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“If you don’t care, than why should I?”

One of my most common self sabotaging thoughts is “if you don’t care, then why should I?”

I lose sight of my own values and principles by allowing other people’s actions and behaviours to affect me. I start behaving outside of my integrity, and it leads to resenting myself and others.

Not that long ago I would allow this to ruin several of my days, and as I’ve worked on it I’d let it ruin a few hours, until today, where I can work through it very quickly, sometimes only in a few minutes.

Here are the questions I ask myself to evaluate the thoughts and get myself back to where I need to be:

  1. Why am I so angry right now?
  2. In what ways are my ideals and values becoming the expectations for other peoples behaviour?
  3. How am I making my life more difficult than it needs to be?
  4. Why am I allowing other people lead me astray from my own values?
  5. Why am I allowing other people dictate my attitude?
  6. Why am I allowing other people take control of my happiness?
  7. Am I going to continue to let other people ruin my day?
  8. What would be different if I didn’t take this personally?
  9. What would be different if I believed that they are trying their best?

What’s the lesson?

I may not have control other people and their behaviour, but I do have complete control over how I respond to their actions and behaviour. There’s always a choice, and I get to choose how it affects me.

Why make life more difficult than it needs to be?

Why be miserable when I can be happy?

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Getting your priorities in order…

Before I was able to set clear boundaries I needed to get the important things in my life into an order of priority.

And if you were to ask me what my order my priorities are today, this would be my honest answer:

  1. Me
  2. Partner
  3. Kids
  4. Family/closest friends
  5. Work

Sure, there’s some movement from time to time based on the context, and it’s not always clear cut, but for the most part this is the order.

So, the first task is to get your priorities in order, then set boundaries, then use that framework to make better choices.

What does your framework for making decisions look like?

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Saying “no” is the outcome of more important work…

I think we all instinctively know that saying yes to everything is a recipe for disaster.

But if you’ve tried to say no more often, you’ll know how difficult it can be to say no and actually feel like you’re doing the right thing for the right reasons.

In short, it’s not just about saying no, it’s about being able to do it and not feel like a dick about it.

We can get inspired when we see someone saying no and doing it well, but what you’re not seeing is the foundational work they did to get there.

So, what is this ‘work’ they’ve done?

  1. They got clear on what’s important to them, and there will be a specific order.
  2. They got clear on their values and principles that help them make choices and decisions.
  3. They got clear on the behaviours that support said values and principles.
  4. They then set clear boundaries that protect and honour those values and principles.
  5. Then they can say no with integrity. Then they can say no without feeling guilty about it. Then they can say no and know that it’s for the best.

This then allows them to spend the time in the areas that are important to them and not spend time in the areas that are not important.

I think most people try to do this almost in reverse…they get excited and romantic about the idea of saying no, and they start trying to say no to things, thinking it’ll immediately improve their life, but the ability to say no and stay within your integrity is the outcome of this important work, not the work itself.

So, if you find that you continually struggle to say no to people, it’s likely because you haven’t followed the steps above.

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