Have you ever found yourself in a position where you are doing all the right things, you're playing by the rules, you're being such a good person!! BUT you are feeling empty, exhausted and unfulfilled? How does that happen? Doesn't following the rules of society automatically lead to happiness? Unfortunately that's a big fat no!
According to Hilmery and others (2006) we have an inclination to go with "our" group, to think what "our group" thinks and to do what they do. And we do this simply if we can identify similarities between us. In one of their studies people reported liking music more when it was described as being liked by people similar to them. On the flip-side, they disliked the music more when it was liked by someone that is unlike them.
Now I've been a psychologist for long enough to know that there is no "one fits all" rule or way for people to do life. There is no black and white, there's just a sea of a whole lot of grey out there. So if you are tempted to saying yes to alllll the things that people "like you" are doing then may I suggest a re-think.
Here are a few things you could try!
1. Have you ever been around a toddler? Have you seen them say NO NO NO to everything? I just love that their first response is no and then they leave themselves space to change their mind. We do it the other way around don't we? We say YES to all the things and then do them begrudgingly or we cancel plans and feel like crap about it. What if we toddler-ed this one? Say you are unsure of a decision you are about to make, why not buy yourself some space and time to think about what you truly want to do, then get back to the person asking for your time with what you actually want to do.
2. Be honest and ask for what you need. There are so many ways we can do pretty much everything in life. If you are asked to do something or to go somewhere and it's a real inconvenience, why not suggest an alternative day, time or activity? Expressing the truth about the invite will not hurt anyone's feelings, in fact I'm pretty sure the other person is inviting you out of the kindness of their heart, not to complicate your life!
3. Ask yourself what you want and then see how you feel. I love doing this one! It's pretty simple and straight forward once you have tried it a few times. Close your eyes and ask yourselves if this is what you want to do. Now see how that feels in your body. Tension and making yourself shrink is a strong no, warmth and an open feeling is a yes! Your body's way of saying yes and no might be slightly different to this! So get asking and practice listening.
And if none of these give you clarity, it's time to walk it out of course! A quick walk around the block will give you that spaciousness and clarity to make a better decision. Not to mention the complimentary mood boost!