Put Yourself First: Don't Be Afraid to Say 'NO'

The word 'yes' tried to kill me, so I had to start saying 'no'. I was lead to believe that saying yes was the only option if I wanted to make connections, foster friendships and relationships, and be considered an overall "nice & agreeable" person. I said yes so much that people started to assume that it was my default setting, and in turn, began to take advantage. 

Photo via Tumblr 

Photo via Tumblr 

Hey, can you send me a list of restaurant, bar, and hotel recommendations in Madrid in the next 3 hours? Kthanksbyeboo! 

Read: I'm allergic to Google, and couldn't be bothered with making the effort to ensure the success of my trip, but hey, I know you'll do it! 


Long time no see! Can you translate this 40-page document to Spanish by tomorrow? 

Read: I could pay someone to do this, or I could save money and inconvenience you instead. Winner! 


I've finally decided to travel the world! Plan my trip? I'll pay you in Instagram mentions, and fake gratitude! 

Hard pass on that one. 


We're willing to sacrifice our time, effort, and even sanity just because saying 'no' has such a negative connotation. The day I learned how to politely decline was the day my life changed for the better. 

For me, the word 'yes' was more often than not followed by two very dangerous words: It's Fine. 

If we're talking about precision of language, I've been lying all my life because most times it's absolutely positively not fine. The word fine means: satisfactory, well, good, or good enough. (Source). What would happen if you changed your inner monologue and asked yourself one question: Is it fine? Don't stop there though... be completely honest with yourself (for the love of all things good, at the very least be honest with yourself) and then said the magic word 'no'? 

Would the world end? Probably not. Will the person you're speaking to be offended, angry, or (butt) hurt? That's a possibility; however, a risk I'm now willing to take. If someone gets upset at you choosing to not inconvenience yourself on their behalf, they're not angry at you. They're most likely indignant because they now have to do something they don't want to instead of placing the responsibility on someone else. 

You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep others warm.
— unknown

How does one make the switch?

It's much easier than you may expect. When juggling between yes & no, keep these things in mind. 

'No' is not a bad word. 

You have a right and an obligation to put your mental health, time, and likes first. If you won't look out for you, who will?

It's okay to not want to do something. 

Just because you're capable of doing something doesn't mean that you have to do it... or should. 

It's not fine. No is an appropriate response.

You can say 'No' and still be a good, kind, and generous person. Really. 

If you're saying 'yes' out of obligation, and rock up with pursed lips and a stank face, it's probably better to simply have said 'no' from the jump. 

When you tell people 'no' you also make an important statement on boundaries, limits, respect of your time, and you also teach them about who you are as a person, and what's important to you. Someone once said that a strong 'no' makes your 'yes' even stronger. When you say 'yes' it's because you mean it, because you want to, and because you truly are 'fine' with it. 

And if you still feel guilty, read this article with real-life scenarios. Practice and repeat.


Want to learn more about self-care? Attend thrive on November 5th and learn how to live your best life, no matter where you reside. 

Danni, Community + Content Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful life partner. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.