The first thing about saying no: it’s a lot easier said than done. And what I mean by that is that it’s easy to tell yourself you’re going to refuse to do certain things, but it’s difficult when you’re actually faced with someone asking you to do something. You feel the tug, the urge to say yes and give in, and sometimes the urge to say yes is overwhelming.
I’m not talking about saying no to drugs or to cigarettes or alcohol or anything like that. (Although it is nice to say no to those things.) What I’m talking about is saying no to doing too many things at once. Someone may ask you to critique their story or help them co-write a poem or volunteer at a church function. Of course, you’re busy with your own life (a life that may include school, work, family, and your own writing), but you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings or make them think you’re mean, so you say yes anyway.
If you say yes to too many things too often, you may find yourself easily overwhelmed. And that’s why it’s healthy to say no every once in a while. People (for the most part) will understand (or attempt to understand) that you already have enough obligations, because they probably find themselves in similar situations sometimes. Saying no when you’re already overwhelmed also makes you feel more free to do what you want, or what’s really important.
It helps to reevaluate your obligations often. Is there something you could stop doing in favor of doing something else that’s more worthwhile? Is there a project that you should just say no to and put away for a while? Take the time to put things in perspective. 🙂