I used to be the quintessential F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out) girl, often going to events and doing things that I really didn’t want to because I didn’t want to be left out or I felt guilty declining. A lot of time was spent at sporting events and parties I would rather have not attended, or giving to organizations I didn’t want to support because I just didn’t know how to say no.
How I wish I’d recognized the value of setting time aside to recharge and listening to my inner voice when it said, “maybe we should sit this one out.” What can we do to better respect our personal boundaries and protect our wellbeing, especially in this new decade ahead?
Learn to love your alone time. If you’re someone who finds spending time alone awful, you may legitimately be an extrovert who needs human interaction to recharge. Even then, make the effort to seriously get to know yourself and find ways to enjoy solitary down time. Reading, cooking, meditating, hiking…the possibilities are endless. And you’ll discover what really matters to you and tap into that joy. It can be freeing to focus on special moments without the actions or opinions of others changing your experience.
Set time boundaries. Whether you break it down into minutes or hours per day or week or month, give yourself a concrete amount of time to be with yourself, doing something you love (see above). Don’t commit to more than you have time for or overextend yourself mentally or physically. Be flexible enough to rearrange and reprioritize as you wish, and let yourself say no to more without guilt.
Choose a few causes or interests and focus on them. Instead of getting sucked into supporting several organizations, charities, clubs, etc., choose the ones that you have a deep, personal connection to and develop a plan to make them part of your life. Instead of giving to every cause you’re asked to support, volunteer your time and funds to one or two that resonate with your heart.
Listen to your inner voice. Have you ever had a strong inclination to say no to something or someone and can’t explain why in concrete terms? Just a vibe or hinky feeling that you don’t have an obvious reason for? Don’t ignore it. And don’t be embarrassed to just say, “I’m just not feeling it” and decline. Perhaps you are overreacting or your perception might be off, but chances are your instincts are protecting you. Others may not understand, but stand your ground.
When we are genuine about our interactions with others and aren’t forcing things, our relationships and experiences become deeper and more meaningful. The people around you will feel your sincerity, and you’ll relish life on a deeper level.
By Heidi Drake; All Rights Reserved @2020