No is one of the easiest word in our language to pronounce and yet it’s so hard to say sometimes. We say “yes” because we want to please, or because we don’t want to disappoint.
Paradoxically, there are times when we hide behind the word “no,” because it’s the easier way to go. We have a fear of failure or rejection, so we “just say no.”
It’s as if the words get mistranslated in our brain as they pass from our soul and before they come out our mouth.
We may be missing a key point, which is that sometimes when we say “no or yes” to others, we are actually saying “yes or no” to ourselves.
Trying to be a “pleaser” or the “fear of failure” are self-esteem issues. We are more concerned about what other people think than we are about how we really feel. Shifting to our true identity away from our self-image we will discover a happiness that no one can take away.
How do we get to that place?
Practice – and learning to say, “no” if it’s the way we really feel instead of “yes,” or the other way around, is one of the practices for a happier life.
I’ve shared some positive thinking practices that will boost your happiness. Now I would like to share some wonderful practices that guide you to a happier life.
Here are some practices offered by Henrik Edberg that will help you move in that direction.
1. Being imperfect.
Trying to be perfect is setting the bar too high. It will be impossible to reach. And so you’ll lower your self-esteem. You may not feel very happy about how things are going in your life. Even though they might be going very well indeed.
Perfectionism is mindset that eats at you and your happiness. Saying yes to being imperfect can turn that around.
How to do it:
- Realize what it costs you when you buy into myths of perfection. This was a very powerful reason for me to let go of perfectionism and one I tell myself still if I find thoughts of perfection pop up in my mind. By watching too many movies, listening to too many songs and just taking in what the world is telling you it is very easy to be lulled into dreams of perfection. It sounds so good and wonderful and you want it.
But in real life it clashes with reality and tends to cause much suffering and stress within you and in the people around you. It can harm or possibly lead you to end relationships, jobs, projects etc. just because your expectations are out of this world. I find it very helpful to remind myself of this simple fact.
- Go for good enough. Aiming for perfection usually winds up in a project or something else never being finished. So go for good enough instead. Don’t use it as an excuse to slack off. But simply realize that there is something called good enough and when you are there then you are finished with whatever you are doing.
Find a balance for yourself where you do good work and don’t slack off. But at the same time don’t get lost in trying to improve and polish something too much. How to find that balance? I have found it through experience.
2. Being you.
Not being able to be yourself, always trying to change for others or censoring yourself don’t feel good at all. It makes life feel so small and limited.
So how can you be yourself? Your environment plays a huge part.
How to do it:
- Supportive people. Spend more time with the people who support your dreams, values and you. Or are at least neutral. And spend less time with people who always criticize you. Or you simply aren’t a good fit with.
- Supportive and life-expanding influences outside of your everyday life. Change your environment not only close to you. Go further and spend more time with sources of information that supports your dreams and can give you information that expands and makes your life happier and more exciting. Find support from people you have never met via books, movies, blogs, forums and music. And spend less time with negative and limiting influences.
3. The things that make you come alive.
It is important to find some time and energy for the things that you feel makes you come alive.
How to do it:
- Mix it up. Try something new, even if it is just something small each week. Eat the vegetarian dish at lunch if you always eat meat. Listen to some music that isn’t your normal cup of tea. Go out to a movie, café or pub with friends if you usually stay in at night. Or vice versa. Create variation and expand your comfort zone regularly in small ways to live a happier life.
- Reconnect with what you used to love if it has fallen by the wayside. If you used to go fishing, paint or play the guitar and it really made you come alive then reconnect. Use an hour for it this week and see if it still brings you joy and makes you come alive.
Pessimism can really limit your life and bring it to a standstill. It can make it feel like it is no point in trying because it won’t make a difference or you’ll just fail. It can create ceilings and walls made out of glass where there really are none.
Saying yes a more optimistic way of thinking can on the other hand open your life up.
How to do it:
- Ask yourself optimistic questions. When you’re in what seems like a negative situation then make something better out of it by asking yourself questions that promote optimism and helps you to find solutions. Questions like: What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation? And what is the opportunity within this situation?
- Start your day off on the right foot. As mentioned in tip #2, the influences in your life can make a huge difference. So choose to spend your breakfast time with an optimistic influence like for example a book, a blog or your mom. Or talk to someone early in the day that most often supports and cheers you up like a co-worker or a friend in school.
5. Turning negative self-talk around.
It is very important to keep your motivation and your self-esteem up to live a happier life.
Your inner critic may be one of biggest obstacles standing in your way of that. If you make a mistake or fail, if someone criticizes you or if you are just getting tired then that small inner voice can become louder and louder and drag and keep you down. It can tell you that you are stupid or lazy. That you will not succeed. That you are worse or uglier than someone else.
Being able to turn the inner critic around or making it shut up as soon as it pops up is a very helpful skill.
How to do it:
- Say stop. Simply create a stop word or stop-phrase that you say or shout in your mind whenever your critic pipes up with a distorted and self-esteem hurting thought. Say: Stop! Or: No, no, no, we are not going there!
- Explain to yourself what this will lead to over the next year or more. As I mentioned in tip #1, reminding yourself of the cost of buying into myths of perfection is a powerful way to replace those thought habits. This works very well for other self-esteem hurting thought patterns too. Remind yourself of how the inner critic has shaped your life so far. And in your mind see the cost of letting it roam free for another year or five.
Continue reading Henrik Edberg practices for a happier life…
It really isn’t the words “yes” or “no” that define your feelings; it’s your intention and whether you are being true to yourself or not.
When you make the shift and align to this deeper part of yourself, you experience a great freedom. You alone become the judge of your behavior and worth.
When you implement these practices for a happier life and they become a habit you will begin to radiate confidence and a sense of ease because inner conflict will become inner flow.