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Say No

Smiling Flower

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Dr. Seuss

As children we’re taught to just say no, and we do it with abandon.

Want to come inside and get ready for dinner? No! Want to shut off the TV and go grocery shopping? No! Want to wear the glittery holiday sweater grandma bought you last year? You know where this is going.

Then we get older and learn about etiquette. We get that sometimes we need to do things that we don’t want to. We understand that other people’s feelings matter and we need to consider them before making decisions.

What we don’t always learn is how to find a balance between doing for others and doing for ourselves.

We say we value our time, but it’s difficult when we field a million requests through voicemail, email, IM, and text.

We know we need to hold our ground if we want to be productive—or stay sane—but we don’t want to disappoint anyone, or even worse, leave them hanging when they need us.

It’s important to offer compassion and make sacrifices, but being everything to everyone will eventually backfire. At some point you won’t have much left to give.

You’ll go through the motions, but you’ll feel exhausted. You’ll give your attention, but it will be distracted. You’ll say you don’t mind, but you’ll feel resentful.

Decide today what time and activities you need to do for you, and then make sure to do them. If someone makes a request that conflicts, unless it absolutely requires immediate attention, tell you them you’d love to help but you have something important planned.

Whatever it is, it is important. You can only be strong and useful for the people around you if you honor your needs as much as theirs. If you really want to make them happy, do what you need to do for you—because people who love you want to please you just as much as you want to please them.

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About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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