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Why Everyone Needs to Have No' in Their Vocabulary

Without it, burnout is inevitable

The cultural narrative claims that women can’t say “no,” and the truth is that many women do have difficulty saying “no.” Often trained from an early age to be selfless and take care of other people’s needs, we learn that being of service is precisely what makes us valuable and included. Other people like us when we say “yes” as opposed to “no,” and so we do. But little by little, “no” disappears from our vocabulary.

This past Saturday, Jane helped her friend move, lugging boxes and furniture for six hours, all while her back was spasming and coming off a 60-hour week. She said “yes” to her friend because she thought that saying “no” would make her a bad friend, and also prove that she was selfish. The result, for Jane, was that she spent Sunday in terrible pain, flat on her back in bed, but with her badge of honor as a good friend.

So, why is saying “no” so hard for many women? The fact is, we often hold firmly entrenched core beliefs about the word “no.” For one, we believe that saying “no” implies that we only care about our own needs, and are choosing ourselves over other people, which once again means that we’re selfish and unkind (and therefore, unlovable). Furthermore, we imagine that “no” wipes out every “yes” we ever offered up until now. A single “no” has the power to define us (as selfish). That said, it might take 10 “yeses” to make up for a single “no.”

Please select this link from Psychology Today.

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