I am slowly learning standards are about more than what you’re willing to settle for when it comes to dating. It also involves what you’re willing to settle for in every other area of your world. Your career. Your friendships. Your familial relationships. Everything.
I am slowly learning it’s not okay to let people walk all over me, to give them everything they want without questioning whether it’s what I want, to allow them to make decisions for me without inputting my own opinion.
I am slowly learning that I’m supposed to have agency over my own life. I’m not supposed to sit back while other people take the wheel. I’m supposed to make my own choices. I’m supposed to follow my own path.
I am slowly learning to say no without fear of what others might think of me. I am slowly learning not to force myself into situations that make me uncomfortable, and agree to things that don’t interest me, simply because I want people to like me. Or because I don’t want to cause any inconvenience. Or because I want to choose the easiest way forward.
Even though it might make other people uncomfortable, even though it might not be what they want to hear from me, I am allowed to say no. I am allowed to voice my opinion. I am allowed to ask for what I want instead of accepting whatever I am given.
I am slowly learning how to say no without feeling too bad about it, without being drenched in guilt, without wondering whether people would have liked me more if I had stayed quiet and cooperative.
I am slowly learning my time is important. My energy is important. I should never have to waste those things on people or experiences that don’t bring me joy. I should never feel obligated to agree to something. I should never feel like I don’t have a choice — because there is always a choice. There are always alternatives. I am never as stuck as I sometimes feel.
Even though some people might not like my change in attitude, I am no longer going to do whatever everyone else believes is best for me. I’m going to decide what is best for me. I’m going to make my own decisions. I’m going to follow my own heart. I’m going to listen to my own gut.
I am slowly learning that, even though it can be difficult to say no, it’s much better than agreeing to something that makes you uncomfortable. It’s much better than pretending you are okay doing exactly as you are told, when you are secretly screaming on the inside. It’s much better than allowing others to determine your future for you.
I am slowly learning that, even though it might be easiest to say yes, especially to those you care about and those you desperately want to impress, you always have a right to voice your opinion. You have a right to disagree. You have a right to say no.