When I first started my self-improvement journey, I realized that I had to learn to say “no” to a lot of things in order to say “yes” to myself. One of the first books I picked up to guide me through this process was The Art Of Saying NO: How To Stand Your Ground, Reclaim Your Time And Energy, And Refuse To Be Taken For Granted (Without Feeling Guilty!) by Damon Zahariades.
After breaking down why we say “yes” for a variety of reasons, such as wanting to be liked, pleasing others, being reliable, FOMO, etc., the book goes through the specifics of how to say no in a respectful, but firm way. There are small chapters dedicated how to say no to co-workers, friends, and even family.
This book helped me to realize that my time is just that: mine. I am ultimately the one who decides how to spend it. And in case anyone hasn’t noticed, free time is rare these days! So if you can’t take on another project, help a friend move, or spend a day watching a football game you couldn’t care less about with friends you do, then you have the power to say no.
The most important point I picked up from this book is that you are not responsible for other people’s reactions. You can only control how you deliver the message. And if you deliver that “no” in a firm, friendly, and respectful way, then your job is done. How people choose to react to that “no” is on them, not you.
Several months later, I have found myself saying “no” to more things in order to allow myself more time to take care of me. This small habit has reduced my stress and really allowed me to spend my time the way I want to and not the way I have to. I know it’s okay to say “no” to others in order to say “yes” to myself.
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you read the book!