The Most Important Word For Mental Health
You have a decision to make. Someone has asked you to do something.
The “something” isn’t important.
Here’s a fact.
You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.
No, you don’t.
Because if you plan to do it, and you really don’t want to, you’ll fall head first into this Vortex of Anxiety Thinking
- What if?
- How will I?
- I can’t do this!
- I Do Not Want to Do This!
- Why did I ever say I would do this?
I don’t know. Why did you?
Then the Second Round, an onslaught of racing, ruminating thoughts that go nowhere:
- Do I want to?
- Not want to?
- Am I expected to?
- I don’t like this idea!
- I have virtually no interest in this plan!
- I have a million other things to do that are vitally important!
- I’m confused, flustered, and now I feel… nauseous. I can’t make a decision about this!
Let’s Get Honest
Let me ask you a question, just you and me. Do you genuinely want to do this thing? Be honest. Why, or why not?
Is that nasty trio of blame, shame and guilt guiding your decision? This is a nasty self-loathing trio that clouds judgement. And debilitates. And if this trio guides you routinely, you better find out why.
Don’t you have a mind of your own? I mean, hello in there! Why the identity crisis?
If something isn’t up your alley, makes you uncomfortable, repulses, overwhelms, can’t be done, demeans, brings on abdominal cramps, truly doesn’t appeal in some way, why are you going to do it?
If you’re in touch with who you are, and what you need, you can take a proud and consistent stand on just about any issue. You won’t be prisoner to the endless whims, whining and (obnoxious) wills of others. You will be Free! Liberated!
Yes, there are times when you have to “do it.” You know those times. It’s the right, ethical and moral thing to do, so you’ll do it. If you can.
In most cases however, if you don’t want to do it, you can say “No.”
This is pivotal to your feelings of self-worth and mental health.
Say It Assertively
When you say “No,” do so with strength. Do not suck, blow and waver. Just say “No.”
Then straighten those shoulders, chin up, stomach in, squeeze and pull in the buttocks…and move on.
Be aware of (but try to ignore) the paralyzing guilt that you may be feeling the first few times you utter this word. But be clear: guilt has no place here.
Notice the relief, once you’ve made a decision that works for you. Why did you tax your brain in the first place, you’re probably wonder. You knew the right answer from the start!
Imagine a world where you can make your own decisions, like adults are supposed to do, and steer your own boat.
As the word “No” gets easier to say (and it does, with repeated practice) you’ll wonder….why didn’t I love myself sooner? Why did I allow myself to be ruled by the dictates of others, for so long? Oh, there are so many reasons. Read about one biggie, here.
So do it. Say NO. Do it often, do it with head held high. Go on!
Feel Good About It
This is your (short) life to manage, enjoy and navigate.
So remember these wise words:
“When you say “yes” to others, make sure you are not saying “no” to yourself.” – Paulo Coelho