100 Ways To Live A Better Life – 81. Reject What You Don’t Want

It’s so simple, yet so underrated. Society wants us to comply even when we don’t really like stuff. Like forcing us to smile when we don’t find it funny. Allow yourself to walk away from something you don’t like. Just do it!

Saying “No” is obsolete nowadays when compliance became such a trend. Well, I find an honest “No” extremely valuable for one’s emotional health. Just reject stuff you don’t want. Be polite in the process, but firm.

If you don’t clearly state your position about something, people will just assume that you’ll take it, it’s more convenient like this. Don’t just be the “I’m okay, although I’m not quite” guy in your group.

A simple and honest “no, thank you” will count sometimes as 100 “Yes, but…”

The Gentle Power To Reject What You Don’t Want

It’s not only about being socially compliant or, in other terms, over-polite. It’s more about what you invite into your life. What you really want to experience. If you don’t clearly state that you don’t want something, you’re saying in fact you’re at least indifferent about it, which may even translate into “ok, let’s do this”.

Why then, if it’s so important, we don’t have the ability to reject what we don’t want? Why, if it’s so important, we don’t say clearly that we don’t want to be part of something we don’t like?

Sometimes, it’s because we want to be part of a bigger group. To belong to some team or something bigger than us, to be socially accepted. We want to be validated as member of a group, hence, we put up even with the stuff we don’t want.

Sometimes we do it because we’re shy. Because we didn’t learn how to properly express ourselves. Shyness is a very tricky thing. We do all sort of crazy stuff just to be left alone, in our closed circle of emotions, when nobody can enter.

And sometimes it’s all about compromise. It’s all about the internal economy of “what do I get in the end if I’ll let this happen”. Compromise is based on the promise of a bigger reward. It’s based on the assumption that, at some point, after a lot of crap and suffering and hurt, we will receive some sort of a prize. And we have to keep being quiet and submissive, for the prize to come.

Alas, this is not entirely true. It’s just some learned behavior. Maybe sometimes we did have to put with something unpleasant to get the things going, but that’s not the norm. There isn’t really a norm, things are changing all the time. And compromise isn’t helping, in the long run. Maybe we will have a little bit more space to move, people will leave us alone and we will give the impression that we’re playing our cards well, but in the end we don’t really know.

So, by taking this decision to reject what you don’t want, as unpleasant as this may be for our friends, or relatives, or other spectators, we will just play our cards correctly. By exerting our right to choose, we will learn what works and what not. By standing up for our likes and dislikes we will get to know ourselves better.

Yes, it takes some courage.

And yes, courage, is a very good skill to grow.

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