Learn to say no, put yourself before others every once in a while

Ashley Hardwick and Ashley Hardwick

Typically, I write my columns about how our community can make a change in society.

I usually use examples from my everyday life, class lectures and events from history to do so.

However, this one will be slightly different.

A few days ago I was walking to my house from campus late at night. I called my mom to vent about my week and somehow I felt safe talking to her, even though she was three hours away.

After complaining to her about the people I allow into my life, she yelled at me. Yes, I am a few days shy of 21 and my mom still yells at me.

She told me that I do not take care of myself, and although I consume way more coffee than the usual college student should and sometimes engorge myself with frozen Ho Hos, she was not talking about my physical health.

Mentally and emotionally, she said, I worry her.

My stomach literally dropped as I imagined my mom losing sleep and biting her nails whenever she thought about my well-being.

She told me that putting others before myself isn’t always a good thing. She also reminded me that some individuals are “takers” and some are “givers.”

“Ashley, you have a tendency to allow the takers into your life. You give everything to them, but they just keeping taking and taking,” she said.

This statement really bothered me because I know she is 100 percent accurate and that saddens me.

It’s not sad that people take advantage of my willing and care-giving personality; it’s disappointing that I allow them to.

I need to make a greater effort in focusing on my well-being. I need to reassure myself that it’s OK to tell people “no.”

Ever since I was little, my mom told me, “You can’t save the world, Ashley. You’re not superwoman.”

And this is one of the reasons I catch myself saying yes.

I feel guilty for putting myself before others, but knowing that I worry my mom in the process, I have to remind myself that it’s not selfish if my best interest is my first priority.

In order to keep the promise I made to her, I have practiced saying “No.”

“Ashley, do you wanna order me a pizza? I’m broke.” “No.”

“Would you like to help me write my essay, even though I know you have a sinus infection?” “NO.”

Hey, it’s a start, right?

This is literally something I’ve struggled with my entire life, but I’m working on the realization of how impossible it is to be superwoman.

As someone once told me, “You can better help others when you help yourself first.”

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