Stop saying yes

Valerie Teegardin
Valerie Teegardin

It is time to take back your life once and for all.

As college students, we constantly face challenging demands. Whether it’s an upcoming exam that demands hours of studying, a boyfriend who expects minute of your spare time, or a bossy group member who acts as the unofficial dictator. The world slams us with unrelenting demands on the daily.

Not only is it unrealistic to give in to each daily demand, but by saying yes to each request thrown your way, the control you have on your life slips through your fingers. The need to say yes becomes a deep addiction.

By being a pleaseaholic, you continuously drown out the little voice inside that whispers “put yourself first” as you take a shot of low self-esteem. Chase it with bitter guilt every time “yes” stumbles from your lips.

Enough is enough! It’s time to sober up and take control of your life.

I had a rough start to the semester when I lost a friend over a silly exam. It was the night before the test and I had just cracked open my textbook when I got a text from my friend asking if I could help her study.I looked down at my blank notecards and dusty book. I realized then that I had two options either to sacrifice my grade in order to help my friend, or put my needs first.

I have always been a raging pleaseacholic and I went back and forth between my two options. As hard as it was to decide, I chose to say no to her and put myself first. It sucked being put in that situation but I knew it was the right choice even though it was tough to turn down a chance to help my friend.

That is the hard part about life: knowing when to say yes or no. What helped me make my decision was focusing on my main goal for college. I pay out of state tuition having moved here from Washington and my parents are sacrificing a lot to help finance my college career. My parents are struggling for my education not my friends. With that in mind, I chose to ensure my needs were met first before I helped my friend met hers.

Of course not everyone likes being said no to, and it’s best to handle the situation in an honest matter. I texted my friend back that night and told her I couldn’t help her study because I had just started studying myself. I told her I had doughnuts and she was more than welcome to come over to make notes. I tried to make it a win-win scenario, so that my friend knew I did want her to succeed. However, at the same time, I was still true to myself.

Although recovery from being a pleasacholic takes time, that night I had taken the first step towards gaining control of my life. Unfortunately ,by putting myself first, I had to say no to a friend and she did not take it well. It was very hurtful when my friend and her roommate both replied to my invitation by telling me I was selfish and they were through with being my friend.

If that is how those people want to think of me, so be it. I know that is not who I am as a person. It may seem unfair when you get negative backlash after you decide to take control of your life, but I’ve learned if people don’t encourage you to do what’s best for yourself, then they don’t deserve to be in your life at all.

Gone are the days of pity parties and emotional hangovers. Today is the day you take control of your life and put yourself first by just saying “no”.

Valerie Teegardin can be reached at [email protected] or @vteegardin on Twitter.