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Why It’s Much Better To Be Alone Than To Be With Someone Who Makes You Feel Lonely

Why It’s Much Better To Be Alone Than To Be With Someone Who Makes You Feel Lonely

You don’t have to be by yourself to feel lonely.

Popular wisdom would have us believe that when we’re part of a couple, we’ll never feel lonely again. Unfortunately, many people discover that spending time with the wrong person can be a wretched experience that leads to feelings of emptiness and isolation. If you are in a relationship with someone who isn’t right for you or even abuses you, time spent with that person is not the enriching, uplifting experience that it oughts to be. Instead, you end up cutting yourself down, censoring parts of your personality and generally making yourself smaller in an attempt to encourage them to feel positively towards you.

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You may even find yourself bending and twisting yourself out of recognition in a bid to win over their approval. This can cause you to become alienated from yourself, which results in feelings of tremendous loneliness. If you have been in a situation like this, you may remember the moment you first wondered whether the relationship was really worth the struggle.

Why making the decision to leave is so agonizing

Taking the decision to leave a relationship with someone who makes you feel lonely can be very difficult. Leaving is an act of immense bravery. Whilst it may seem obvious to outsiders that you are unhappy, they may not be aware of the factors that make it so hard to quit.

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For example, you may have shared some good times with this person in the past, or you may feel inclined to give them a second (or third) chance in the name of ‘being fair.’ You may also cling on in the hope that one day they will realize how they make you feel and decide to change.

The most loving decision you can take for yourself

As hard as it may be to leave a relationship behind, when you put yourself first you will understand where your loyalties ought to lie. To be absolutely clear, your first priority must be your mental and psychological well-being. When it comes to evaluating a relationship and deciding whether you ought to stay, treat yourself with the same care as you would show a loved one.

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People can and do change, but if someone has made you feel lonely and sad on an ongoing basis, you can expect more of the same in the future should you decide to stay. On the other hand, freeing yourself from an unhealthy situation is an act of self-love that frees you (and the other person) to seek out more mutually beneficial relationships.

The opportunity to enjoy your own company is a gift

When you learn to enjoy your own company, you become truly empowered. No longer will you depend on other people’s’ approval to prop up your self-esteem or validate your life choices. Your faith in your own judgement will grow, and you will come to regard yourself as a competent, capable person with much to offer the world. When you spend quality time by yourself, you will be less likely to accept poor treatment from others in the future because you will know from first-hand experience that being alone is much better than being with someone who makes you feel hollow and inferior.

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If you have recently left a relationship that made you feel alone, congratulate yourself. Too many people are scared to face up to the possibility of time spent in their own company, even though it can be healing. When you make a conscious decision to be alone, you are putting yourself first and recognizing that sometimes the healthiest step you can take is to spend time getting to know yourself as a person. This sets you up for a more confident future based on healthy self-knowledge.

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments—you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time. That’s why the art of saying no can be a game changer for productivity.

Requests for your time are coming in all the time—from family members, friends, children, coworkers, etc. To stay productive, minimize stress, and avoid wasting time, you have to learn the gentle art of saying no—an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger, or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to stop people pleasing and master the gentle art of saying no.

1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it.

Be honest when you tell them that: “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is.” They’ll sympathize as they likely have a lot going on as well, and they’ll respect your openness, honesty, and attention to self-care.

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which, for many of us, is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

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For example, if my wife asks me to pick up the kids from school a couple of extra days a week, I’ll likely try to make time for it as my family is my highest priority. However, if a coworker asks for help on some extra projects, I know that will mean less time with my wife and kids, so I will be more likely to say no. 

However, for others, work is their priority, and helping on extra projects could mean the chance for a promotion or raise. It’s all about knowing your long-term goals and what you’ll need to say yes and no to in order to get there. 

You can learn more about how to set your priorities here.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word[1].

Sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry, but…” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important when you learn to say no, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.

When you say no, realize that you have nothing to feel bad about. You have every right to ensure you have time for the things that are important to you. 

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. However, if you erect a wall or set boundaries, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss—they’re our boss, right? And if we start saying no, then we look like we can’t handle the work—at least, that’s the common reasoning[2].

In fact, it’s the opposite—explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

“Look, everyone, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects, and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

This, of course, takes a great deal of awareness that you’ll likely only have after having worked in one place or been friends with someone for a while. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be incredibly useful.

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8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, try saying no this way:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands. If you need to continue saying no, here are some other ways to do so[3]:

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Saying no the healthy way

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so—you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization—but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true, as people can sense insincerity.

    The Bottom Line

    Saying no isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the things that really matter to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about organizing your personal life and mental health in a way that feels good to you.

    Remember that when you learn to say no, isn’t about being mean. It’s about taking care of your time, energy, and sanity. Once you learn how to say no in a good way, people will respect your willingness to practice self-care and prioritization. 

    More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

    Reference

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