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10 Things Grateful People Don’t Do

10 Things Grateful People Don’t Do

We equate happiness as a state in which we are always happy. We allow ourselves to believe it’s not good to cry. It’s not good to feel pain. It’s not good to feel sad, or be down, or experience setback, or go through heartbreak. But true happiness and inner contentment happens when your heart is grateful for everything your life experiences – the good, the bad, the hard, the easy, the defeats and the victories. The gratitude you express – or choose to not express – spills over into everything you do and everyone you meet.

Some of the happiest people on the planet are those free of circumstantial happiness. Their surroundings tell them they have nothing to be happy about, yet they smile and live life to the fullest. In a society built on comparison, materialistic gain, selfish ambition and more, more, more, it’s inspiring to be around these types of people – the ones who aren’t clawing and fighting to step on anyone or anything to be the best or get to the top. It’s refreshing to be around people who appreciate what they have, love who they are and embrace where they’re going. These people are living. They’re fully present. They’re embracing the here and now, seeing every day as an opportunity to become a better version of themselves and enjoying the journey in the meantime.

So what do they do? Better yet, what don’t they do and how can we be like them?

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1. They don’t compare their journey to anyone else’s.

It would be easy to fall into the trap of, “I wish,” “If only,” “They’re so lucky.” But what’s the point? Focusing on your faults and someone else’s strengths will not change one single thing about yourself or your situation. Instead, focus on what you do have, and carry on.

2. They don’t need to “feel” happy in order to be happy.

Happiness is based on always being happy. Contentment is a continual inner display of happiness regardless of life’s uncontrollable circumstances. See the difference? Practicing gratitude on a daily basis is the gateway for which both of these roads intersect.

3. They don’t run from their imperfections.

Every single human being on this earth has faults. No one is flawless. To assume people are perfect only proves how toxic our thinking can be. The first step to love your life is to admit (especially to yourself) you aren’t perfect but to move forward. Imperfections can be our greatest teachers if we see them as the catalyst for personal growth and change.

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4. They don’t ignore rest.

It’s not hard to work 60+ hours a week. There is plenty of pressure to always perform, constantly compete, and continually keep up. But the people who approach life with a sense of gratitude and calm are those who make the time to pause. They create quality pockets of time in which they can kick back and relax. It becomes their safe place where they can recharge, rejuvenate and refresh before heading back into the rat race.

5. They don’t forget the importance of relationship.

You can’t do life on your own. We like to think we can – like we’re tough and impenetrable and that life won’t drag us down. But we’re human. To find people who you can be safe and real with is what creates a strong foundation you can stand on when the going gets tough. But in order to have quality friends in your time of need, you need to be a quality friend in their time of need. Important investments take time. Reciprocal relationships take work.

6. They don’t allow time to control them.

Everyone gets 24 hours in the run of a day. That’s it! There is no extra hour to be found hiding under a bed somewhere. Grateful people know this. They know how precious of a commodity time really is, and they respect it. They see every single day as an opportunity to take charge of what they can take charge of, and they purposefully, diligently and intentionally make beautiful use of it.

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7. They don’t overlook the value in everyday people.

It happens over and over again – a cashier is dismissed, a homeless man is overlooked, an elderly lady is ignored, and a child is shrugged to the side. A grateful heart sees the value in every single human being. They recognize and appreciate that every person has potential to teach them something new and help them become a better person. We will never arrive. Our lives are on a continual journey of discovery and people are what matters most.

8. They don’t set pace to the rhythm of rush.

Speed up, so once you get there, you can speed to the next place. Why? What’s the rush? When you slow down to take in the scenery of your life, you notice the little details that lend subtle depth to what’s happening in the big picture. Big life moments would never happen without the little steps that have been taken to get there. Notice them.

9. They don’t give in to the pressure to have, be, and do it all.

Everything you have right now is enough. Everything you are right now is enough. There are people who could only dream to have the talent, the time, the money, the opportunity you have right now. Think about that. Ponder that. Appreciate that. Let that sink in. Then build a life around this mentality rather than the one that finds you never measuring up.

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10. They don’t take life for granted.

You would never be where you are today without that math teacher, that music instructor, that football coach, your Grandma, your Mom, your Aunt. Your life at present is marked with achievement and success because of the people who helped you get to where you are today. It takes but a few minutes to compile a list stating all the amazing things you already have. Try it. You’d be amazed how much you have going on in your life at this moment.

Featured photo credit: Cuba Gallery Lighthouse Blog via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. 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. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. 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. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

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

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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 time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

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

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How to 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.

The 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.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

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 on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. 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. 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:

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 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 FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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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.

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 the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. 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.

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 to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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.

A 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.

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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…” giving 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 fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

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. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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