Disclaimer – Okay I cannot really promise that. You may have a bad day again; actually you probably will have a bad day again. This word isn’t really going to stop that… BUT I am sure learning it will help nonetheless. I can’t really make too many promises on that one either. Sh*t this may not be too helpful after all….
Listen up kids, I am about to let you in on a (not-so secret) secret. I’m a giver. I always have been. In all aspects of the word, you need something? I am your go to gal. Hell I am pretty sure even if Patricia* (from year six who used to bully me) asked me for a favour, I would do it. The moral of the story is that I used to be giving. Too giving. Being a constant shoulder or set of ears, holy guacamole, is a heavy burden. But now that’s all changed.
*cue sassy clicking from side to side*
Recently I was talking to a friend’s mum who taught me one of THE most valuable life lessons I have ever learnt. Obviously my parents have bestowed infinite wisdom about boys, life, birds and the bee’s blah blah blah, but this, this was nek level wisdom. What’s the word I learnt? Better get out the pen and paper, here’s your warning – it’s a long word, hard to pronounce really. Ready? Okay here we are, the word is…. “no”. Whether it’s relative to going out with friends for brunch, or coffee, or gym, or anything; if you don’t want to do it then use this word. Okay so sometimes you can come across as blunt or rude but if you don’t want to do something you don’t have to do it.
I am the biggest people pleaser. I always have been. Can’t help it. You need a shoulder to lean on, I’m your girl. Wanna get brunch on a Saturday even though I am severely hungover and battling my own demons and don’t want to leave the house, let’s go. I will always have the eggs benedict and the soy cappuccino. Want to talk about how fantastic your life is whilst I am wallowing in self-pity; obviously I am definitely in.
Cue to now, I am (slowly) learning to put myself first. I used to always put others needs before my own. I forgave people for things that occurred because I wanted them to feel okay about whatever happened. I didn’t mind the fact I was left bawling my eyes out for days on end or the mere fact that it may or may not fester away in my insides. I gave too many chances to people who didn’t deserve them because I didn’t want to upset them. Ultimately, I was giving too much of myself to others, for their benefit. What did I gain? Nothing! Maybe more anxiety and deeper frown lines.
So I learnt how to manage it. You have gotta do what makes YOU happy. No one else. Don’t want to go to brunch with that dude off tinder because you can’t be bothered having a conversation with someone other than your dog OR shaving your legs? Don’t go. Don’t want to go bootcamp on a Saturday morning because you’re tired and you’ve had a big week and may or may not have indulged in one too many glasses of wine the night before? Don’t go. It’s your call, no one elses. Obviously you can’t go saying no to practical things such as work, uni, paying bills and other ‘grown-up’ responsibilities but hey, a gal can dream. My only exception to the ‘no’ rule would be if you get invited to do a twerk class. Go and do it for the love of GAWD. My knees are still in my knee pads and aching and I have established my a*s is non-existent and I cannot twerk to save my life but hey, I went out of my comfort zone and laughed my non-existent as* off.
I have gotten to a stage in my life where if I don’t want to do something then I am not going to. I don’t want to hang out with certain people anymore and that’s okay. I don’t eat meat anymore and that’s okay. I don’t make excuses anymore and pretend I am okay when I’m not and that is more than okay. I don’t make excuses for people being sh*t anymore and that’s okay.
Moral of the story – it is okay to put yourself first. Saying no to things doesn’t make you a horrible person, it makes you honest. And it turns out nan WAS right all along; honesty IS the best policy.
*Her name wasn’t Patricia. Well probably still isn’t. But you get the gist.