Saying “Yes” to Yourself by Saying “No” to Others

One of the hardest things we have had to relearn is to say “no” to people.  

It seems simple, but it’s not. Grief is a huge thing to wrap your head around, and one of the things that is particularly a struggle is having to carry on with your normal life when nothing is normal anymore. Somebody told us that after the death of a loved one, you are expected to go back to work after a month. But that doesn’t mean that you are ready, or hurt less.  

It can feel as though everyone’s lives continue after a death but your own. People who came to the funeral slide out of your life and back into their routine: breakfast, work, lunch, work, home, family, sleep. For us, we couldn’t just do that. Even 6 months down the line, and we still need our weekends to recharge, sleep and feel secure at home.  

People ask you to do things and you have to turn them down sometimes. It’s hard not to feel guilty about it. Sometimes it is hard to say when you will feel up for visitors, or when you will feel mentally strong enough. Sometimes, making plans for the following week seems like a great idea – and sometimes it is – but other times, you just have to cancel because all you need to do is gather your strength at home.  

Your friends may want to see the person they used to know: fun-loving, laughing, happy Katie and Evee. For us, that was an impossible task. We weren’t happy, and we certainly weren’t going to pretend we were.  

Saying “no” becomes a power; it strengthens you mentally. You slowly repair once lost boundaries. We were used to having nurses, doctors, family friends, just walking into our house. Now, when our door shuts, it stays shutOur weekends are ours again, and that takes a lot of getting used to. We started to go for walks every Sunday, and it seemed huge. We felt peaceful, calm, and normal. This was so important because our lives were dictated by us again, for us, rather than having to give our energy to others. 

Being around people who don’t understand grief can be difficult because you can’t relate to them, and you may not even have the energy to explain how you feel. We don’t care for small talk or gossip; How can we talk about so and so’s friend’s boyfriend drama over a cappuccino when all we can think about is the last time we were in that coffee shop with our mum. When we see people our own ages, we cannot be carefree because we  walk around with a huge burden. We find it difficult to relate to sloppy instagram stories of nights out because we didn’t have that luxury for so long, and after our mums death, we had time, but that was the last thing we wanted to do. 

Grief comes in waves as does your energy level. Sometimes you do feel capable of meeting up with people, having  fun, and you almost feel like yourself again. When these days occur, we try to make the most of them, as guilt free as possible. But on the flipside, sometimes there still are those days where leaving the house is daunting, and just going to the swimming pool feels like a win. 

We know that in time, periods where we want to socialise and have fun will become more frequent, but for now,  it is okay to take time to heal ourselves without feeling bad or guilty for saying “no”.  

It’s okay to  allow yourself days where you lock the doors, watch Gossip Girl on Netflix and rest. Give yourself what your body needs: say “yes” to yourself, even if that means saying “no” to others. 

For now, dedicate this time to rest. 

Xoxo 

Katie & Evee 

24 thoughts on “Saying “Yes” to Yourself by Saying “No” to Others

  1. astijake John – Freelance writer, Husband to Angie, (In a fashion) father to 4 grown up children, (I think) grandfather to 3 beautiful boys and a brand new Grand daughter. In the process of writing my first novel. University graduate in English Literature and History BA Hons. TEFL Masters qualification. Level 3 NVQ Health and Social Care. Qualified in administering medications.
    astijake John says:

    I’m the same, I feel really guilty when I say No to people, so I try to avoid it 🙁

  2. orkidedatter – Quote: «Sometimes I wish I would get lost from my life, just sit looking from the sidelines, see how others would handle life if they were in my shoes" ... Welcome to Orkidedatter Norwegian: Sitat: «noen ganger skulle jeg ønske at jeg gikk meg vill fra livet mitt, bare sitte å se på fra sidelinjen, å se hvordan andre ville taklet livet om de gikk i mine sko»... Velkommen til Orkidèdatter.
    orkidedatter says:

    I could recognize myself in this post
    Wish you a great day or evening

  3. Looking for the Light – Hi Friend Lifestyle Blogger, Spoonie, Survivor of Child Abuse and Suicide, Advocate for Chronic Illnesses, and Mental Health. Please pull up a chair and search my archives. Melinda
    Looking for the Light says:

