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What Do You Need To Let Go Of?

What Do You Need To Let Go Of?

    I like the concept of letting go. It’s mostly where I find joy, calm, peace and purpose. It’s so much easier than chasing. And so much more effective. Rather than chasing happiness, the Buddhist philosophy suggests that we simply choose to let go of that which makes us unhappy. The very notion of chasing something has a sense of urgency about it, doesn’t it? And, of course, with urgency comes anxiety. And with anxiety comes illness. And with illness comes unhappiness.

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    Maybe our gentle robe-wearing friends are on to something. Some people spend their lives chasing acceptance and approval. Perhaps it’s time for some of us to let go of the need to seek the acceptance, approval and even permission of others? Perhaps we’re good enough all by ourselves? Perhaps we should stop giving away our power? Perhaps in the letting go we’ll find the only acceptance we need: self-acceptance. Some will spend their lives chasing physical perfection. I have some expertise in this area. While it’s great to be in shape, it’s not great when our confidence, self-esteem and sense of self are dependant on our physical appearance.

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    Considering that we spend most of our lives in a slowly deteriorating physical shell, this pursuit is an exercise in frustration. This desire for physical perfection arises out of fear. Fear of not being pretty enough. Good enough. Desirable enough. And, of course, fear is at the root of unhappiness. Some will spend their lives chasing financial wealth, only to wake up one day and discover that all they’ve created is emotional and spiritual poverty. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being wealthy, except when that wealth defines us. If only we taught our kids (and ourselves) that being rich has nothing to do with money or material possessions. Some of us have spent years (and years) trying to ‘find’ ourselves.

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    Maybe it’s time to stop looking and simply let go of everything that isn’t us? When I let go of everything I am trying to do, be, create and own, there I am. And while I might do, be, create and own much in my life, I am none of those things and they are not me. I can’t be found in things. And neither can you.

    What do you need to let go of?

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    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.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    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.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning 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. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    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? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    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. And 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, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    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. But if you erect a wall, 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 say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But 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 guys, 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.”
    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, simply tell them: “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.
    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 — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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