An important part of being an adult is being a good parent to yourself. In other words, looking out for your own well-being.
This means giving yourself permission to say no – to anything that doesn’t serve you.
If you’re used to saying yes a lot, saying no might be a bit difficult at first. Especially if, like so many people, you are worried about what others might think of you. Or, if you feel like you are letting someone else down by saying no.
Being a good parent is actually a form of practicing good self-care. It’s about being learning to be kind to you.
Now, if learning to behave in a loving way towards yourself is going to be a process, you’re not alone. I know that I was well-practiced at lecturing myself and pointing out my own mistakes, and it took time to re-learn those habits. It can take some practice to become a good parent.
The first step is noticing how you typically talk to yourself. It’s all too common for many of us to over-commit, or say yes to things we really don’t want to do, and then berate ourselves for not getting it all done.
Honor what you really want or need: practice saying no.
Saying no to what you don’t want leaves you plenty of time to say yes to what you do.
“An old man at church once told me never to give the devil a ride. Because if he likes the ride, pretty soon he’ll want to drive.” – Anne Lamott
Some of our biggest regrets in life have the most innocuous beginnings. It’s often the little things, the seemingly insignificant choices we make, each day, that become the fabric of our lives.
How we spend our time: Where we go. What we do. Who we talk to. And, what we talk about.
In a book called The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy discusses how our habits, the things we sometimes do without thinking about them, can make our break us. Simply deciding to take a fifteen minute walk every day on your lunch hour may not seem like much, but if you do so every day, after a year or two, you will notice the difference. After a couple of weeks, or a month or two, it may seem unimportant, but over time, the impact will be revealed. It is that way with so many of our little habits.
On the flipside, the little things we do that are not so healthy, like sipping on a sugary drink every afternoon at work, may reveal themselves as choices that seemed unimportant at the time, but had larger repercussions later.
When we adopt healthy habits and keep positive company, we establish a trajectory which will lead us to a particular destination, if we stay on course. Small adjustments may mean arriving far from your intended destination.
It’s good advice: Be careful who you give rides to…and make sure you stay in the driver’s seat.