    No one can tell you what is expected, everyone heals on their own time. If you would like to read some post I wrote about caregiving and grieving you can search caregiver on my site. I took care of both of my grandparents until death. It was so hard to watch everyday but I had to be strong and push the feelings down. When each died all those emotions came out and it was crippling. Be gentle on yourself and take your time and don’t let others push into a box. Everyone needs to completely grieve or memories can haunt because you didn’t take the time. You are stronger than you think. 🙂

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that you have experienced great loss in your life also, but very thankful for your support , it means so much. I’ll take a look at your posts too, thank you <3

      1. Looking for the Light – Hi Friend Lifestyle Blogger, Spoonie, Survivor of Child Abuse and Suicide, Advocate for Chronic Illnesses, and Mental Health. Please pull up a chair and search my archives. Melinda
        Looking for the Light says:

        The greatest thing I did for myself while grieving was remember all the great memories not just the pain of loss. My grandparents rasied me, they were like my parents and I promised to let them die at home. It was so hard emotionally and physically but I gave them my word. It didn’t matter what the cost was on me, I wanted to have every minute I could with them. It’s been years since their death but now I can look at all the crazy, funny things we did and said. Don’t let yourself live with regret. There is no room for regret, leave and work thru that emotion during greiving.

  4. You have described the difficulties of living after experiencing a personally devastating event very clearly and sensitively. The pressures, however unintended, put on a grieving person by others or by circumstances need to be handled carefully and positively – by both parties.

    Grief is an unbelieveably negative emotion and saying ‘No’ does not always have to be seen as a negative, in fact it’s probably best used when it is not said with a negative intent, but a positive one. 🙂

  5. palmtreesandloyalties – I figured it's important that I explain why I chose the Palm tree instead of the Pine tree. Both are beautiful and similar in one way. They both bend with the storms that pass, but still stand. This blog is just that. "Its me, still standing!" I now a make a pledge to very often find things to write about and always put an interesting spin on how I write about them. Hint hint...there will always be humour attached. This blog will be for those who like to read and see the fun and adventure in life. Not keen on talking about it. So I will write about it! Let's go!
    palmtreesandloyalties says:

    Thank you so much for this post. It’s funny how things come to you just when you need them. I’m struggling to make today a regular day. Grief really takes time and sometimes even when u feel ok it hits u all at once. So good to know I’m not alone. Thanks again for this.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, this is exactly the reason why we created this blog. You’re right, it hits you all at once and it’s scary sometimes. But I’m learning to try and ride the wave and let it wash over me rather than trying to suppress it. Sending love

  6. BeckiesMentalMess.wordpress.com – Bridgewater, New Jersey, USA – Hello.. Since August 2015, I have wanted to help others that suffer with mental illness. We are not broken. We all can live a normal life, its just the obstacles we face daily. I figured if I shared my story.. I could reach others. I want everyone with mental illness to have a place to either vent, or educate from other sites I will post along the way. Please feel free to comment.. If you think someone else will benefit by reading this, please reccomend them to. God Bless All.
    BeckiesMentalMess.wordpress.com says:

    First off, I am so terribly sorry for your loss.
    Everyone reacts differently, and at their own pace. Saying no shouldn’t be difficult, and I know firsthand how hard it is to say that simple little word.
    However, you are entitled and your feelings are validated. I’m sure others would understand this. And, if they don’t… That is really their problem, not to make it your own.
    God Bless.

      1. BeckiesMentalMess.wordpress.com – Bridgewater, New Jersey, USA – Hello.. Since August 2015, I have wanted to help others that suffer with mental illness. We are not broken. We all can live a normal life, its just the obstacles we face daily. I figured if I shared my story.. I could reach others. I want everyone with mental illness to have a place to either vent, or educate from other sites I will post along the way. Please feel free to comment.. If you think someone else will benefit by reading this, please reccomend them to. God Bless All.
        BeckiesMentalMess.wordpress.com says:

        You’re very welcome. Take your time. Don’t allow others to pressure you into anything you don’t want to do.

