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15 Things We Forget to Thank Our Sisters For

15 Things We Forget to Thank Our Sisters For

I’m the baby sister. This invariably sucked when we were kids;however, now that we’re grown, I always have the benefit of saying, “I’m the younger sister.” Our age gap made it difficult at times to be the kind of best friends who do everything together.

Five years is a pretty big difference in kid-years. While she was romping around the high school party scene, I was still practicing my multiplication tables. She liked boys; I liked. . . ponies. Nevertheless, even with the age gap, we managed to create an amazing bond that only sisters share. She was there for me first and she’s here for me now. One thing I have yet to do is to thank her for all the things she’s done for me, some of them probably unnoticed. So, older sister, these are for you!

1. Thank you for being my first “bestie.”

It’s true! I had no friends. I was a nobody until you showed up. You accepted me even when I couldn’t walk, talk or use the bathroom. You played with me, protected me and took great care of me. You also tortured me, made fun of me and ignored me, but that’s a whole different topic.

2. Thank you for never judging me.

Even when I’m acting like an idiot. Or dressing like one. (Like when I bleached my hair white and pierced my nose and looked like Madonna.)

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3. Thank you for letting me get all dramatic without causing any drama.

In my defense, I was the baby of the family. You took my tantrums and issues and let them run their course without too much hassle or emotions.

4. Thank you for letting us sleep in your room every Christmas Eve.

Because your little pink Christmas Tree with its little colored lights was so pretty. I was always jealous you got the pink one. And sleeping in your room every year was so cool because we got to stay up late and talk about Santa. (P.S. I , have the pink tree now. Every year, we put it in the bedroom where my son and daughter sleep, talking and waiting for Santa.)

5. Thank you for liking me before I was cool.

I am cool, by the way. You liked me back then, when I wasn’t AS cool as I am today. (Circa 1980-anything).

6. Thank you for making family vacations memorable.

Because without you and our brother, they would have been so boring. Who else would offer so many memories-now-turned-inside jokes? Who else would make me jump off a frickin’ ski lift? Only a sister (who breaks her leg skiing right below me, of course). But the rest of that Idaho trip was amazing.

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7. Thank you for always having my back.

Even when you knew I was totally wrong. Or, worse, I was lying. Like the time I snuck out to go to Berkeley to hang out with college boys.

8. Thank you for making the “big” mistakes before me so I could learn what not to do.

I learned everything from you and our brother. Being the baby wasn’t so bad once I learned the tricks of the trade. Whenever you got busted, I took notes. Once I figured out what not to do…

Just joking, Mom.

9. Thank you for teaching me about “grown-up” things.

Besides books like Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, you helped me out with things like periods, boys, and (cringe) sex. Although, you taking me to Tijuana for the first time wasn’t so helpful. I’m not thankful you introduced me to Tequila!

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10.  Thank you for providing that fake I.D.

Since you were five years older, your I.D. came in handy. Genetics helped, too, because we looked so much alike. Now that I’m older, I appreciate the fact that you had to make an extra trip to the DMV to get an extra copy of your license. That alone deserves an award.

Just joking, Mom. I only used it to vote.

11.  Thank you for driving me places when you didn’t want to.

I know you didn’t want to, and I know it was a pain, but I appreciate all the rides. Especially the ones that came with one of your cute college boyfriends (friends that were boys) in tow. That was always a bonus.

12. Thank you for the family bitch sessions.

No one knows the family like you do, which makes it easy to sit around and complain. You understand completely. In fact, you think the way I do, so if I’m ragging on other people, chances are you’ll agree with me on those points as well.

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13. Thank you for always being there for me, no matter what happens.

For everything we’ve been through, the ups and downs, deaths and births, you’ve been there for me. I know you’re just a phone call away and no matter what I do or say, you’ll still be there.

14. Thank you for always being my cheerleader.

You’re always in my corner. You never criticize or analyze me when I’m having an off day or when I fail at something and you’re never jealous of my success. You’re a great life cheerleader.

15. Finally, thank you for making me a sister. (A younger sister.)

Featured photo credit: Lovely brother and sister lying in bed at home. Concept of Brother And Sister Together Forever via shutterstock.com

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Missy Mitchell

Author, Artist, Advocate

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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