When you mess up, when you swear too much, and when you don’t speak your mind. Love yourself when you don’t feel pretty, when you’ve had too much to drink and haven’t made it to the gym. Love yourself when you say something you don’t mean. Love yourself when cheese curds sound better than yoga. Love yourself when you make the same mistake over and over again and can’t understand why. Love yourself when there isn’t any other option, but also when every other option exists. Love yourself on those really tough days when you don’t want to.
Dear Self, I am sorry. I am sorry for being so hard on you. I am sorry for not accepting you just the way you are. For not loving you the way you deserve to be loved. For not taking care of your needs, and putting others first. I am sorry for letting opinions outside of your own dictate your life and your future. I am sorry for suggesting you be sad all by yourself rather than sharing that sadness with the world. I am sorry that I make you fear judgment from others instead of letting yourself shine. I am sorry that I don’t encourage you to be true to yourself but rather make you worry about people not understanding you. I am sorry that I do not give you the time you need to heal. That I expect you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps when you do not have any boots. I am sorry for not allowing you to cry on my shoulder and not allowing you to be vulnerable. I am sorry that sometimes I do not trust your judgment, even though deep down I know you’re right. I am sorry for expecting you to be perfect and allowing the portrayal of perfection in our society to ruminate in your mind. I am sorry that I do not remind you of how brave, resilient, and pretty you are. I am sorry that I make you feel as though you cannot make mistakes or take any risks. I am sorry for not allowing you to be honest with yourself in difficult moments. You do not deserve any of this, and you need to know that I see you trying. And because of that, you deserve happiness. You deserve happiness because of who you are…Because you are incredible, you are extraordinary. You deserve happiness because life should be more than pretending to be perfect. You deserve happiness because your flaws are beautiful. But most importantly, you deserve happiness just because. And I am so sorry that I have made you feel as though you are not worthy of this.
Why is it that we want to please others more than ourselves? That we cancel our own plans to take on the extra work shift we are too mentally exhausted to handle. That we agree to help a friend instead of going to that movie we were looking forward to…..I’ll tell you why, it’s because we live in a world full of Yes People, and I can almost guarantee you’re one of them.
Yes People put others before themselves; they live for second place. Yes People believe that in order to have a fulfilled life, they must sacrifice for others and be in a constant state of giving back.
So what if I told you I think this way of life is total b.s.?
Riddle me this: How are we supposed to be helpful to others, sacrifice our own wellbeing, and be in a constant state of giving if we aren’t mentally sound, or emotionally and physically healthy? How are we supposed to live a happy life if we forget to put ourselves first rather than let ourselves go for the betterment of others? The answer? We can’t. But the unfortunate thing is we do it constantly. We live in a society that puts more meaning and emphasis on always giving to others rather than to ourselves. We live in a time where we feel guilty if we say no, we feel guilty if we take a break, and we feel guilty if we do something nice for ourselves for once. And you know what else? We judge and get upset with those who say no to us rather than being understanding of their busy world and respecting their decision.
Over the past couple months I have made a point to say no every now and again, and after a few practice rounds I can tell you it has been amazing. Not only do I feel happier and more relaxed, but when I do say yes to others I actually mean it. My yes’s have become more genuine, and I have more energy to engage myself in whatever ‘yes’ it is that I am focusing on. I no longer feel guilty when I say no because I know that by saying no to others, I am saying yes to myself, and I value my own self worth. I listen to my body when it tells me to take a break, and by doing so it has made me a better person to those around me. Therefore, by saying no I truly am working on being a better person for those times that I agree and say yes.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still a constant people pleaser whether in regards to my work life or my friends. It is something I continue to work on, and I know a few coworkers who would argue that I still give way too much! But it is all about baby steps, so I would challenge you to start somewhere too. Here is an example….
A few weeks ago I started to play the piano again. It has been years since I have played piano but often times I told myself I wanted to. However, I let work and other obligations that I constantly said yes to to get in the way of doing what I wanted to do, literally for the past few years. So in order to practice saying no, I took time one day to sit down at my keyboard and start playing. I told myself to just give it 20 minutes of my day and take a break from other obligations I prioritized. I ended up spending hours playing the piano that day, and I haven’t stopped since. It was then that I realized that other obligations were not as important as me enjoying myself that day.
Before that day I would have said I was too busy, that I didn’t have enough time. But now, I miraculously have found time for music again, and it’s because I make the time. I prioritize the time. I value the time…My time. And you know what else? It has made me so happy! Music is a great release for me, it’s a great distraction, and it’s something I am passionate about. I had completely forgotten how it made me feel to play and sing.
We should never give up the things we love. Make time for them by saying no, you Yes Person you!
Last question: How many times have you taken on an extra shift at work, or spent time helping a friend move that it didn’t negatively affect you in some way? Now, I am not saying to never do those things because we all enjoy being good people and helping out now and again. But it is important to remember that by taking on too many of these things, we are not the only one who suffers. Those around us suffer too…..
Typically, we become too exhausted at work to give clients, customers, and patients our upmost respect and attention. Typically, we become so burnt out that spending time doing the things we love fall to the side which affects our mental health and happiness. How can we be providing the best service to those we work with and be good friends if we are always tired and suffering? We take on extra things trying to be helpful, but with time it actually is a disservice to everybody around us because we are not our best, genuine selves.
So again, I challenge you to take baby steps…. Say no to that extra shift, and say yes to spending that time spoiling yourself. Even if it’s ten minutes a day, start somewhere. Devote this time to an old hobby, or something new you want to learn or try. Those ten minutes can even be ten minutes of quiet time by yourself. You name it, you can do it when you practice saying no. You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no!
~ No is a complete sentence, it does not require justification or explanation.
Can I tell you what is thee biggest waste of time in our lives?
We all do it, we all waste time regretting bad decisions, and we all beat ourselves up. We replay the same stories in our minds and lose any kind of self compassion for ourselves we once had.
But how detrimental is this mindset? We should never be treating ourselves this way. We must love ourselves whole heartedly before we can do any good for others in this world. But, I have good news for you…
I am freeing you from all your guilt, right here, right now. Yes, me. I will give you one piece of advice that will change your life forever as long as you listen to and believe it is true (and it is, trust me).
There is no need to feel guilty if you consciously realize that you made a mistake, and you have learned from this experience. If you know what you have done is wrong and it conflicts with your morals and conscience, you have already learned and know that you will not repeat the same mistake. Thus, there is no need to hoard guilt when your conscience already knows that you’re going to do better next time. You do not need to feel guilty about mistakes that were lessons learned and ways in which you will improve as an individual. Torturing yourself does not make you a better person, but learning will.
I think the concept of guilt is a significant issue in our society. For example, telling our children that they are naughty when they make a mistake can affect their personal idea of who they are. If we often scold children for doing something bad, they start to think they are bad…Turning their guilt into shame. The difference being guilt the mindset of, “I did something bad”, whereas shame becomes, “I am bad”. See where I’m going with this? You are not your actions, and your actions do not define who you are as a person.
Do not let your guilt eat you up so much that it turns into shame, which then affects your view of yourself. It is with shame that we start to feel less self-compassionate and more unhappy.
The guilt you have does not need to define you, and don’t let it. You make mistakes, you do bad things…And you know what that makes you?..