Black women are conditioned to give. “No” is not a word that we regularly use, whether out of fear or perceived obligation. Many of us are afraid that our “no” will be a source of tension—or worse, ignored altogether. It’s a precarious, rather uncomfortable position that we didn’t ask to be in. But, we’re now understanding the power of saying no, whether it’s to our partners, our parents, or our peers.
It’s unrealistic to assume that everyone will be able to seamlessly transition into confidently telling people no. I’m reminded of my own recent encounters that pushed me to stand up for myself, and how anxious I was. When you’ve made saying yes to everyone your life’s mission, “no” seems like a betrayal. It’s important to remember that constantly pleasing people only betrays you.
Below, we have a few tips for how to become more comfortable saying no.
Do It Frequently
Chances are, you’ve been prioritizing other people’s happiness over your own for a while. Saying no as often as you can may seem like a bit much, but think of it this way: you’re just making up for all of the times you wanted to say it, but didn’t. Anytime your intuition tells you “no,” listen to it and repeat it with your chest.
When we’re you’re truthful about who we are and what to expect, we’re much better off. Sometimes we trip ourselves up with little lies, like saying yes to a dinner invite when we’re disinterested, and then accepting an extra glass of wine when we’re already good. When a person stands in their truth, it’s that much easier for that “no” to roll off of their tongue.
You’re making the right decision! When we’re used to “no” being met with backlash, we may start to think that we’re in the wrong. But a person’s inability to handle your boundaries is their problem, not yours. You have to believe that you’re making the best decision for yourself and taking care of your mental health.