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Sometimes saying “no” to others is really saying “yes” to caring for yourself.

I’m not sure about you but I have struggled with the idea of saying “no” many times in my life.  I still struggle with it.  I wouldn’t say that, for me, it is because I am a people pleaser.  I can stand up for myself when I need to (thanks to many years of hard work).I have learned not to care if people like me.  As long as I live by my morals, I am happy with who I am, regardless of what anyone else thinks.  So, why do I have such a hard time saying no?

Saying “No” is part of healthy boundaries.  Have you checked in with yours lately?  Our FREE Introduction to Personal Boundaries e-course can help you with that!

Being overly goal-oriented can wear you out.

I have a lot of goals.  If something comes up which can help me attain those goals, I jump in lock, stock and barrel without even bothering to think what it might do to me to try to keep up with my many commitments.  Of course, I always find a moment when it all sinks in and I say to myself, “You need to take a break!”

The people who care for you want you to take care of yourself.

Another reason I have struggled to say “no” on many occasions is because I care so much about the people I love.  It isn’t about wanting to please them.  I don’t feel like I must always help them in order to earn their love or appreciation.  I just like to see them happy and  I can to help them feel that way.  What is important to remember, however, is that it is hard to take care of someone else when I don’t take care of myself.

Being perpetually helpful robs other people of the opportunity to find pride in caring for themselves.

One of the things I have found most helpful in my own quest to become less helpful is to remember that I can actually do more harm than good at times by always being there for others.  Sometimes it is good for the other person to figure something out for him or herself.  Sometimes waiting a few minutes to call someone back instead of answering the phone right away gives him or her a chance to come to a conclusion about a problem.  If I were always there and did everything for everyone else, how would they ever learn to do anything for themselves?  How good would they feel about themselves?

Some helpful articles about personal boundaries and saying NO


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4 Responses

  1. lifecoachsonal

    Thank you for including my post in yours. I am glad it resonated with you. Louise Hay’s words are so empowering. There are many who are looking for answers and they may find them in the post.

    I truly feel that we can all make ourselves happy through our own focus. It’s important to remember this when someone tries to convince us that only when we do what they are asking us to do (even though we do not want to do what they are asking us to do), will they be happy. What they are essentially saying is that if you follow your heart, I will call you selfish but if you follow what is in my heart (i.e. do what I want you to do even though you do not want to do it), I will be happy and I will not call you selfish. Who is really being selfish here? It’s important to recognize this so that we can nurture and love ourselves more.

    • Amy-Lynn Vautour

      I agree. In those kinds of situations people manage to prey on our low self-esteem and our care for them to get what they want. It’s as though they tell us we will be better people if we do those things, but leave us feeling like worse people in the end anyways, as we hand our power away. As much as I have the ability to make my own life good, so too does someone else. Of course, we all need help on occasion. I am a huge proponent of helping others and being okay with asking for help. At the same time, there are always limits to what we can give and what we can expect others to give. Ultimately, our happiness resides within ourselves and what we choose to do. Yes, someone’s help could make another person’s life better. But if that someone is unable to help it is unfair to make that person think they are responsible for the happiness of the other. Sometimes, as is the case with some addictions and depression, the other person truly believes that they cannot make themselves happy. And sometimes it hurts like hell to sit back and watch them self destruct. But for those who have trouble saying no to these people, I say – you are not helping as much as you think. Not only are you enabling their disease, you are basically telling them that yes, you agree, they cannot care for themselves. How empowering is that?

      In the end, I see it all as a balancing act. Helping others and being there for them because you want to enhance their lives, not because you are responsible for them. Taking care of yourself when you need it. Asking for help when you need it. Understanding if people cannot always help you. Hoping that others can find a way to understand that you cannot help them every time they need it. Trusting that others will find their way. Helping them most when they agree to help themselves.

      Thanks for the discussion! I believe this post can apply to so many aspects of life (work, family, people who leech off you, etc.). It’s nice to have a conversation about one of those aspects.

  2. justsiendo

    Thank you for including my article in your post! This is an issue that many people have a hard time with and I’m glad that we are discussing it 🙂


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