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Learning to say “No!”

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We’ve all felt it: the pressure. The pressure from a new partner to just go for it. The pressure to please everyone – everyone but ourselves. The pressure to look perfect and desirable, but not too slutty. The pressure – from family and friends, and maybe ourselves too – to have children before the internal clock runs out.

Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

For so many women, giving in and saying “yes” when we should have been moving their hand away, taking time for ourselves, saying “no” to our family or friends, is all too common.

Here’s a question: how did you feel after giving in?

Often, the answer is: worse. So why do women continue to say “yes,” and by doing so, overwhelm themselves and experience negative mental states?

From a young age, girls are taught to be nice, to co-operate, and to make compromises to please others. We modify our behaviour in relation to others. But these ideals placed on women by our culture and society can be damaging.

So let’s ditch the guilt, secure our boundaries, and prioritize ourselves.

Ditch the guilt. Never, ever, waste your energy on feeling guilty. It won’t serve you or anyone else. Be proud of the decisions you made because you made them with the right intentions. And don’t ever apologize for saying “no.”

Secure boundaries. Ask yourself what you want, without worrying about what others want. Saying “no” and setting boundaries can be difficult, but it is an important part of having healthy relationships and personal well-being.

Prioritize yourself. Apply the same kindness and compassion you give others to yourself. Take the time to listen to your body, mind, and soul, and give yourself what you need. You are the most important person in your life. 

You might also enjoy this article on how to spring clean your body and mind.


  • Yasmin Missaghian is a freelance writer and editor from Ottawa, Ontario. She has a diploma in writing and publishing from Okanagan College and is finishing her English degree at Carleton University. She has written many articles for OptiMYz and its sister magazine, SILVER, and has poetry published in anthologies. She is passionate about mental health, diversity, and empowering women.

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