You know what one of the hardest things in life is? It’s saying no. One word, two little letters, and yet we simply can’t do it. I used to think that people who can say no are gifted with some kind of superpowers. I was wrong…

I was raised by a mom who is a people pleaser. Everything that people asked her for, she happily said yes. At least on the outside she looked happy. I don’t think I ever heard her say no… On the inside she suffered. She was always worried what other people would say, do.. if she’s good enough, if her lunch was ok, if she’s dressed ok….

And I always wondered why she did that to herself. Why would you get yourself into a situation you know you’re not happy about? Until I realized I was doing the same.

Funny huh? Actually it’s not.. It’s real. We learn patterns from our parents and we make them our own whether we admit it or not. We have no idea when it happens, but it always does. Some are useful things like immediately take out the garbage when it’s full, clean your teeth after every meal, say thank you and please, keeping a secret, giving people second chances….. But others are what I call unnecessary bugs in our system which do harm.

Being a people pleaser is exhausting. And it took me years to figure that out. Years to admit that I can’t please everyone and that there’ll always be a few who will never be happy. And then it hit me. In this case, it’s not me, it’s them. There are just some people in this world that will never ever be satisfied, no matter what you do (believe me, I figured it out the hard way).

When you say “yes” to others, make sure you’re not saying “no” to yourself.

Learn to say NO, because saying yes, especially when it’s against your beliefs. Always stay true to yourself. When you say yes to something that doesn’t align with what you believe in, you betray yourself. And that’s mentally exhausting, it beats you up. Always trust your gut, your brain will thank you later.

It doesn’t matter where you say NO, what matters is that you do. Try incorporating it in your everyday life. Say no to a coffee with a friend who again needs your advice and read the book you’ve been wanting to read for a month now. Say no to another dull dinner party, where there’ll be no proper conversation and rather take your wife for a long walk and bond with her (the same goes for you ladies…). When’s the last time you did that?

Say no to a client that’s always wanting more but never seems happy with what you do. I know it’s hard, it’s out of your comfort zone and you feel guilty as hell. But just say it.. Stand up for yourself and make people realize that you don’t allow anyone to take you for granted. To take you for granted as a person, partner, employee or business partner.

You have the right to be selfish. Even though everyone says that it’s a bad thing, think again. It’s not… No matter what you do in life, what or who you are, the first thing you need to do is take care of yourself. You should be your priority number 1. Maybe I’ll say something different when I’ll have kids (even though I think you can’t be a good parent if you’re not OK with yourself), but for now I’m sticking with what I’ve said.

It’s only by saying “no” you can concentrate on the things that are truly important. 

You are your priority number 1. And here are just a few examples why:

  • Nothing can make you happy if you’re not happy. Maybe this one’s hard to believe, but there’s not enough money in the world that could buy you happiness. That starts with yourself. If you’re pleased, excited, grateful and (again) happy, then you don’t need anything else
  • When you take care of yourself – like eating healthy and exercising, you have an enormous amount of energy which you can use for your projects, business, relationships or spending time with your kids. Remember, you’re body is the only place where you have to live for the rest of your life
  • When you’re number 1 in your life, you’ll soon realize that you’re surrounded with people that think the same and act the same. You don’t have to rely on anyone else, you don’t have to deal with emotional vampires and you’ll always have time for everything

I have about a million examples more, but I think you get my point. There is completely nothing wrong with you not doing what other people want you to do. Don’t get me wrong, of course you need to take care of your kids, get your job done in the office and pay your bills… But everything else is a choice.

As I’ve said at the beginning of the post, I used to be a people pleaser. And the end result? I was unhappy. And all of my frustrations I released on people who weren’t guilty of anything, usually the person that means the most to me – my significant other and best person ever. And that’s not fair.

With a lot of late night conversations (thank you!!), tears and stepping out of my comfort zone I slowly realized that I have to reorganize my priorities. I should start making myself happy, because with that and with only that, will everyone around me be happy too… I am a better person when I’m happy with myself and there no drama in the world that could suck me in.

You have the right to say “no” to unreasonable requests without feeling guilty.

I used to think that saying “no” means flipping the middle finger, but it’s the opposite. In time you’ll realize that it means that you have an opinion, vision and no matter what, you’re sticking with it. I couldn’t believe that people actually started respecting me more. When I first said no, it was to a family member. And there was a loooooot of guilt there. But a few days later I was grateful. It was the best decision of my life.

Then I said no to a coworker. Felt guilty again, because OMG, he’s not going to be able to do this and that because I didn’t take his shift… hey, wait a minute.. did anyone ask me, if it’s ruining my plans? Nope…

I started doing it on a lot of places in my life and you know what… Everything was completely fine. People that were mad or didn’t like me standing up for myself were the ones who were emotional vampires, unhappy with themselves, always needing something.. I don’t like needy people and I hate being a needy person too.

And the funny thing is, eventually people that couldn’t take no for an answer disappeared from my life. They stopped calling, stopped asking for favors and suddenly didn’t have time for a drink. And at first I didn’t get it but what was I expecting? Those were usually the ones that were there only when they needed something…

Say no more often. To every thing and to everyone. Say no to people who take you for granted. Say no to your family. Don’t let other people’s priorities run your life. Take time for yourself, read a book, watch a movie, cook a good meal, exercise… Do whatever you want to do, just stop saying yes to every stupid thing that comes along.

You weren’t born to please others, you were born to please yourself.

Take care guys,

Ana