The Art of Saying “No”

The word “no” has such a negative connotation to it. It’s not being able to do what you want. It’s getting rejected by that college or that job or that cute girl you’ve had a crush on for years. Let’s face it: “no” sucks, especially when you’re on the receiving end of it. Saying “no” though, that’s a completely different story.

I’ve come to realize over the past few months just how liberating saying “no” can feel. I used to say “yes” to things all the time for fear of hurting people’s feelings. But all that did was leave me exhausted.

I’m saying “no” to this one thing so that I can say “yes” to others.

If you keep up with this blog at all, you’ll know that I’ve been doing keto since September. Doing that means saying “no” to lots of things. I’ve had to completely stop going to some of my favorite restaurants here in Austin to stay on track. And it’s not just foods I have to say “no” to, but chances to hang out with friends, too. I’ve had to turn down ramen dinners and dim sum brunches because I knew that I would have to resort to cheating. I could’ve gone and done my best to work with what options were there, but chances are I’d be going over my carb limit and the temptation to go overboard would be too strong. It was unfortunate that this meant not hanging out with my friends, but I said “no” to this meal and others like it so that I can say “yes” to living a healthier life and reaching my goals. As much as I love my friends dearly, I couldn’t let this one meal stand in my way of being happy. I knew that if I went and I cheated, I would regret it and would be set back. I needed to prove to myself that I was committed to this new way of living. Going would not have been the end of the world and would not have halted my progress indefinitely, but it was a test that I wanted to pass.

I also recently had to accept that I won’t be able to do an Elizabeth cosplay in time for PAX South, as I had originally planned. There is just not enough time or money for me to work on this. I’m saying “no” to Elizabeth so that I can afford to take a trip to Pittsburg for Thanksgiving to meet Jason’s family for the first time. (Oh god, so nervous.) As tempting as it would be to use some of my emergency savings to buy fabric and supplies for a cosplay, I know it wouldn’t be right for me in the long run. I would much rather take my time with this cosplay anyway, rather than rush it just for a convention. I’ve waited this long to cosplay her, I can wait a little bit longer. It’s long past being a very timely cosplay anyway. (Besides, I’ve already got Wanda and Blake I can bring!)

Saying “no” can be empowering

Check out this video of Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga) talking about taking control of her life by turning things down. She realized she wasn’t happy because she kept agreeing to things she didn’t actually want to do. She took charge of her life and career by rejecting gigs that would’ve simply been for the money. It’s refreshing to hear that from a celebrity.

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