As a child, you learn certain behaviors: play nicely, share, use kind words and get along. These are all excellent foundations to develop considerate and well-behaved members of society. These practices become the norm, and some of us never learn how to deviate from these when necessary.
As we mature and develop, we find that these standards don’t always apply. Sometimes we need a new course of action without feeling like we’ve done something wrong. This is the time when new life lessons are in order. For some of us, it takes decades to figure these lessons out. And others, well, they may never learn.
It is my pleasure to share with you what your own parents, friends, family and communities won’t tell you. I am here to provide you these essential lessons that will improve your sense of well-being and set you apart as an adult.
You don’t have to like everyone
Some people you will deeply connect with, others you will share pleasantries with, some you will feel ambivalent about and others, well, you just simply won’t like them. It is okay. Give yourself permission to accept that you won’t like everyone, nor do you have to. It doesn’t make you a bad person.
You don’t have to be friends with everyone
It is okay to test drive some friendships, but know that not all will result in relationships. This normal and okay. Do not feel pressured to always include everyone, or force friendship with those with whom you don’t fit. Life is too short to spend time with those who aren’t truly your people.
It’s okay to say no
Many of us are led to believe that if we say no, reject an invitation or a relationship, then we aren’t being nice. That we are hurting their feelings. But this is simply not the truth. It is kinder to be honest than to lead someone on.
You don’t always have to be nice
No matter how of kind an individual you are, you will cross paths with those who aren’t nice, those who take advantage, or those who try to force their ideas or beliefs onto you. If you feel uncomfortable by words or actions, you don’t need to be a doormat. Don’t worry about offending someone if you feel that what they want from you is against your intuition.
Being direct isn’t a bad thing
We are often taught that if we’re direct, blunt, or honest, we will hurt someone’s feelings. We dance around issues, avoid invitations and make excuses, simply because we feel that being clear will result in something hurtful. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Letting others know exactly what we think or how we feel saves a great deal of time and energy for all parties involved. Being direct is more courteous than you may have been led to believe.
Boundaries are important
Oftentimes we feel that our time, attention and energy is being used and we are being manipulated or under-appreciated. Set boundaries and protect yourself from those who aren’t kind, those who project negativity, or from those who want you to give and give with nothing in return. As it was stated in point number three, it is okay to say “no.” In fact, it’s quite liberating.
Listen to yourself/honor your feelings
If you truly listen to yourself, and trust your gut, you’ll find those with whom you connect. Pursue them! Conversely, if you feel that you’re in a situation or with people who aren’t going to enhance your experience, it is okay and encouraged to walk away. Trust yourself -- you know what’s best for you.