+

Kristen was a real go-getter — she wasn't afraid to say "yes." And it helped her shoot up the ranks at her job as a young woman.

She wasn't afraid to try new things or risk failure. So the blogger and knitting enthusiast found herself with her own office at the young age of 21. But her love affair with the word "yes" didn't last forever.


30 years later, she found that her romance with "yes" had finally lost its flame. She was stressed out.

Unfortunately you can't always fake it until you make it.

She found herself saying "yes" to the wrong things, leaving her stretched and overcommitted.

So she decided it was time give a word in her lexicon some extra use.

Not all of us can say "no" with the ease of Grumpy Cat. #lifegoals.

It took a while, but once she perfected "the art of 'no'" she knew she made the right decision.

In a blog post about her journey to learning how to say no, she says getting into the habit wasn't easy, but it was so worth it. She feels better: free, happy, and more helpful!

GIF via "Despicable Me."

Here are some simple tips that'll have you saying that two-letter word with ease in no time:

1. Make the commitment to "no" official. Figure out why you need to say it, and declare it.

YES! And that's OK. GIF via "Scandal."

It'll be easier to stick to saying "no" when you've sat down and told yourself why you've made the conscious decision to do so. Kristen's turning point came when she found herself making and delivering 200 desserts by hand for a party that wasn't even hers — when she had her own party the same day! The stress of it left her feeling exhausted and victimized. She decided enough is enough.

So take a minute to think about it: Why do you need to say "no"? Is it to get more sleep? To be less stressed? To have more time to go to the gym or spend time with friends? Remember that every reason is valid. Just make sure you discover yours.

2. Remember: Saying "no" won't make everyone hate you.

A re-enactment of how people will feel after you tell them "no." GIF via "Skins."

Until we learn how to add more hours to the 24 we've got in a day, we just can't do everything. People get that we have limitations — because we all have them. And, you know, there's that thing with sleeping and eating that we humans can't do without.

If people respect you enough to ask for your help, they'll respect you enough to not take your "no" personally. Keep in mind that it isn't the word "no" that's inherently rude; it's how it's said that makes the difference.

3. Overcome FOMO and get comfortable with "doing you."

It's easy to feel like Homer, but you can overcome it. I BELIEVE IN YOU! GIF via "The Simpsons."

The temptation to say "yes" can be especially strong when you feel like you don't want to miss out on a great opportunity. If you're tempted to say "yes" out of fear, ask yourself a few questions. For instance: Will there be other parties? Can I really take on another commitment? Will I feel energized or more exhausted if I do this?

4. Discover the magic of using "and" or "but."

See how magical that word is?! GIF via "Spongebob Squarepants."

I get it. The idea of a curt "no" might sound terrifying. And nobody likes rudeness. Try these simple additions to help you soften the blow while still sounding confident:

In the resources section of the She Negotiates' website, negotiation consultant and executive coach Lisa Gates shows just how effective these words can be in different situations:

When you're just flat out saying "no."

"Yes, I'd love to participate, and I am going to have to decline."

When you know someone who can do it.

"I love that you thought of me, and I'm unable to participate. How can I help you find someone else?"

When you want to show your appreciation for the ask.
"I think your idea is fabulous, and I'm not able to participate at this time."

When it's "no" — for now.
"Yes, I'd love to participate, but at a later date. Can you ask me again in January?"

5. Keep it short and sweet.

Channel your inner Liz Lemon. GIF via "30 Rock."

Know that saying "no" is enough. You don't need to provide a long explanation to prove the worth of your "no." Keep it simple while being truthful. It'll be clear, and (bonus points) you don't sound like you're making up excuses!

And if you wish you didn't have to say "no"? Here's another example Gates offers:

I really wanted to attend your party but I was working late and the kids had a meltdown when I came home and by the time things were calmed down it was too late. Besides, someone boxed me in and I couldn't get out of my parking space even if I wanted to. I'm sorry if you were counting on me. How can I make it up to you?

Doesn't it sound so much better when you keep it short and to the point?

Following these steps are just the beginning. Fortunately there are a lot of resources out there that can help you learn how to say "no." Check out theseposts on Lifehacker or books like "How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty" by Patti Brietman and Connie Hatch.

