Is your life becoming a dangerous obstacle course where you stumble upon every problem? Are stress and negative thoughts an integral part of your daily routine? Are you tired of trying to keep up with everything and yet feeling like you have not accomplished anything? Take a deep breath, relax, remove the negative thoughts from your head, at least for a while, and focus on what really matters for you and for your life. How can you do that? By learning how to say no (and when to say it).
Saying no could be a difficult art to master. From an early age we are educated to make ourselves liked by others, not to disappoint them, not to disregard their expectations. However, these unspoken rules, which settle inside us year after year, often lead us to think more about others than about ourselves, to give more importance to their requests than to our needs. The result? We often fail to say no to people.
In his book The Power of No, entrepreneur and author James Altucher writes: “When you say yes to something you don’t want to do, here is the result: you hate what you are doing, you resent the person who asked you, and you hurt yourself.” When it is coming from a place of subtle manipulation or even resentment, can saying yes when you mean no ever be a good thing?
On many occasions, not knowing how to say no can be one of the greatest enemies of your personal well-being. Putting the satisfaction of other people above yours is very good, even admirable if you do it deliberately and voluntarily for the right reasons. However, it is not that great when you unconsciously and gradually stop living your life to live for others. As James Clear says: “Say no is critical not only to your physical health, but also to maintaining a sense of well–being and control in your mental health. To put it simply: you can either be the victim of your words or the architect of them.”
To start 2022 with the right foot, here are my suggestions on things we should all say no to in order to live a better, healthier, happier life.
1. Say no to toxic people
The first, revolutionary, act you should do to change your life is learning to say no to toxic people. No matter who they are and what role they have in your life; they can be your friends, partner, colleagues or even a relative. A toxic person is extremely good at making us question ourselves, our beliefs and our experiences. They are also simply incapable of meeting your needs, even if they want to. Accepting that and moving on could be painful, but you should learn to say goodbye. Instead, make time for people that don’t bring you down. You’ll immediately notice the difference.
2. Say no to bad habits
Whether it is control-freakism, procrastination or guilty feelings. Whether it is going to bed too late or always having one too many glasses of wine. It takes a willingness to embrace that the current habits are doing you harm, but it is never too late to change your life.
3. Say no to the idea of perfection
Perfection does not exist, but for many it is a real obsession.There are people who go after the wrong goal and search of that perfect image that they will never be able to achieve. Trying to always be perfect is a double-edged sword: demanding too much of yourself leads to chronic unhappiness and low self-confidence. Instead, look within yourself, discover your strength and focus on the beauty of your magnificent imperfection.
4. Say no to negativity
Being negative will only create more problems for you. Everything starts from your head: remove the negativity and act for your own good. As Eckart Tolle said “The mind is a superb tool when used correctly. Used incorrectly, however, it becomes very destructive”. So stop spending your days complaining about how things are going: take your life in hand and act accordingly with your own happiness as a goal.
5. Say no to comparing yourself to others
Although innate and sometimes useful, comparing ourselves to others becomes dysfunctional when it produces feelings such as envy or jealousy or when it leads us to judge ourselves better or worse than others. It risks activating unpleasant emotions and becoming the measure of our alleged shortcomings, assuming the negative function of self-sabotage rather than the positive one of motivating us to improve. So don't act out of emulation or to please others. It may not be easy, but succeeding means finally living in peace and fulfilled according to your own desires and values.
Written by Paige Trimbly