I used to be what I like to call a “chronic people-pleaser.” I never said no. I avoided confrontation like the plague. If you asked me my opinion, it would be bi-partisan and bland. If you asked me where I wanted to eat, I’d say “wherever.” If someone wanted to make plans, I’d say yes.
If it does, then stop and think with me for a second. Why live life that way? I’m pretty sure we are all well aware of the fact that we all have differing schedules and interests – not to mention sometimes you just don’t want to do anything. I decided to own that, and here’s why you should too:
I’ve become more self-aware. By giving myself the power to say no, I became more self-reflective. In order to separate social anxiety from a genuine disinterest or lack of time, I always closely evaluate the root of my desire to say no. I have learned that I don’t always have to say yes to a commitment, but sometimes I should. It’s okay if something intimidates me, but it isn’t okay if I avoid it based on that fear alone. It’s good to push our limits and grow.
I feel less social anxiety. Some people may take advantage of the inability to say no, and letting people steamroll over us can make us feel insecure and anxious. There is a certain level of empowerment to knowing that I am taking control of my schedule, and that allows me to pour my heart into everything I do without unnecessary stress.
I’m a better friend. With a little extra self-reflection, I can be sure I don’t over schedule. I was always worried about what friends (and family) might think if I didn’t jump on board with every plan they made, but I should’ve been more worried about what would happen if I forced it. Nobody wins when I spend the whole playdate stressed over unfinished tasks, or sign up for a bake sale when I don’t actually have the time to bake. Now, if I bail on my plans, they know I’m not faking that illness! I choose my commitments carefully, and if I put it on my calendar it’s because I have the time and truly want to be there. If I didn’t, I would have said no.
I’m happier. I know that sounds simple and vague, but it’s true! When my schedule is full of things that I truly feel are where I need to be spending my time and effort, it is so much easier to be positive and excited. There is nothing worse than the dread of an upcoming calendar item, and it’s usually completely avoidable!
If you’ve already made this change in your life, please tell me about your experience in the comments! And if you haven’t, give it a try and let us know how it goes! Good luck! Here’s to a healthy and happy new year.