Creating boundaries can be hard, but having them makes for a happier, more healthy life. It might feel counterintuitive, but saying "no" can actually improve your relationships. Think about it: If you learn how to turn down doing the things you don't really want to do, then you're free to commit to the things — and people — you're crazy about (in the good way).

So go out there and flex those "no" muscles and tell me how it goes. Or not. It's OK if you don't want to report back — just say no. ;)

True

Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!

However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Someone asked strangers online to share life's essential lessons. Here are the 17 best.

There's a bit of advice here for everyone—from financial wisdom to mental health tips.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

Failure is a great teacher.

It’s true that life never gets easier, and we only get continuously better at our lives. Childhood’s lessons are simple—this is how you color in the lines, 2 + 2 = 4, brush your teeth twice a day, etc. As we get older, lessons keep coming, and though they might still remain simple in their message, truly understanding them can be difficult. Often we learn the hard way.

The good news is, the “hard way” is indeed a great teacher. Learning the hard way often involves struggle, mistakes and failure. While these feelings are undeniably uncomfortable, being patient and persistent enough to move through them often leaves us not only wiser in having gained the lesson, but more confident, assured and emotionally resilient. If that’s not growth, I don’t know what is.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Co-Op and Pixabay

Co-op CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq.

The CEO of Co-op, one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains has made an important statement about excess at a time when many families are struggling in the UK.

The Daily Mail reports that Shirine Khoury-Haq, the head of a company with over 3900 retail locations says she’s giving her twin, six-year-old daughters one present each this Christmas because she could not “in good conscience” give them more while millions of families struggle with inflation and high energy prices.

Khoury-Haq makes over £1 million ($1,190,000) a year after bonuses, so she pledged to give her family's present money to those in need. “It just feels like excess, given what’s happening in the world. In good conscience, I can’t do that in my own home,” Khoury-Haq said according to The Guardian.

“The rest of our budget will be given to Santa to provide presents for children whose parents can’t contribute to the elves,” she continued. “We’re going to go out shopping for those other presents and [we will] send them to Santa.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Woman reunites with her family 51 years after being kidnapped

Melissa Highsmith never even knew her real family was searching for her.

The family celebrate their reunion following a decades long search

In 1971, Melissa Highsmith was kidnapped from her home in Fort Worth, Texas. Her disappearance has been one of the oldest missing person cases in America. Now, she gets to celebrate a long-awaited reunion with her family in what she calls a “Christmas miracle.”

As ABC affiliate WFAA reported, Melissa’s mother, Alta (who now goes by Alta Apantenco) had put out an ad for a babysitter to watch over her then 21-month-old while she was at work. A white gloved, well-dressed woman going by the name of Ruth Johnson responded to the call, but she was no babysitter. After Johnson picked up baby Melissa from Apantenco’s roommate, the two were never seen again.

As any parents would do in this situation, the Highsmiths worked tirelessly to find their little girl, involving the Fort Worth police and even the FBI. Sadly, it was all to no avail. The only glimmer of hope remaining was that there was no evidence of harm, so maybe, just maybe, their Melissa was being well taken care of. And for 51 years, the family held onto that possibility.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

Cuban immigrant’s reaction to getting his first American paycheck has gone viral

Before coming to the U.S. last year, Diaz made $12 a month as a computer science teacher in Cuba.

The Cuban and American flags.

An Instagram post featuring Yoel Diaz, a recent Cuban immigrant, is going viral because it shows a powerful example of something many of us in America take for granted. The freedom to earn a paycheck for a day of honest labor.

In the video, Diaz is ecstatic after he opens his first paycheck after getting a job as a seasonal worker for UPS. CBS reports that before coming to the U.S. last year, Diaz made $12 a month as a computer science teacher in Cuba.

"This is my first hourly paycheck that I feel every hour counted," he told CBS News. "That every hour of work has importance in my life and that I know I can work hard for something. I can't compare that emotion with anything. Because I never had that in my country."

The new job was a big change from life in Cuba where he had trouble filling his refrigerator. He told CBS News that sometimes he only had two items: "Water, water, water, five, ten eggs, water."

Keep ReadingShow less