Saying 'No' to Others and 'Yes' to Myself
When I look back on 2015, I'll remember it as a year littered with difficult decisions and uncomfortable conversations. It's also the year I discovered my affinity for Kate Spade, but that's neither here nor there. As I was saying, 2015 was a year of personal growth. There was the time I (unsuccessfully) attempted to negotiate my salary. And the time I initially turned down my dream job, only to change my mind a week or so later. As it turns out, I'd rather make less money and be happy than just coasting along collecting a paycheck.
There was also the time I wrote a letter to a friend after a falling out and later addressed the issue in person. And the time I confronted our upstairs neighbor about the loud noises directly above our bedroom. Or the times I stepped down from writing or working for other organizations.
I'd spent so much time helping other people with their passion projects and making their dreams come true that I had nothing left to give myself at the end of the day. And, as a result, my projects and dreams were placed on the back burner.
Long story short, this was the year I finally decided to stand up for myself and it felt pretty damn good. A couple of years ago, my work husband at the time told me "people-pleasers die at a faster rate than everyone else." I tried to laugh it off, but deep down, I knew he was right. The stress I put myself through to bend over backward for other people and exceed their expectations would no doubt lead me to an early grave.
Growing up, I was the quintessential "good girl." I earned good grades (so much so that I skipped fourth grade), respected my elders and sent handwritten thank-you notes because it's the polite thing to do. That innate "desire to please" carried over into my adult years, but instead of being rewarded for it, I found that it often led to people taking advantage of me. They mistook my kindness for weakness and I didn't exactly correct them nor did I defend myself.
Well, the buck stops here. Because as my mom is always so quick to remind me, "If you don't stand up for yourself, no one else is going to do it for you."
[Tweet ""If you don't stand up for yourself, no one else is going to do it for you.""]
In 2016, I vow to say "no" to others and "yes" to myself more often. I'm going to do things because I truly want to do them and not just because I'm "supposed" to or I feel obligated to do so. This will be my year of saying no without explanation, without guilt and without apology.
So while everyone else is busy living a "life of yes" (here's looking at you, Shonda Rhimes), I'll be saying...