Saying “No” Is Self-Care

There are many that were raised like me. You were taught that you’re supposed to be “nice”, right? We’re supposed to be accommodating to others. I firmly believe in treating others the way I want to be treated. But - and this is a huge but - there seem to be a great deal of people that take more than they give. And those folks will take and take and take until you are bone dry. How do you know exactly when enough is enough? Are you saying no to yourself by saying yes to others every time? Chances are that is exactly what you are doing, even if only subliminally. It’s time to say “no” to others and “yes” to yourself and self-care. 

 Wondering when is the time for you to use your no’s effectively? I’ve got you covered!
Closeup of girls hand with the word no

Image by rawpixel.com

The Stress Factor 

 Not being able to say no can contribute to elevated stress quickly! When we do too much, it can lead to feeling overwhelmed, which can add to chronic stress. People who cannot say no are usually extremely stressed. 

 It is important to understand your own boundaries and limitations. Helping others is important, but you have to take care of yourself first. Sometimes this means saying no to friends and family in order to maintain an optimal level of health and wellness for yourself. 

 Feeling Obligated 

 This is one of the most common causes of resentment. Feeling obligated makes it like the person is “forced” to say yes. Even if it is something that you’re willing to do, that feeling of obligation makes the entire experience a negative one. 

 Maybe the person asking did a major favor for you in life. Maybe it is a family member. You feel a sense of obligation to always be on beck and call for whatever that person requests of you, but you need to ask yourself “when is my bill paid in full?” Will you continue to feel a forced sense of obligation forever? 

 This constant obligatory situation builds resentment, and resentment can literally make you physically ill!

 You need to let them know you have to put yourself first by doing what you need to do. If an issue arises, it may be best to sever ties and remove a toxic person from your life.


Photo by Inzmam Khan from Pexels

Enabling Bad Behavior 

 It has happened to all of us before, from a kid asking for something, hearing no and slowly breaking you down, to much worse influences on your life. From friends begging you for a loan, to unnecessary spending, while it may seem ok or insignificant, it enables unacceptable behavior and disrespect over the long haul. 

 When you say no, it needs to stay that way. You will gain infinite respect for having unbendable beliefs and will be looked at as a pillar of strength. 

It's Time to Speaking Up 

 There have undoubtedly been many times when you sit quietly while something (or someone) boils your blood to the point of an eruption, yet you show no outward emotions. This can range from a boss berating you in the office, a bully, or a random stranger who finds it appropriate to assert their dominance over you.

 By allowing it, you are doing just that, rolling over and assuming the fetal position. You don't have to be rude, loud, or disrespectful, but it's time to stop being quiet. Open your mouth, demand your respect, and speak for what you believe in.


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

NO is not a bad word. Society has criminalized it and the illusion that things must be ok all the time. You will only end up resenting yourself, and never do what you want to do by allowing others to always walk over you. You need to look after yourself before you look after anyone else. Lead by example!

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 I hope you enjoyed this article. Please leave a comment or share it to help someone else through their journey with change. Is it time for you to pivot? Change can be difficult, but you don't have to walk that path alone. Subscribe to my newsletter to get inspired and take action towards becoming a better you.


  • Angel Lewis

    Hello there! I'm Angel, an entrepreneur and writer who grew up in rural North Carolina and now resides in Virginia. My love for writing began during my time at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. Over the past couple of years, I've authored two nonfiction books in the personal development genre. Along with writing for adults, I also created 'Ready. Set. Fly!', a children's book that inspires self-confidence and resilience. When I'm not writing, I enjoy gardening, reading, playing games, and spending time with those closest to me.

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6 thoughts on “Saying “No” Is Self-Care

  1. I agree. Self-care and the ability to say no is paramount. It is important not to burn out by doing so many things for others. It is important to have the ability to stand our ground and say no.

    It’s not selfish to take care of yourself, but it IS selfish for someone to become angry and upset because you cannot do what they want. The only motivation we should have is love and compassion for others and ourselves. If someone can’t be supportive and understanding of that…then bye-bye.

  2. Angel, you are so right! We must MUST learn where our energy line needs to be drawn. Then let no be no, pleasantly. My best tool for saying “no” is to tell them I just can’t at this time. If I mean it, I’ll say, “but please call me about that position next year?” Then I’m happy, they are happy, and we leave open the possibility of my helping in the future. Thanks for another great piece!

  3. Angel –

    Thank you for this post – it is a crucial reminder. I write and focus on positivity. NO has a negative connotation for many, but this post emphasizes why it is most definitely a positive in many circumstances. I may use your post as a jumping off point for future discussions in my groups.

    Brilliant writing!

    Best regards –


  4. No, no is not a bad word. I learnt a long time ago to set boundaries and say no without being unapologetic, after one of my friends said when a suitation arose, ‘Start off the way you mean to carry on.’ It was a profound statement at the time and made me pause for thought, and has served me well.

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