It took me a long time to realize that part of my identity is saying No. Part of protecting my mental and emotional health is the power to say NO. I used to want to please everyone. It used to make me afraid if I told someone No would they be unhappy with me, would they be mad or get upset with me. I used to hate saying No.
A lot of times people who suffer from mental illnesses struggle to say no, they struggle to find the courage to stand up for themselves and to stand there ground. You already suffer from having a mental illness that is affecting your brain and your thinking but then on top of that the illness tells you if you say no the person will be mad so this causes anxiety. The fear of disappointing others used to cause me such severe anxiety that I would physically curl up and cry. I would have panic attacks because i was just pre-worrying about how the other person would feel or think. Even if it was something I did not want to do or that I could not do, I would always find away because I was so afraid to Say No. I was so afraid to say No I don’t want to do that or No I can’t do that, or No i won’t do that, or No that will hurt me in some way. So I never did and I always just figured it out and figured out a way to go above and beyond for the other people/person, but they never went above and beyond for me so it always hurt me in the long run.
The most powerful thing I ever realized and that I ever did for myself was learn to say No. No I don’t want to do that, No that’s not for me, No that is going to hurt me, No I do not like that. Once I started to say no, i started to be able to put walls up to protect my mental and emotional health. No became my visible shield. One day after a long period of distress, i sat there and I asked myself, “why am i so unhappy, what is going on that makes me feel this sad and miserable repeatedly?” After much thought and contemplation, the answer always stemmed back to me. I just needed to learn to say no, and mean it.
I had to learn that if someone did not accept, or like my boundaries I had set for myself, that was not a “me problem,” it was a “them problem.” Once I realized the walls that I put up were constructed as a force field to protect my own heart and mind, it was easier to recognize that their disapproval was no longer an element of importance. I had to learn that nobody is going to die from me saying no; they may be mad or upset with me, but I had to teach myself to be okay with the outcome. I had to constantly remind myself that I was doing what was right for me. In a society where we try so hard to be socially acceptable and people pleasing individuals, I am here to tell you a hard truth that honestly it’s okay to put yourself first. your mental and emotional health is so precious, and if you do not protect it, it will just cause you so much pain and sorrow. It took me a really long time to realize that nobody is worth sacrificing those things for, and that people who love you would never put you in a position to sacrifice your own mental and emotional health in the first place. they would never want to be the reason you suffer.
So to the people in my past who where putting me in those tough situations, I’m happy to say I outgrew them. I had to acknowledge those individuals did not care about me in the way that I had glorified them in my mind. They were people. Perfectly imperfect people. Instead of becoming resentful over the past and the years of discomfort, I chose to take control of my present, and change my future. For all these reasons, that’s why I had to learn to say NO.
Just remember It is okay to say no; there is nothing wrong with that and you owe no explanation to anyone for doing what’s best for you.
September 22, 2020
Written By: Amanda Paige Medina