Selfish or Self-Care?
No. What does that word evoke in you? To many, it may seem restrictive and punishing and to others, it may give clarity and guidance. Saying no isn’t easy yet it is so important in order to set personal boundaries. When explaining the importance of boundaries I like to use the analogy of an oxygen mask.
“If you’ve been on an airplane you’ll have heard the flight crew instructing you to put on your own oxygen mask before attaching someone else’s. If you’ve passed out you can’t be present to your situation”
There is a BIG difference between being selfish and self-care yet oftentimes these two concepts are seen as the same thing. I think this analogy is a great example of the difference between selfishness and self-care. Contemplating saying no is not selfish, it is choosing to value yourself enough to put your needs first before you can help others.
One of the reasons we find it hard to say no is because we want to be liked and so we say yes.
- Yes, so we don’t disappoint someone.
- Yes, because we fear missing out.
- Yes, because it’s what good and helpful people do.
- Yes, so we don’t feel judged for saying no.
Saying yes wears you out and spreads you thin. You’re more likely to feel resentful which can lead to negative self-thoughts and feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware there will be times that we have to do things that we may not want to but the distinction is when we say yes to please others and yes because it is something that will enrich us. There needs to be a balance.
People value those who value themselves so here are three steps you can take to developing the healthy habit of saying no:
- Get into the habit of asking for time before you make a decision.
– Saying yes can become an automatic response, practice pausing and asking for some time before deciding.
2. Take a deep breath and ask yourself “Do I really want to do this?”
– It’s important to learn to listen to your intuition when asking this question. Are you doing this to please or for yourself?
3. Be polite but firm
– You do not need to give an elaborate explanation for why you are saying no. A simple “Thank you for asking but I can’t” or a similar sentence is sufficient.
Saying no is a healthy step towards valuing yourself and your time and is crucial to promoting self-care.