  7. Losing Joe - Finding My Way Thru Grief – Bakersfield, CA – My name is Elaine Suarez, I am a mother of 3 children; Joseph 27, Allie 25, Juliana 21. I’ve been married to the love of my life, Isadore, for 33 years. We’ve been blessed with three healthy and beautiful children. We raised our kids with unconditional love, joy for family, knowing our Catholic Faith, and the importance of working hard to achieve life goals. The five of us never left each others presence without saying, “I love you.” We are an extremely close family. On the morning of May 29, 2018, at approximately 11:00 am, I received a phone call from the coroner's office notifying me that our only son, Joseph Anthony Suarez, age 27, was deceased. And, just like that, in a matter of less than 2 seconds our life would never again be the same. Everything changed, we changed. Joseph (Joe) was only 27 and his life had come to an abrupt and devastating end. He is the eldest of three, he is our only son and only brother to our two daughters. Joe’s life ended way too soon. This was not fixable. The coroner kept his body for 21 days; therefore, we never got to say goodbye. His body was not the same body we last seen on May 28, 2018..healthy, vibrant, moving in life with no fear yet full of love for family, friends, and life itself. We chose to remember our son the way we last seen him, not on a steel flat gurney and unrecognizable after being touched and God knows what else from the autopsy. We celebrated his life remembering all the beautiful things he gave to each of us, his smile and his infectious personality that lit up a room the moment he entered, his love for us and our love for him. He is and will forever be with us, his spiritual self is way too big to not be here and I will work as best as I can to keep that beautiful spirit alive. I made Joe a promise on the day I said out loud in his bedroom while on my knees, “Okay God, I’m going to give him back to you because I want him safe and at peace.” I promised Joe I will NEVER let him be forgotten...not ever, and I would try to do my very best to breathe to live every day. This is my story of Losing Joe. Son, I love you to no end, Joseph Anthony Suarez. We will forever be a team my Jeh. ♥️i love u forever, your Meh.♥️
    Losing Joe - Finding My Way Thru Grief says:

    It’s easier to say No..now. because I can. I don’t feel bad anymore, I’m just trying to breathe every day. I was a Yes person “before” I lost my son. I’m not sure who I am “after”and this scares me. I’m 10 mos. into this life of loss, it’s killing me on most days. I love your words!! Thk u.

    1. I know exactly what you mean, it’s been 6 months for us now. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I barely recognise myself and I don’t know who I am without my mum. I’m really sorry for your loss
      Katie

      1. Losing Joe - Finding My Way Thru Grief – Bakersfield, CA – My name is Elaine Suarez, I am a mother of 3 children; Joseph 27, Allie 25, Juliana 21. I’ve been married to the love of my life, Isadore, for 33 years. We’ve been blessed with three healthy and beautiful children. We raised our kids with unconditional love, joy for family, knowing our Catholic Faith, and the importance of working hard to achieve life goals. The five of us never left each others presence without saying, “I love you.” We are an extremely close family. On the morning of May 29, 2018, at approximately 11:00 am, I received a phone call from the coroner's office notifying me that our only son, Joseph Anthony Suarez, age 27, was deceased. And, just like that, in a matter of less than 2 seconds our life would never again be the same. Everything changed, we changed. Joseph (Joe) was only 27 and his life had come to an abrupt and devastating end. He is the eldest of three, he is our only son and only brother to our two daughters. Joe’s life ended way too soon. This was not fixable. The coroner kept his body for 21 days; therefore, we never got to say goodbye. His body was not the same body we last seen on May 28, 2018..healthy, vibrant, moving in life with no fear yet full of love for family, friends, and life itself. We chose to remember our son the way we last seen him, not on a steel flat gurney and unrecognizable after being touched and God knows what else from the autopsy. We celebrated his life remembering all the beautiful things he gave to each of us, his smile and his infectious personality that lit up a room the moment he entered, his love for us and our love for him. He is and will forever be with us, his spiritual self is way too big to not be here and I will work as best as I can to keep that beautiful spirit alive. I made Joe a promise on the day I said out loud in his bedroom while on my knees, “Okay God, I’m going to give him back to you because I want him safe and at peace.” I promised Joe I will NEVER let him be forgotten...not ever, and I would try to do my very best to breathe to live every day. This is my story of Losing Joe. Son, I love you to no end, Joseph Anthony Suarez. We will forever be a team my Jeh. ♥️i love u forever, your Meh.♥️
        Losing Joe - Finding My Way Thru Grief says:

        My prayers are with you as well

  8. JOY journal – A long-time journalist, Nora Edinger also blogs and writes books. Her Christian chick lit and faith-related non-fiction are available on Amazon. She lives in Appalachia, where she is part of a three-generation, three-species household.
    JOY journal says:

    You sound like very wise young women. As a mum of teen daughters myself, I can pretty much say for sure that your mum would be quite proud that you have already learned a skill that you will need for the rest of your lives. Blessings on you both as you go through this valley.

