Sometimes, in the course of our lives, we find ourselves saying yes to things, which create tension in us. As we think of them, or about them, we wonder why we keep allowing ourselves to make the same bad decisions. Dwelling on the decisions we make can create a cycle of negative thinking and resist the urge to say no can just keep adding to the tension we are experiencing.
The desire to be successful is important to most of us. We want to be the best wife, mother, sister, friend or provider for our family or the best at our job. Our self-esteem is often dependent on how we think others think about us. Our struggle to achieve great things in our life is often the result of a desire to feel accepted by others as a means of feeling self-accepted.
Even the most self-confident of people have their insecurities about themselves. People with famous faces often resort to facelifts and heavy use of make-up to protect their public image. Being insecure is not a failing, but part of our humanity. When those insecurities begin to drive our decisions and our choices, then we risk making poor decisions and creating inner tension and negative self-talk.
To help develop a strong sense of self-acceptance, it is important to ask ourselves about the intentions we have in making our decisions and what our motivations are in accepting it. Sometimes the good decisions we make, aren’t the best decisions. Instead, they reinforce the cycle of trying to find self-acceptance by first experiencing the acceptance of others.
Taking an inventory of our own dreams and strengths is essential to breaking this cycle. Our value and worth aren’t dependent on who others think we are, but in what we think of ourselves. As we get in touch with and enjoy the person we are, we are able to make life decisions that contribute to and enhance our self-image and in the process, we find others accept us.
The cycle is reversed when this happens. When we accept ourselves, we begin to learn how to be self-confident and generous in our acceptance of others.
We find ourselves being naturally accepted by others for who we are and not for what we do.
Achieving Life Balance
Most of us have things in our lives we want to do, as well as those things we have to do. Perhaps you want to go to the gym more often, or you want to read more books this year. Like most of us, do you find yourself wishing you had more time to pursue the things you want to do as well as the things you need to do?
Whilst time management is important to achieving these goals, some other steps must precede it. As you define these steps, preferably using a journal to keep track of what you discover about yourself, they will help you achieve that work and life balance that will enable you to do those things you want to do and achieve at this point in your life.
#1. List Your Goals
All of us have goals that change regularly and that reflect other things going on in our life at the time. List your goals and prioritize them from important to least important. Include not only the goals you have to achieve but also the personal goals you want to achieve.
#2. List Your Daily Schedule
Although we want more time in the day, all of us have 24 hours. We use some of these hours for sleep and some of these for work and recreation purposes. List down your daily schedule and include the things you must do because they are a commitment. This may include work commitments or school sports commitments with the children.
#3. Prioritize Your Personal Goals with Equal Priority as Work-Related Goals
Don’t minimize the time available to do the things you want to do, particularly if they are contributing to your life goals or wellbeing. Include family time and other essential life activities that require your time and attention.
#4. Keep to the Schedule unless in an Emergency
Most people who create a daily schedule, keep it for a while, but not long enough for it to become a habit. Habits take around 3 weeks to form, so if you want your new approach to work and lifestyle to be maintained, you must protect it at all costs. If you want to achieve your own personal goals, you must protect them at all costs. Eventually, the changes you implement will become second nature, but until then, you need to stay in control of your time management.
Take the Good in Life and Reject the Rest
When was the last time you watched a bee as it busily went from flower to flower collecting the nectar and pollen that would become the life-saving energy source for the larvae back at the hive? While some bees are happy to collect pollen from many different plants and flowers, others specialize in only collecting from certain species. The honey produced in the hives of these specialist bees is highly sought after for its unique qualities and flavors.
In our life choices, we can be like the specialist honeybee, taking the good things offered to us in life, and rejecting the rest that will potentially harm us, or our quality of life. Learning to say no is a powerful tool that many of us rarely if ever use. There is nothing wrong with the pollen and nectar than the specialist bees reject. They have the potential to produce delicious honey, for the honeybees that are searching for a special type of pollen; they represent imperfections and time-wasting activity.
Learning to reject or say no to what will hurt or harm us in the long term is the key to reducing the amount of stress we carry each day and to feeling better about ourselves, but also the choices we make. As we learn to reject the things that will harm us, we are more inclined to accept the things that will help us. Perhaps more importantly, we are able to learn to tell the difference between the two.
How can you tell the difference between what to accept and what to reject to help you stay stress-free?
Most of us know instinctively what is going to cause us distress.
These things never are accepted and must be rejected from our life, but what of those things that will cause us stress but not distress?
Can we trust our instincts with them?
Growing through stress is not a bad thing and sometimes we do need to move outside of our comfort zone to achieve progress in our life.
The key to knowing what will produce good stress and what will produce negative stress is to have a life plan and only accepting those things that contribute to our life plan.
Saying no to other things helps keep us focused on our goals and thinking positively about our life experiences.
So, believe in your strength, dreams, inner voice and go after your dreams!