Today, I was reminded that I do not owe anything to anyone, except myself. Well, of course we ought to be respectful to others etc. but this is not what I am getting at. 

In the past few years, I have realized how much of myself I was giving away, to please, to care, to help out. 

There was nothing wrong with being at the service of others, but I forgot to take care of someone: myself.

From relationships I didn’t want to be in. Things I didn’t want to do. People I didn’t want to meet. Discussions I didn’t want to have. Bullshit I couldn’t take anymore.

I always thought I owed people an explanation, a reason.

A reason to leave. 

A reason to stay.

An explanation for saying no.

An explanation for not meeting people’s expectations of me. 

Well I didn’t. 

I learned to say no. I learned to delay, to dismiss, to ignore. 

In saying no, I learned to be selfish. Selfish with my time. Selfish with my vulnerability. Selfish with my energy.

My No’s became acts of self-care, acts of self-assertion. Through the process, I have also learned to value and respect people’s spaces and boundaries. 

You do not owe anything to anyone, except yourself.  

Writer - Aurore Iradukunda

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