“Happiness is a choice that requires efforts at times.”-Aeschylus.
Making choices is a hard thing to do. What could be even harder than that? Saying “no”, if you are a people-pleaser.
Some of us are hardwired with the need to say yes all the time which puts us in hard situations at times. When it is about either meeting your needs or pleasing others, you find yourself in a tricky situation.
You are afraid of being rude and you want to help because you are a kind soul. You don’t want to decline any requests you get but also you have your own needs to fulfill. The moment feels like it’s a “lose-lose” situation whichever option you choose. Finding a way out of such situations is a tough job.
Here below are some ways to meet your needs and make others happy at the same time.Advertising
1. Know the difference between self-care and selfishness
You don’t want to look selfish when you decline a request but self-care isn’t selfishness. Avoiding stressful moments isn’t selfishness – rather it is self-care. Selfishness is when you indulge too much in yourself without caring for the strings attached to you.
It isn’t healthy if you keep ignoring your own needs just because you are too good to say “no” or you have picked up a habit of saying “yes” to everything. You can’t care for others if you don’t take care of yourself first.
2. Realize that you have a choice
When you find yourself in a situation, reluctant to say “no” to a request, the first thing you should bear in mind is that you are free to make your own choice.
You don’t always have to say “yes” to propositions that conflict with your needs. You can choose to say “no” and any reasonable person will respect your choice. The choice is yours. You don’t really need to sacrifice your needs to make others happy. It’s just that you need a little self-care at the moment so that you can be of much more help to them in the future.
3. Propose something else
Now that you have made your choice to decline the request, everything else from that moment onwards depends only on the way you present your choice to the other party. Support your decision with good reasons and suggest something else to help.Advertising
This shows your willingness to help but unfortunately, you can’t take them up on their request. The notion is to keep everyone happy. If you can’t give your time to the request, perhaps suggest someone else who could tend to it. That ought to keep your nose out of it.
4. Present yourself non-aggressively
You have to make sure that you choose only the polite words as you explain yourself to the other person. Sometimes, pushy people tend to get on our nerves but presenting yourself angry and aggressive will certainly play against you in any situation. It is not different in this situation.
It would be wise to avoid dealing with such people. The wiser thing to do would be to anticipate the request and to decline it gently before they even get the opportunity to put it through to you. Anger is the worst enemy of mankind. Keep calm at all times and tackle the situation with your wit.
5. Understand that you are of equal worth to anybody else
Do not undermine yourself. You don’t have to agree to everything that other people say just because you feel that they are worth more than yourself. That’s the first step towards your peace of mind. Do not succumb to bullying or whining. If you don’t respect yourself, it opens the door for others to disrespect you as well.
We have been taught to “give” and “love” and never to expect anything from anyone, but you can always give and love and expect everything from yourself. Know your worth and don’t be afraid to reject requests at times when it matters.Advertising
6. Set priorities and clear boundaries
Ask yourself “What are the most important things to me?” – then schedule them accordingly. Knowing your priorities helps you take the right decision.
A rather clinical approach to take care of the situation would be to weight your needs against the need of the other party and decide on whichever option is likely to bring the greater value of happiness. Know your limits and set boundaries to keep yourself within your comfort zone.
7. Be assertive
Assertiveness is the character of leaders. When you voice out your thoughts with a good deal of assertion, you paint a good image of yourself in people’s mind. Then, people tend to go with whatever you say. Be firm and not very apologetic. Your strong persona does all the work for you here.
But if your statements seem to lack respect, it backfires on you. People take it for rudeness. So, make sure you are being polite and respectful. It helps a lot if you practice choosing the right words for the right scenario.
8. Understand that the happier you are, the more capable you are of making others happy
A positive energy radiates out when you are happy. Happiness is contagious.Advertising
Try and be happy with the choices you make. Happy people make other people happy. If you don’t make yourself happy first, you won’t be able to make anyone else happy. When your loved ones see you happy, it brings happiness in them as well.
9. Learn and accept the fact that sometimes making compromise is a must
Understand that sometimes compromises must be made. It’s all a matter of priorities. If for instance, you’re busy building your website, that’s clearly important. But what if your friend calls in that his home is on fire and he needs you to help? That’s not only important but also urgent. So you have to leave your job and compromise. In other words, sometimes what people are asking of you could be of higher priority to be attended to than your own needs.
You should make a compromise if the request outweighs your needs. Buddha said, “Being generous, just helping one’s relatives and being blameless in one’s actions; this is the best good luck”
10. Go easy on yourself
Realize that you can’t be everything to everyone. Acknowledge that you can’t do everything, after all, everybody has limits. Explain your reasons sincerely. Keep it simple and go easy on yourself.
Avoid the self-conflict by being sincere to yourself. Self-soothe by telling yourself that “what I did is in the best interest of everybody”. You’ll do just fine in every situation.
Featured photo credit: Smiling Girl via upload.wikimedia.org
Last Updated on September 18, 2020
13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way
For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way
“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown
“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye
Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?
You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.
Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.
1. Take a step back and evaluate
When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:
- What is the problem?
- Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
- How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
- What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
- How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?
Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.
2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem
If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.
At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.
Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.
3. Realize there are others out there facing this too
Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.
4. Process your thoughts/emotions
Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:
- Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
- Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
- Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
- Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.
5. Acknowledge your thoughts
Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.
By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.
Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.
6. Give yourself a break
If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.
7. Uncover what you’re really upset about
A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.
Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.
After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.
8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome
As Helen Keller once said,
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”
Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.
9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps
In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:
- What’s the situation?
- What’s stressing you about this situation?
- What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
- Take action on your next steps!
After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.
10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)
A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.
Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.
For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.
11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse
No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.
12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it
No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.
13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter
There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?
After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.
Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way
Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com