no one wants to be accused of being selfish. sure, sometimes we want to place ourselves first, but we would never openly show little disregard for another’s feelings. say it with me, “we care!” full disclosure, my dad actually called me selfish on christmas because i mentioned that i’m not keen on having children. i’ve heard of other women saying they have been accused of being selfish for not wanting to be a mother, but it had never happened to me. to hear it from my own dad stung. briefly. truth is, my womb is mine and at the end of the day, i don’t actually care what anyone has to say about my prospects or potential as a mother. i will still say no to motherhood if i don’t feel it aligns with the vision i have for my life. (unless god has other plans, but that’ a different conversation.)
what is it about saying no that makes us so selfish anyway? women carry everyone and everything in their hearts, shouldering the burdens of the world day in and day out, but let us say no just once and we’re suddenly selfish. like most women, i really hated to see the anger, sadness, or disappointment that usually accompanied my “no.” i don’t like to let people down. and i work hard to honor both my word and my obligations. this drive to be everything to everybody is not only damaging to me physically and emotionally, it’s damaging to me spiritually. a person can not give from an empty place. you just can’t.
that means you have to learn to say no. believe it or not, saying no could very well be the most selfless thing you will ever do. i know, it feels counter intuitive. i know, you’re wrecked with guilt. no, you didn’t betray anyone. no, you didn’t ruin anyone’s life. what you did was decide that doing that thing would actually have an adverse affect on you. and what good are you to anyone if you’re not good to yourself?
“if it’s not a fuck yes, it’s a no!” – mark manson
when you’re truly excited about something, you light up on the inside and that light is visible to others around you. what would life look like if you spent more time saying yes to the things that light you up – the things that ignite your passion and give meaning and purpose to your life? some of us can’t even imagine such a thing. let me help you. your life would be pretty fantastic. but you can’t say yes to what feeds you when you’re constantly saying yes to the stuff you don’t actually care about; when you’re saying yes to things out of obligation; or when you’re saying yes to things that suck all your time and energy.
so, why do we keep saying yes when we should say no? we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings? no one has ever died from hurt feelings. ever. correct me if i’m wrong. and as they say, those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind. if i’m truly in relationship with you, i should be able to look at you and see when you are overwhelmed, overextended, or overcommitted. to add to that makes me selfish. you see what i did there?
i know it will take some time for you to make peace with embracing your power to say no. it might not feel natural to you at first. stick with it, and before you know it, you will be saying no to the things that would prevent you from saying yes to what gives you life. it’s part of self-care. if you don’t learn anything in 2016, please learn that you owe yourself the love you so freely give to other people. sometimes saying no is the most selfless thing you can do.