It’s taken me four decades to realize there are things in my life I don’t have to do. For years, I did things I didn’t want to do because I didn’t know what would happen if I didn’t do them.
Guess what happens when you start saying “no” to shit you hate? Nothing. Except you will be happier and the world won’t actually fall apart because you are breaking your asshole trying to do it all because frankly, you are not that important and people learn to get along without you. (Sorry, it’s true.)
If people get upset with you for eliminating things in your life, they find a way to make it through, promise. Take it from someone who spent too long doing things she didn’t want to do only to be left with lots of resentment and sore shoulders.
It’s freeing once you stop doing certain things like:
1. Going to neighborhood parties
Sometimes these are delightful, and sometimes you just aren’t in the mood. Maybe you don’t like your neighbors and spending time with them makes you want to pull out your eyelashes. Whatever the reason, just because you live close doesn’t mean you have to hang out if you don’t want to.
2. Being friends with people I don’t like
People change and sometimes we don’t change together. Breaking up with a friend is hard to do, but sometimes it’s necessary. No one wants you to be their friend out of obligation, and no one wants a friend they have to talk themselves into spending time with. Life is too short for that nonsense.
3. Making my bed
I used to make my bed every damn day, even if it meant I was late for work. A made bed does not make the world a happier place, and being late to places for this reason is stupid and made my stress level rise. Leave the bed a jumbled mess and get a coffee instead.
4. Explaining myself
If I declined a party invitation or canceled plans, I used to offer long explanations. When I’d give my kids a consequences, I’d explain myself there too. Long gone are the days I feel I need to justify myself and the decisions I make in order to stay mentally healthy. It’s one thing if someone is asking you a question and wants to have a discussion, or you’ve hurt their feelings. But so often we power through with an explanation that’s not needed.
5. Caring what everyone else thinks
Let’s be real, there is always some level of caring, but when you start thinking that way and taking note of what everyone else is doing and feeling you have to model their behavior, you are held prisoner to everyone else’s standard. I’m more strict than most other parents (or so I’m told). But this is what makes me comfortable, and this is how I will continue to raise my kids.
6. Buying all organic shit
Listen, I love Cheez-Its. Those organic cheese crackers just don’t cut it. Organic berries will drain my bank account the way my kids go through them. A good mix of fast food, well0-balanced meals, and trying to be healthy most of the time is good enough. Not all chemicals are bad; do some research and then live your damn life.
7. Buying something from every online party I’m invited to
I want to support other people and spend a little money so they can get free shit, I really do. It’s fun and all, but I’ll be damned if I am going to spend money I could put into my kids’ college fund on an organic hair towel that costs $100.
8. Listening to people bad mouth each other
We all need to vent sometimes, but we’ve had that friend or family member who loves a good drama-soaked evening and literally can’t carry on a conversation unless they are slamming someone. When you allow yourself to be open to this negativity on a regular basis, you feel heavy and in a pissy mood yourself. Not to mention the fact you are tolerating this conversation would be pretty hurtful to the friend or family member under discussion if they were to find out, which they probably will. It’s all right to say,”Let’s talk about something else, I’m not a good sounding board for you.”
9. Following “friends” on social media
I am currently using the unfollow button whenever they hell I want, and it feels so good. If you need to unfollow your father or cousin or best friend from high school to take a breather, do it.
10. Setting a goal weight
Stop doing this. As soon as you set a goal, you become obsessed, then you reach it and don’t really love yourself anymore because your weight isn’t what makes you love yourself. Or you don’t reach it, and you fall into a pit of self-loathing. Also, when I stopped buying clothes that were too small in hopes of fitting into them one day, I stopped hating myself every time I ate a damn cookie.
11. Giving up certain food groups
Restricting yourself means you want the thing you are eliminating one-thousand times more than you did before. Making hard and fast rules when it comes to what we put in our mouths is so destructive. I once went 2 years without eating sugar (yes, really, 2 YEARS!). It was the worst idea ever — all I thought about was sugar, then I went on a 4-week sugar binge and cried every day.
12. Keeping all my kids’ shit
My heart sank a bit when when I give away some baby clothes, their wooden rocking house, and threw away drawings from when my kids were 2, but I literally can not keep it all. We don’t have room and it makes my head, mind, and body feel anxious.
13. Saying sorry
I used to say sorry if someone ran into me. I’d say sorry if I sneezed in the grocery store. I said sorry if I was sick and had to cancel plans. Then I stopped and I began to notice how many other women do this. Just yesterday I accidentally hit another woman’s cart at the grocery store and she apologized to me. Then, I missed my hair appointment because I got my dates mixed up and my hair dresser apologized to me. Stop doing this.
Not doing things feels like freedom and gives you more head-space and room to have healthy conversations, stop and get the coffee instead of rushing around in the morning, and more good energy will blossom because saying “no” isn’t going to result in the floor crumbling at your feet.
Stop doing shit you hate and make the world a better place.
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