Letting Yourself Say No

And just like that, it's almost a new year. 365 days of growing and, in some cases, outgrowing.
12/28/2015 03:42 pm ET Updated Dec 28, 2016

And just like that, it's almost a new year. 365 days of growing and, in some cases, outgrowing.

This has been a year that's brought a lot of positive changes into my life, from career shifts to breakups to new adventures and new love. And from all the change came a realization that I'd previously allowed a lot of space in my life for people and things which probably didn't deserve to be there. That I'd allowed myself to shrink in order to just go with the flow.

OH, you too? Cool.

With 2016 right around the corner, here's a reminder that some years must begin with clearing out the weeds. Saying "No" with intention, and meaning it. I've spent the last seven months or so doing that, and let me tell you - it's pretty liberating. Like singing in your car at the top of your lungs to Adele type of liberating.

I feel like I've heard the term "soul suckers" before in relation to sort of what I'm talking about here. That sounds a little aggressive, don't you think? But those people or activities in your life that add stress, or tear you down, or poke holes in your resolve or your spirit (even subconsciously)? Yeah, those!

You don't need them.

I have always been a big advocate of giving people the benefit of the doubt. I hope for the best and tend to believe most people are truly good. I like to assume the people I'm willing to invest my time in and spill my secrets to are true and genuine and investing their own time back in me. That even if they make mistakes or disappoint you at times, they're still worth your patience. Here's the thing, though, darlings - eventually, if a person constantly lets you down or betrays your trust, it's not fair to your own heart to let them stay in your life.

Respect yourself enough to walk away.

Respect yourself enough to say no.

Life is hard and will always have its negatives, but it also has the potential to be spectacular - even in the ordinary. The seconds/minutes/hours of your year are precious real estate, as is the landscape of your heart. You can be selfish here. You can decide how your time is spent.

And as such, it's up to you to surround yourself as best as you can with the people and hobbies and habits that lift you up and help you celebrate the every day. No one else can do that for you. Good vibes only, you know? Those hipsters have a point.

I know everyone and their mother is always telling you to only do the things you shout-from-the-rooftops LOVE these days. As we turn the corner onto a new year and fresh starts, I'm here to reiterate that. I don't mean stop paying your bills and quit showering, but let's have a nice, cold reality check, shall we? If working out at 5am is adding anxiety to your life, stop. If talking to your ex is making you sad, stop. If checking social media is stressing you out, stop. If you don't truly enjoy something (like hanging out with a certain person or drinking alcohol or running marathons), but are making yourself do XYZ because you think you're supposed to, oh man - stop. Just. Say. No
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It's fine!

And not like twenty-something girl in a relationship "Fine." But actually, sincerely, no strings attached FINE.

I promise.

The world will not stop spinning because you decide so-and-so is not worth squeezing into your schedule, or because you no longer want to volunteer after work making care packages for orphaned tigers in India. You are not suddenly becoming a terrible human being.

You're just being true to yourself. And hey- high five for that!

We cannot, in fact, do everything all of the time, and you are not Beyonce. Hell, I'd imagine even she's cut out activities and people who were taking her for granted or filling her days with things she wasn't passionate about.

Say no, and mean it. Nobody's got time for a life lived half-hearted.