  9. craig lock – New Zealand – from http://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig_lock.html About the Author Craig has a 'passion' for writing books that tell stories about people doing positive things in this often so hard, sometimes unkind world, occasionally cruel, yet always amazing world - true stories that leave the reader feeling uplifted, empowered and hopefully even inspired. https://www.createspace.com/3779691/ and http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 Craig Lock loves to encourage and empower people to be the best they can possibly be, and to create what they want in life. Craig has learnt plenty from the "school of life" (still "battered and bruised") and also from a few "hard knocks on the head". He is an extensive world traveller (on a "shoestring budget") and failed professional emigrater who has spent most of his life’s savings on airfares. He is still sliding down the razor blade of life on the beautiful undiscovered island that is New Zealand, somewhere near the bottom (rude!) of the world near Antarctica. There he talks to the 60 million sheep! Craig has been involved in the corporate world (life assurance) for over twenty years in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. However, through a strange set of circumstances and finding himself in a small town near the bottom of the world ...and with nothing else to do, he started writing. That was five years ago. Five published books later and having written another twenty manuscripts (on widely differing subjects - well what else is there to do here?)... this is where Craig is in the "journey/adventure" that is life. Craig has taught at the local Polytechnic, as well as running a successful creative writing course (not teaching sheep!). He was the author of (as far as we know) the first creative writing course on the internet Craig has many varied interests and passions. He is particularly interested in the field of psychology – studying the human mind and what makes different people "tick-tock grandfather clock". He is fascinated by the "overlap between psychology and the dimension of spirituality". One of his missions in life is helping people make the most of their hidden potential and so finding their niche in life... so that they are happy. Craig’s various books probably tell more about his rather "eventful" life best (no one could believe it!). He writes books with serious messages and themes, then as a contrast "rather crazy, wacky stuff"…to keep him sane here. As an ‘anonymouse’ person wrote: "All of us are born mad; some of us remain so." Well nothing else much happens in quiet provincial New Zealand, other than headlines like "Golf Ball Thrown at Policeman" and "Beach Toilet Closed for Season.". True! from http://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig_lock.html Craig has a 'passion' for writing books that tell stories about people doing positive things in this often so hard, sometimes unkind world, occasionally cruel, yet always amazing world - true stories that leave the reader feeling uplifted, empowered and hopefully even inspired. https://www.createspace.com/3779691/ and http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 from http://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig_lock.html and http://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig-lock Craig Lock loves to encourage and empower people to be the best they can possibly be, and to create what they want in life. Craig has learnt plenty from the "school of life" (still "battered and bruised") and also from a few "hard knocks on the head". He is an extensive world traveller (on a "shoestring budget") and failed professional emigrater who has spent most of his life's savings on airfares. He is still sliding down the razor blade of life on the beautiful undiscovered island that is New Zealand, somewhere near the bottom (rude!) of the world near Antarctica. There he talks to the 60 million sheep! Craig has been involved in the corporate world (life assurance) for over twenty years in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. However, through a strange set of circumstances and finding himself in a small town near the bottom of the world ...and with nothing else to do, he started writing. That was five years ago. Five published books later and having written another twenty manuscripts (on widely differing subjects - well what else is there to do here?)... this is where Craig is in the "journey/adventure" that is life. Craig has taught at the local Polytechnic, as well as running a successful creative writing course (not teaching sheep!). He was the author of (as far as we know) the first creative writing course on the internet Craig has many varied interests and passions. He is particularly interested in the field of psychology – studying the human mind and what makes different people "tick-tock grandfather clock". He is fascinated by the "overlap between psychology and the dimension of spirituality". One of his missions in life is helping people make the most of their hidden potential and so finding their niche in life... so that they are happy. Craig’s various books probably tell more about his rather "eventful" life best (no one could believe it!). He writes books with serious messages and themes, then as a contrast "rather crazy, wacky stuff"…to keep him sane here. As an ‘anonymouse’ person wrote: "All of us are born mad; some of us remain so." Well nothing else much happens in quiet provincial New Zealand, other than headlines like "Golf Ball Thrown at Policeman" (it missed, btw!) and "Beach Toilet Closed for Season." True! The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at ebooks (digital books) http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=la_B005GGMAW4_sr?rh=i:books&field-author=Craig+Lock Paperbacks (see https://goldendawnpublishing.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/paperback-writer/ and https://wanttowriteabook.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/paperback-writer-the-beatles/ https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query="craig+lock"&sitesearch_type=STORE https://www.amazon.com/Craig-Lock/e/B005GGMAW4/ref=pe_584750_33951330_sr_tc_2_0?qid=1476388259&sr=1-2-ent http://www.creativekiwis.com/index.php/books and http://goo.gl/vTpjk All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children – MINE! “When the writer is no more , the value of your purchase will soar! “ “Together, one mind, one life (one small step at a time), let’s see how many people (and lives) we can encourage, impact, empower, enrich, uplift and perhaps even inspire to reach their fullest potentials…and strive for and perhaps one sunny day even achieve their wildest dreams.” PPS Don’t worry about the world ending today… as it’s already tomorrow in scenic and tranquil ‘little’ New Zealand
    craig lock says:

