Saying ‘no’, making our own choices, and setting boundaries are topics that comes up ENDLESSLY in my life.
In my writing, in my client sessions, with friends, with family … it seems we are all struggling with these concepts in some way.
Personally, it’s been a LONG journey for me to become comfortable with saying no.
A couple of years back, I thought I’d gotten much better at it. In fact, I thought I was the MASTER of saying no!
But alas, what I didn’t realise, was that while I could say no, I was constantly justifying ‘WHY’ I was doing so.
Every time I said no, I found myself entering wound-up explanations of the exact reasons behind my choice. As though I had to justify it.
And to honest, spending your life justifying EVERYTHING you choose to do, can be pretty exhausting.
The emotional energy behind doing that, was very much coming from a part of me that still needed approval.
That still needed the person whom I was saying no to, to ‘like’ me. To ‘agree’ with me. To ‘understand’ me.
Truly, it’s only been this year, that this has started to shift for me. I’m not sure what happened to instigate that shift. I think I (finally) just realised that … I really didn’t care if every single person on the planet approved of me anymore.
Because here’s the thing: it is literally impossible to have every person approve of you.
As the famous Greek sage Aristotle so wisely put it:
There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
When you’ve spent your entire life walking on eggshells trying to please everybody, and create no conflict, and gain everyone’s approval, this can be a hard concept to wrap your head around.
Many habits and beliefs need to be ‘unlearned’, so that we can start to live in a way that is much more free, and uninhibited by the binds of needing to please anyone and everyone. This is one of them.
So, can you learn to be ok with not having everyone approve of you?
Can you muster the strength to do what is right and true for you, no matter what kind of upheaval it may bring?
It’s not easy. It does take courage to live authentically. But until you do, you will be constantly at war with yourself whenever you make a choice based on what someone else wants for you … rather than what you want for yourself.
Wise words from Alice Morrison:
You keep looking for a place to belong – but darling, the comforts of conformity are not meant for the brave.
Be brave, and be yourself – no matter what.
Authenticity is the key to a fulfilling life, NOT approval.
Naturopath / Women’s Coach
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