By: Abbey Clark, Regular Contributor
How liberating is a definitive “No?” With a recent video going viral depicting women as socialized creatures saying sorry for the most trivial of things, I thought it would be interesting to say yes to write an article about women saying “no.”
It seems simple: you want to do something, you do it, you don’t want to do something and you don’t. Cue jokes of the Millennial Generation complex, but why not have this mentality when it comes to doing things that will only make you tired, disgruntled, or unhappy? Doing kind things for others, like paying it forward at Starbucks, or performing generous favors for the ones you love, is fulfilling in it’s own light. But how do you break the news and say no to a family member, a close friend, or a significant other when they want to do something that your heart, mind, body, or spirit is just not into. Moreover, how does a modern woman say “no?”
I’ve noticed from observing my male friend groups that men have no problem saying no to something they don’t want to do. Whether it’s a movie they don’t want to see, a new restaurant they don’t want to try, or a night out that they don’t want to spend with friends, they will simply say “no, maybe another night,” or respond with the mind-blowing, “I don’t want to see that movie/eat at that place/see those people tonight, etc, etc, etc.” Nine times out of ten, unless I’m really persuasive, they won’t, which in my book is perfectly understandable, as long as they’re not rude about it.
Conversely, I’ve noticed that females approach the same situation quite differently. Most of my girlfriends have severe FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I too have found myself more times than not answering an invitation to do something with a friend with the ever-so popular “Oh, maybe!” (Translation: I don’t know if I’m really up for that tonight, but I’m still trying to decide); or even enthusiastically agreeing to go somewhere that I only end up leaving early from (and most times to watch Netflix in my pajamas.) Don’t get me wrong, in college I had some of the craziest, most hilarious, and fun nights of my life, and they would not have happened without agreeing to go out with friends (even sometimes when I didn’t want to). However, after college your friends no longer surround you 24/7, and you have to make an effort to see the ones you care most about and do the things you A. can afford and B. want to do. It’s simple, but you are presented with a choice: yes or no?
As women, we put a tremendous pressure on ourselves to not only be the best version of ourselves possible, but also the best girlfriend, wife, mom, daughter, sister, or friend EVER (who also has a successful career, a fit body, a beautiful and clean home, a put together outfit, a standard social life, and who is a regular wonder woman.) I’m not saying to neglect your most prized relationships or responsibilities, but what if for one day you said “no,” to something you didn’t want to do without any pang of guilt or regret?
Perhaps it’s part of my journey as a young adult, a flaw of my generation, or one of the best decisions of my life. However, as a 22-year-old woman, I no longer have a problem saying no to the people, places, experiences, or opportunities that don’t serve me, and saying yes to the ones that do. It’s true, saying yes can open doors, however slamming the doors that you already know you don’t want to open with one syllable is the easiest word you will ever have to say.
When you protect your boundaries and take care of yourself and your needs, you always stand in a position of power.
- Do you recognize your "yes-woman" self in this article? What might you do differently to stop saying yes when it doesn't necessarily serve you or your interests?
- How do you prioritize self-preservation?
- Challenge yourself to say "no" to ONE thing that depletes rather than energizes you. How did it make you feel? What did you learn from it?
Abbey recently graduated from Boston College where she received bachelors degrees in both English and Human Development. She is a certified yoga instructor, and a strong believer in the daily morning cup of coffee. She is obsessed with all things marketing and social, and has loved creative writing as long as she can remember. She loves shoes, vegan baking, traveling, and trying new things. She is an advocate of healthy living, real beauty, and is so proud to be part of such a beautiful organization that is changing the world for women and girls!
Image via darrenhardy.success.com