    Reblogged this on Say Yes to YOUR Potential and commented:
    who wants to fit into a box?
    http://www.upliftencourageandinspire.wordpress.com

  10. OIKOS™-Editorial – ESLARN-Weiden (Europe - Germany) – We are a small newspaper located in Germany, near Czech Republic. You will find our monthly magazine at www.issuu.com/smde. --------------------------- During GDPR-conflicts our blog is privatizised since May, 25, but all reblogs and postings are automatically for warded to our Twitter-Account @EslarnerZeitung, and connected RSS-portals. ----------- Wir berichten u.a. auch aus der bayerisch-tschechischen Grenzregion. Blog zum kostenlosen, monatlichen pdf-Magazin "DEEZ" (ISSN: 2366-4908). Gibts nur unter: issuu.com/smde
    OIKOS™-Publishing says:

    I fully agree to you. Its hard to do so, but you have to care for yourself first, or you can not care later for others, in need. Michael

  11. dfolstad58 – I live in the South Okanagan. BC. I enjoy reading, exercise, toastmasters. spending time with my son, my daughter, & her husband , and my patient wife. I try to respond personally to every comment on my blog, and in this way I hope to get to know my readers a little bit and say thank you for their encouragement and suggestions.
    dfolstad58 says:

    I like this post, and I am impressed how well you write. I like the thought that you are saying Yes to yourself instead of No to others. This is a post that could be further investigated. So many people feel guilt saying No. So many people say No to challenges because they could fail, and only say Yes to challenges they know they will succeed at. It’s the challenges that cause us to stretch that are the most worthwhile.

    I am grateful to have found by accident your blog today. It was comforting to me because my Mom passed June 6, 2018 11 a.m. from inoperable cancer. I will never forget having to leave, I had been there five weeks and now Mom was in hospice and we hoped she could hear us as we spent long days there talking to her. Saying goodbye was horrible, and I still cry unexpectedly, at weird times, once while having my blood taken at the hospital, and another while talking on the phone with the company that sprays my trees. My Mom was so loving to me. Thank you for your blog. – David

    1. Hi David, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I am really sorry to hear that your mum passed away in 2018 too.
      There are still days where I find myself catching my breath and I just can’t believe all we have been through. Saying yes to yourself could not be more important on days when grief is heavy – I call them “Grief days” and have written a post all about being kind to yourself.

      I am really happy that you have found our blog, I hope you find comfort in some of our posts and keep commenting.

      Take care and go gently

      Katie x

      1. dfolstad58 – I live in the South Okanagan. BC. I enjoy reading, exercise, toastmasters. spending time with my son, my daughter, & her husband , and my patient wife. I try to respond personally to every comment on my blog, and in this way I hope to get to know my readers a little bit and say thank you for their encouragement and suggestions.
        dfolstad58 says:

        Thanks to you and your sister Katie. I told my wife about your blog, I think it is special.

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