Pushy people. I’m sure you’ve run across these kind-of-people. They’re not necessarily bad people, or mean people, but they certainly can be pesty, and they’re absolutely- capable of creating chaos in our lives if we allow them. If you’ve lucked out and haven’t dealt with pushy people, high five yourself for you are truly fortunate and most definitely uncommon!
Many times, their invitations come from a good place. They want to create wonderful memories for us. They want to treat you to a pleasant surprise. They may desire to spoil you because you make their life better. It’s hard to say no to people with beautiful intentions such as these even when doing so makes our schedule overwhelmed, complicated and at times, chaotic yet we feel rude and ungrateful to say “no”, even for a long list of legitimate reasons.
Regarding invitations that we’re unable or uninterested to accept, here are some simple rules, as suggested by Peggy Post, on how to decline politely: reply promptly, be thankful for the invite, be honest, and be brief. But these suggestions don’t address the confusion and pressure we feel handling an undesired or unwanted invitation.
Let’s be honest, people are not beyond using guilt and manipulation to get you to say yes. I’m talking about the pressure to say “yes” when our honest answer is “no”. It’s saying yes to a client, boss or co-worker out of fear for being penalized. It’s wanting to say no to in-laws when you’re in town visiting and every hour of every day has not been held open for them. It’s a club or special interest group that’s become overly demanding and time-consuming because unlike other members, your interests are diverse, and your time is already promised to other people and events.
How do we stop falling prey to other people’s agendas? Set healthy boundaries.
“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom.” Henry Cloud
Most people, myself included, struggle with feeling selfish or guilty when setting and enforcing boundaries, but over time and with repeated practice and consistency, boundaries support a healthy self-esteem, self-respect and allow space for more peace in our life. We grow more empowered to create a healthy life which includes tending to our close relationships, making self-care a priority and succeeding at work.
There is a great article at Positive Psychology, an absolute worthwhile read, that not only discusses how boundaries benefit us, but provides examples and worksheets for exploring, creating and maintaining our boundaries. Defining what matters most to you takes thoughtful time and attention but it proves to be a helpful guide.
A basic ingredient in drawing healthy boundaries is knowing our priorities. It’s the foundation that helps us be more clear in our choices and live authentically by acting in line with our values. Consequently, if we are uncertain, unclear or unsettled, we cannot possibly establish hard and fast rules that allow us to respond with confidence whether-or-not we’re willing to do anything, and if it truly is the right choice for us. It’s knowing what we believe to be truly essential for our life that allows us to choose better and holds the potential to live a more fulfilled life.
Greg McKeown says in his book Essentialism, “Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.” It’s a helpful and life-changing read. Knowing what’s essential to you helps you set criteria for what McKeown puts as either a “Hell yeah!” or a definite “No!” and it saves you undue stress, frustration, and energy doing for others, when you know time is better spent creating positive results for you.
Don’t let life happen to you. You make life happen!
Keep it Simple,