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5 Things You Should Keep In Mind When You Are Overcoming A Hard Time

5 Things You Should Keep In Mind When You Are Overcoming A Hard Time

Sometimes in life things don’t work out the way you want them to.

Things fall apart, unforeseen events occur and sometimes it just feels like too much to take.

Life is cyclical in nature and it’s important to understand that whilst the bad times may feel never ending, eventually the good times will roll into place. The key is to reach a place of understanding with whatever situation you are facing, knowing that this too shall pass. Far easier said than done, but in maintaining a sense of perspective (and a sense of humor) this can be the very thing that can pull us through one of life’s tough spots.

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When things fall apart and you can’t seem to figure out a pathway through the situation, it’s important to remember that there is always a choice. You can choose to let it destroy you, define you or you can choose to let it strengthen you. Knowing we have a choice in how we react can provide a sense of empowerment, a knowledge that life struggles can provide a deeper understanding of life. It’s also of vital importance to remember a few powerful, yet easily forgotten, truths that might just help you to break on through to the other side of whatever sticky situation life throws at you.

1. Acceptance

This can be one of the toughest lessons to master when faced with adversity. We spend so much time and energy resisting what is, dancing with denial, that we ignore the very first step in overcoming any situation. Acceptance.

Whatever difficult situation you find yourself wading into, it’s of paramount importance to accept that it is actually happening. This is no easy feat since the power of pretending it isn’t happening is utterly alluring. This is also called sticking your head in the sand- it simply doesn’t achieve anything. Whilst it can feel incredibly tempting at the time, it’s essential to understand that denial simply keeps us stuck. For if we don’t accept what is happening right in front of us, how can we find the means to move on and heal from it?

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2. Maintain Perspective

When we feel like life’s punching bag it can be incredibly easy to fall victim to the situation. If we are feeling angry, hurt or grieving a loss we want to find something to blame, and demand an answer to the age old question: why is this happening to me? It is much harder to take a step back from the situation and acknowledge that whilst it is indeed happening, it’s not happening to you. As tough as it sounds, taking it personally just leads into a cul-de-sac of blame and resentment and if you want to start healing from a tough time its time to stop circling the cul-de-sac and get back on the open road. This is where a change of perspective is needed, a willingness to see the situation differently.

If you’ve recently lost a job or are going through a difficult break-up, for example, whilst it might feel utterly devastating at the time, know that you will eventually dust yourself off, get through it and actually learn something about yourself. Just as hard times can sweep in and knock you off your feet, so can the good times. A willingness to try and see a situation differently opens yourself up to the possibility of a fresh perspective and a motivation to move on with your life.

3. Learn The Lesson

Life is a training ground and we are actually here to learn, grow and evolve as human beings. Unfortunately most of us tend to learn the most from adverse experiences rather than the positive ones. Some of the toughest situations I’ve personally been through have taught me the most about myself and as a result I feel transformed and even thankful for the experience (though if you told me that at the time I never would have believed you).

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Whatever the problem is, no matter how big or small, try to identify what lesson it is trying to teach you. It may take some digging but the lesson will be there, patiently waiting for you to uncover it. For example, if your relationship came to an abrupt halt and threw you out unwittingly onto Single Street you might discover that the relationship was acting as a training ground, a place for you to uncover and ultimately heal an unhealthy relationship tendency, so that when the next relationship appears you are ready for it. In being a student of life we learn that all experiences are necessary, that the story of what happened doesn’t really matter in the end, it’s what we learn from it that counts.

4. Stay Positive

When faced with adversity it can be incredibly tempting to throw a pity party for one and close down from friends and family. Whilst isolation may feel like the right response during a tough time, it can be a slippery slope down into the depths of depression or developing a belief that you are being a burden. We all need people in our lives, especially when the going gets tough, and our loved ones can act as a veritable life raft, pulling us out from the depths and lifting our spirits. In times of strife it’s also of paramount importance to surround yourself with friends or family who are positive minded, those who will be there to listen to you but also to reassure you that you can get through it. Whilst it can be comforting to have your loved ones give you the space initially to rant about how terribly unfair the whole thing is, it’s also important that they help you focus on finding a solution or simply a focus on the future rather than the past. Spending these difficult times with positive-minded people can remind us that we all need someone to lean on, or at least someone to have a laugh with, as we work our way through the mire.

5. Don’t Give Up

At times like these it’s of paramount importance to understand that nothing lasts forever. Some of the curveballs that life throws at us might seem insurmountable but there is always a way through and we are never given more that we can handle. At the time we might not think we have the requisite tools to navigate a tricky situation, yet the fact that we invariably come through the other side can actually be a source of empowerment. Being pushed beyond the boundaries of what we believe we can handle is never fun, yet in viewing whatever situation life throws at us as a potential life lesson, ultimately we can learn from it.

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As a result we become stronger so that the next time life deals us a difficult hand we don’t get thrown off course as easily and we don’t give up as easily. Making a commitment to stay strong in the face of adversity can foster us with a sense of resolve. We might not like what we are having to deal with but we can eventually get to a place where we emerge stronger, wiser and hopefully with a few life lessons tucked in our back pocket.

Featured photo credit: PhotoPin via photopin.com

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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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