Saleen Says: saying no without feeling guilty.


“Who is this?” I thought, picking up my phone.

“Hey, want to go to PBR?” my friend texted.

Sprawled across my bed, donned in a tie-dye t-shirt, no pants and a pink bonnet, I quickly responded and said I wouldn’t be joining her.

I didn’t feel like going to a bar. I barely felt like moving, so I didn’t.

It wasn’t hard to make the decision. In fact, I didn’t think twice about my response. I knew that any real friend of mine would understand and appreciate my honesty.

In retrospect, I’m proud.

The old me would’ve sat there staring at my phone for 10 minutes because I didn’t want to hurt my friend’s feelings. However, I knew I was in for the night as soon as I put that bonnet on and took my pants off. I was done.

“This is what growth feels like,” I thought as I hit “send” and put my phone down, returning to my movie.

After years of pressuring myself to do things, I’ve finally learned how to say no without feeling guilty.

I’ve struggled with this a lot. I used to feel bad when I didn’t want to do something, as if I was being unfair to the person who asked me. I did things out of obligation, but that was so stressful.

My mind had been programmed to think I should hang out with people or else they’d stop inviting me places. I thought I should leap at every opportunity to go out because having a healthy social life is important. I thought I should do whatever people asked because life was all about getting out there, meeting new people and being on the go.

But what about resting? What about alone time? What about letting my body catch up to the exceedingly high expectations I’ve set for myself?

My entire life, I’ve put others before myself because subconsciously, I didn’t think I was worthy of proper self-care.

Not anymore.

What I’ve learned is that sometimes you just don’t feel like going out. You’re over people. You don’t feel like putting on clothes and being in some loud bar.

Some days, all you want is to be in your own space, doing what you love to do. In my case, I wanted to relax and escape into a fictional tale about a little red-headed witch.

And you know what? That’s perfectly normal.

It’s normal to put yourself first. It’s normal to want to be alone, and it’s normal to slow down and relax.

There’s this belief that you have to constantly be on the go, or be around people, or working.

Sure, if you want to run yourself into an early grave.

I’m not buying it anymore.

There are so many wonderful years ahead of me, some of which I will spend in bed, watching movies with a cold bottle of Canada Dry at my bedside – unapologetically, at that.

You should do the same.

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