Lately, I’ve been seeing people online choose a word that they want to represent their experience in 2019. It’s like a new spin on resolutions—what do you want your future year to boil down to in one word? I’ve seen lots of great words like “create,” “inspire,” and “grow” that make the chooser’s goals fairly easy to imagine. They make sense; they’re positive, and goals centered around that idea would naturally lead to good things.
On the other hand, the word I chose for 2019 is “no.” That’s right, I chose the word from which most negativity in our language comes. And I chose it because I think it will bring a great deal of positivity to my life in 2019. I chose it because there are some things I need to learn to say “no” to if I’m ever going to move forward.
I’m Saying No to Things That Don’t Bring Me Joy
I’ve spoken before about how I tend to be a people pleaser. I try really hard (relentlessly is probably a better word) to win people over so that they can’t fault me for anything and therefore can’t present conflict in my life. Sounds healthy, right? Yeah, I’m getting over it.
This pattern of people-pleasing often causes me to do things that I don’t want to do. I’ll take something on because I don’t want anyone else to feel burdened, I’ll reach out because I don’t want the other person to feel ignored, I’ll agree to a social activity when I’m in desperate need of alone time.
After a year of doing these things and utterly exhausting myself in 2018, all I have to say is, “No.” No no no no. NO.
Am I a Bad Person?
No! I’m not a bad person for putting my own needs first. If I did this 100% of the time for my entire life, I’d probably be a “bad” person. But I don’t plan on “no-ing” people who are actually in need or turning down things that I would genuinely enjoy. I’m just done with only doing things because I want to be agreeable to other people. When do I get to start living for myself? In 2019, when I start saying no.
I’m Saying No to People Who Don’t Love Me Back
I’m saying no to going out of my way to show that I care for people who serially don’t reciprocate. I understand that everyone goes through tough times and that it can be really hard to show love when you’re in a dark place—I’ve been there—but I know that there are some people who just will never care about you as much as you care about them. And you know what you say to that? No. Nope, no thank you. You (I) don’t need that.
I’m Saying No to People Who Don’t Like How I Express Myself
I’ve spent too much of my life molding what I like and how I look for other people. I dressed kind of preppy for 4 years of college. Perfect example. Who was I? I was your average student at my college. Except…no, I wasn’t. That wasn’t my style at all! I’m ready to fully embrace my personal style and feel like myself in 2019.
I’m Saying No to People Who Tell Me That My Body is Wrong, Unwanted, Ugly, and Unworthy
Yes to body positivity in 2019, no to feeling bad about myself. No to people who treat overweight people like they’re invisible. No to companies who call themselves body positive and don’t even carry my size (you’re not body positive if your size range only goes to a 12/14). No to media that insist that there is an “ideal” body. No to people who think fitness should be everyone’s main priority. No to feeling like everyone’s judging me for what I eat in public. No to not wearing a 2-piece bathing suit. No to spending any more time disliking the beautiful body that I live in. No. No. NO.
If It Sounds Like I’m Angry, It’s Because I Am
But sometimes, you’ve gotta get angry before you can move on. I’m turning 26 next month, and I see so many things in my everyday life that I don’t want to do for a lifetime. It’s time to channel that anger into constructive resilience that recognizes that I am worthy. I am a priority in my life, and I can find ways to love others and be a successful contributor to my society without denying myself.