Saying No To Guilt

I’m quitting guilt. It’s a terrible habit that wreaks havoc on your mind, body, and soul. There’s really no place for it in my life so I’ve decided to set myself free.

A couple years ago I began declining a lot of things. Social events, favors, work that wasn’t working, anything that didn’t feel good. If I looked at my calendar and felt overwhelmed, I started cancelling anything non-essential.

I’m an introvert and Highly Sensitive Person. Not having boundaries and the inability to say “No” was a recipe for disaster. I struggled with feeling lazy because I couldn’t, or didn’t want to do all the things everyone generally does. I would over-commit because I didn’t understand those parts of myself, and I didn’t know how to help others understand me.

I’m striving for a life of peace and ease. I enjoy waking up with a manageable to-do list. I like for that list to include a lot of things I actually want to do. Minimalism already sets the scene for calm in my home. But if I’m out in the world, constantly rushing around then I’m not able to fully appreciate the hard work I’ve done here.

When I allowed myself to start drawing boundaries, it was awkward. I would either be too blunt or too apologetic. I’d get defensive feeling like I needed to justify myself. Or depending on who it was, I would let the guilt take control and end up feeling ashamed at letting someone down. Our society is big on guilt and lacking in empathy. We are competitive with each other and ourselves. We are being held to unreasonable expectations so we hold others to those expectations.

The thing is, no one knows me better than me. No one knows you better than you. It’s up to us as individuals to figure out what works for us, what we want our lives to look like, and to take the steps to make it happen. If you want less stress, you are the only one that can make that happen for you.

We all have built-in obligations. There’s already so many things we can’t just let slide. But with all the extras, I like to be super intentional. Cancelling on people sucks, so I try very hard not to say “Yes” in the first place if it doesn’t feel doable. True friends should understand. If you’re my friend, I care about you. If you’re overwhelmed I’d rather you take care of yourself and see me when you’ve got less going on. And I absolutely don’t want you to feel guilty about it.

Being an advocate for my peace of mind is one of the best things I’ve done for myself. I encourage you to start saying “No” and not feeling guilty about it. Instead, give yourself a pat on the back for protecting your time!

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