Have you ever thought about the fact that the most valuable thing we have is time?
It’s fleeting, and once it’s gone, we can’t get it back.
We only have so much time, and it’s a resource we can’t afford to waste. What we choose to do with our time, from every second to every hour and every year, is what adds up to create a life.
And it’s essential to be proud of yours - and to feel happy and fulfilled when you look at a snapshot of your life.
This isn’t to say that taking time for self-care, days of leisure and moments spent with loved ones is wasted time — quite the opposite, in fact. Striving for constant productivity, achievement and people-pleasing is not the best way to use our time. Instead, the answer is simple: we should use our time in a way that brings as much joy as possible.
To do this, we have to be protective of it. We have to guard it, treasure it, honour it. We have to fill our days with what matters to us, and step away from what brings us down.
And there’s one major way we can do that: By learning to say no, which is one of the most powerful abilities you will ever have.
When we say yes to people, tasks, favours or events that we don’t want to, we have given up our most precious resource for little return. We’ve traded our time for… making someone else’s day easier? Pushing ourselves to the brink of burnout? Avoiding the guilt of saying ‘no’?
We say: it’s not worth it.
So here’s how to say no, and mean it. It may take some practice, but the reward is well worth it.
First of all, “No” is a complete sentence. You do not need to explain yourself. You do not need to justify your decision to anyone. You are allowed to have boundaries. You are allowed to prioritise you.
Second of all, after you’ve chosen “no”, say no once again. Say no to any feelings of guilt or shame. Shut down thoughts like: “I should’ve gone to the party!” or “They’re going to be so upset that I can’t help them”. Replace these feelings of guilt with an affirmation or mantra, and choose one that feels right to you: I’m proud of myself for putting me first. I’m happy I chose peace and joy today. I am not responsible for the problems of others. Those who love me will support and understand my decisions.
When you learn to say no, you can fill your time with things that bring endless love, light and joy to your days — and that’s a beautiful life to live, wouldn’t you agree?