If you’re like me and love all things weddings, then you’ve probably seen the TV show “Say Yes to the Dress.” If you haven’t, you absolutely have to give it a try. In short, the series is about brides-to-be who are looking for their dream wedding dresses. They are presented with a selection of dresses that they must try on for their friends and family, who then vote for their favorite. At the end, the bride has to make a decision and pick one dress by saying yes to that dress.
Many times we are presented with multiple invitations or enquiries. We feel obliged to say yes to everything, but deep down inside, we wish we could to turn them all down. We are afraid that, just like in the TV show, we will hurt our friends’ and family’s feelings by saying no to them. But what we don’t realize is that sometimes by saying yes to others we are saying no to ourselves.
Last month, a friend of mine invited me and some other friends to have lunch at her place. One of them replied with, “Thank you so much for the invitation, but this month I can’t join you. I have to get things done for my business. I hope you all have fun, and I’ll join you at the next one.”
My first impression was that she was making it up. But then I felt admiration for her. I took my hat off to her for respecting her own time. This is something most of us find difficult to do. We often give priority to others’ demands instead of taking care of our own needs. We lend money to a friend even though we are not financially stable. We go to parties although we feel weary. And we accept working overtime when we are already overworked.
Saying no is as an act of self-care and self-compassion. And we have the right to say no even when we are feeling our best. Saying yes to yourself won’t make you selfish, arrogant, or heartless. You might disappoint others at first. But if they truly love you, they’ll understand.
There was a time when I felt stuck at a job that didn’t satisfy me. I was cleaning houses, and even though I was making good money, my soul was craving to do something creative. I remember waking up every morning thinking, “Today is the day I’m going to quit this job.” But once I was at my workplace, it seemed so difficult to do so. My employer was so kind to me, and I would convince myself that it would be ungrateful on my part if I left her.
Fortunately, I was true to my life purpose, and eventually quit my day job. It turned out that my employer didn’t get mad at all, and she found a replacement very fast. And the best part is that I now feel blessed to do what I love every single day.
It’s not written anywhere that you should accept a crappy job, go to boring meetings, or be friends with someone you don’t like. That said, I’m not saying you should reject every invitation you get. If saying yes to a temporary job will help you get out of debt, then accept it. If seeing a friend lifts your soul, then by all means do it. But if something feels like a burden, it’s probably a sign that you should say no.
Saying yes when we really want to say yes, and no when we really want to say no will happen naturally when we open our hearts and we are not afraid to communicate our desires to others. It requires self-love and self-worth. And an understanding of our core values. Sometimes, it’s simply about honoring ourselves.
Whenever I feel guilty for saying no, I repeat this mantra:
“I matter too.”
It sets me free instantly.
Would you wear an average dress on your wedding day just to please others? I’m guessing the answer is no. It’s always your choice. Choose YOU. Say yes to your dreams, the things you love, and fulfilling relationships.