I have a challenge for you – let’s embrace a No!vember and allow yourself to use the magical word and start to saying “No!”
“Don’t let anyone make you be who you are not. Stay true to yourself at all times”
For a people pleaser like myself this is hard to live by. I have the tendency to put others’ objectives above my own, and be there for everyone else around me and as a result I have followed along paths that’s not aligned with my own.
I pleased everybody, but myself.
It wasn’t until early this year I became aware of this behaviour. I used to see it as a strength to be able to adapt to different people, environment and situations.
Inevitably, I betrayed myself and somehow felt comfortable with pleasing and suffering that I ended up being somebody that I was not, and then complain about it.
I used to think that things happen to me, but boy was I wrong. Most of the time, I have the power to choose.
I Used to Always Say “Yes”
Three years ago, I decided to travel to Bali for a month (and still counting), I was very lucky to have landed a job on my third week in Bali (thank you universe!) on a remote island in Lombok. I was beyond ecstatic and grateful.
Because I was feeling extremely grateful, I went above and beyond, I started to learn about everything and worked 15-17 hours most days, I didn’t take a single day off for a year, never said no when I was given tasks directly from the owners.
Expectedly, I fell apart. I started losing myself in the process, I used to go to bed crying, and as soon as I opened my eyes in the morning, I was crying again. It was frustrating; I didn’t understand why I was crying so much. I felt like I didn’t deserve love from my partner, I pushed my friends away. And worse, I felt suicidal.
I did all the “self-love” I was supposed to do, ie. spa treatments, bottles of wine, eating out, hanging out with friends. I didn’t feel better, I felt exhausted.
The temporary boost of happiness and confidence were gone in a matter of hours.
One morning I woke up and thought ‘what happened to the strong, happy, independent gal? Fuck this! Why am I killing myself for a job that would replace me within a week if I drop dead? Take care of yourself, enough is enough!’
Even though I left the company earlier this year, I am still recovering.
Saying “No” Is a Process
Embracing the transition and honouring the process, I thought to myself:
Where is my power?
I am worth advocating for.
Stand up for yourself.
Do it for you;
Do it for her.
It’s in your hands;
Claim your freedom.
You are never alone.
People do care about you.
People do love you.
I sum up all the undesired ‘yes’ I have said, I found the source of many frustrations, insecurities, and unhappiness that invaded my life. This realisation brings a deep sense of peace and liberation, knowing that I am abundant, I am worthy, I am loved.
What I Have Learned From Not Saying “No”
In the process of learning to say “no,” I found some interesting lessons. I was allowing myself to get caught up in patterns without even realizing I was doing it.
This is what I realized:
- I over extended myself.
- I was always distracted.
- My self-esteem was damaged.
- I put the extra 110% to help everyone accomplish their goals, but not mine.
- I set myself up to be manipulated by others.
Sounds heavy, right? But hold up – there are great things around the corner.
There’s a Healing Process After Saying “No”
The experience of saying “no” to something can be a major mixed bag of emotions – relief, worry about the impact, joy, terror. It all mixes together and it may take extra effort to process afterwards.
Here are some of the thing I did to heal:
- Wrote in my Journal
- Enjoyed a variety of meditations.
- Practiced yoga.
- Spent time in self-reflection.
- Made space for self-compassion.
- Did things that I actually enjoy
- Putting myself as priority
- Technology detox for a month
- I question my question, peeling through layers of ‘whys.’
- Talk about it with people that I trust, people that understand and love me unconditionally.
We’re often taught that saying “no” is a negative thing, that it hurts those around us and causes major FOMO, missing out on exciting opportunities. It’s no wonder so many people are uncomfortable saying it.
Truthfully, being unable to say “no” is not only unfair to ourselves, but it can be unfair to the other person as well.
Everything Changes When You Embrace No
I changed my mindset and started to learn how to say ‘no’, and everything started to change.
Trusting I own my decision.
I am in charge of my actions and consequences.
Knowing I am in charge of my life.
I am in charge of my journey.
I am in charge of my destiny.
Eventually and slowly, I find out more about myself, who I truly am. Sometimes I fall back in the old thought patterns, but I rise and remind myself.
In reality, it may seem harder to say ‘no’, but like most things in life, it’s just about practice. The more you say it, the easier it is to say the magical word.
Healing can be terrifying, but I am grateful to have a partner that’d always be there for me. It’s not easy, it takes strength to stand up and to speak up, but once you heal those part you, you will experience personal freedom, you reach higher levels of consciousness over and over again.
Becoming a better version of yourself never ends, the only constant is change. Embrace it with self-awareness, self-compassion and self-love.
When was the last time your “I’ll do my best” or “I think I can fit this in” yielded good results for you or the other person? A clear no is more respectful and helpful than stringing someone along, don’t you think?
Let us know in the comments – what can you say “No” to this November?
Lexy is a VA for The Remote Yogi. She graduated from University in 2017, left Melbourne, Australia and moved abroad to Indonesia. Living on a small remote island in Gili Trawangan, Lombok.
Her life motto is to live with compassion and contribute to others.