomplish something for yourself. It’s pretty draining being a constant “Yes”.
We’re all taught to be polite, generous, and caring. These things are all lovely, and great attributes to have. Everybody wants to be a nice guy because being nice is what we’re told keeps others liking you. However, as humans we are not actually capable of being a “Yes” generating robot. Sometimes we have to say no.
Saying no to plans for a Friday night is perfectly acceptable. It allows you to do whatever you want to do – fall asleep on the sofa, empty wine bottle on the coffee table, and Netflix asking you if you would like to keep watching – sounds idyllic right? And all at 9pm? Imagine how much more well-rested you’ll feel tomorrow morning, compared to a usual stumbling in at 2am with a much emptier bank account following you like a cloud over your head, keeping you in bed til noon the next day.
Saying no has the unfortunate representation of making you look like you’re being rude or unkind. How dare you say that you are busy with your own work at the moment to not help out a colleague do their work? Well you should dare. Give yourself a chance to do what you need to do before always helping out somebody else. Just like when you are seated in an airplane, with the plane getting ready to take off, and the air hosts are performing their safety routine. You are reminded that if the situation occurs, you are to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting the people beside you.
Giving yourself that chance to satisfy your own needs, whether that is through work, rest or play, is always going to help you feel better. Feeling better is going to help you help others better than you ever did before.
A balance of yes and no is of course the ultimate option. Say no all the time and you’ll look grumpy or selfish. Say yes all the time and you’ll look like a Ned-Flanders style push-over, and remember what happened to Ned when he’d had enough? A full-blown anger campaign.
Sitting in the middle of yes and no gives you the opportunity to look like the awesome colleague who will make that round of tea but also the individual who has the confidence and self-respect to honour their own wishes first.
Looking after yourself is something that can be overlooked in a time of constant email notifications and Wifi in every coffee shop. But saying no can be the answer to a more peaceful, less stressful and you-focused lifestyle that absolutely everybody deserves.
And if you feel really bad about it, remember that even the Alphabet says ‘NO’.