Feeling, Living

Not Responsible For Other People’s Success

July 21, 2014

We know that I care a lot about self-care. That self-care seems to be the best way for me to make myself happy, to have enough energy to deal, to feel my feelings and to be present in my days. I think a lot about how, when my reserves are low, I feel like a screaming 4 year old. And if my reserves are high, I feel like Superwoman.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been dealing with anxiety. It’s coming from feeling really out of control with my salaried job and from not having enough down time, even with vacation.

I’ve spent the past 6+ months feeling like “life is steam-rolling me and going with the flow is gonna get me sucked out to sea.” And I wrote about wanting to make a change. To create boundaries and understand what my priorities are, instead of just going with the next thing…and the next thing… and the next thing.

It seems that, to dig out from the back log, to create space, to feel in control, I needed a new tool.

So, I’ve started saying No.

It began with the hand-to-heart practice that Heidi taught me. That little action began to give me pause.

Then, I decided to clear my meetings for the next few weeks. Meetings take up tons of energy for this introvert, they suck up time and create even more work. I needed a buffer. I needed to go through the back-log from months of chaos. I needed to feel relieved and focused when I woke up, not dread.

Then, I listened to Tiffany Han on Elise’s podcast (episode 17) where she speaks about taking a social media break, being bored, and saying no.

“You are not responsible for the success of anyone else’s business endeavor…people need to be strict preserves of their sanity, because no one else is going to look out for you. Cuz no one else cares that much, honestly. We’re all trying to do our own thing.”


I am not responsible for other people’s success?

Of course I’ve heard this before, but for some reason, Tiffany’s no bullshit attitude coming through my headphones was like a sermon. I felt the grace of good advice run through me.

Because that’s how I feel. Often. That I am responsible for everything. And to start saying no, to separate myself from other people’s needs, to create some space to think about how I feel and what I want – this has felt like a game changer.

So, I said no.
No, I don’t want to go to Six Flags.
I don’t want to leave my apartment.
I don’t want to cook tonight.
I don’t want to host that event that maybe only 10 people will show up to.
I don’t want to stay up late.
I don’t want a glass of wine.
I don’t want to travel for work right now.
I don’t want to meet up on a Saturday.
I don’t want to go on a 10m hike.

These things are all awesome in the general context of life. I am not turning down bad things, if anything, I am saying no to things that seam unreasonable to say no to. But, it has to be done.

Because each time I said no to one of these items, I created space for downtime, for refueling, for quiet.

(We know, I need so much downtime to function.)

But also, each time I said no, I was able to say yes to something awesome too. Going to the beach for lunch, going for a run alone, meeting a friend for coffee, spending time with H, working on a cool project, blogging, reading. Or doing nothing. Things that refuel my reserves. Things that I deem worthy of my time. Things that matter to me.

So – as the deep summer is upon us – I encourage you to say “no” to something this week. Open up some space in your life. Maybe it’s something you hate, or something you said yes to once before and now feel obligated to keep it up. Maybe it’s something where the other person will be disappointed or you’ll feel guilty. Go listen to that podcast and try out that two-letter word. No.

Because you are not responsible for the success of anyone else.

You can be selfish, in the very best way. You can say No.

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  • Reply Renée July 21, 2014 at 6:59 am

    I ALWAYS say, “It’s okay to be selfish when it comes to your own happiness.” And its always a light-switch reaction to the friends/family I say it to. They are like, “HOLY CRAP! You mean I’m living my own life and I can make decisions to make me happier? and less like punching people in the face?” GO OUT THERE AND BE SELFISH!!!!

    Thanks for the post, it helps put everything in perspective 🙂

    • Reply justine July 25, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      :sigh: you rock too. i love that – yes – we can make decisions that make us happier and that are less like punching people in the face 😉 I find the urge to punch people in the face decreases in proportion to the amount of self-care I take hah.

  • Reply Katie @ Talk Less, Say More July 21, 2014 at 7:00 am

    Love you and love this! I’m definitely fighting the steam-roll effect and often feel like a 4 year old who’s about to have a temper tantrum every afternoon…maybe I need a nap. 😉

    • Reply justine July 25, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      You DEF would benefit from a nap. At least, that’s how I feel about everyone. World peace thru naps.

  • Reply debibro July 22, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Reblogged this on debibro's Blog and commented:
    Most awesome advice, from a most awesome gal. Xoxo

  • Reply ciaobologna July 23, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Justine! I started following your blog when I saw you were living in LA: I should be moving there in December. This post sure hit home for me. I’ve said “No” to three awesome traveling opportunities this month and was feeling very guilty about saying “No” to people I care about and I was initially anxious about the decision. In hindsight, I know I did the right thing and am feeling much more grounded after having some time to myself. Brava!

    • Reply justine July 25, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      hey miss – so good to hear from you! checking your blog out after this reply. great to hear you took some time for yourself even though it meant turning down cool opportunities. those are the hardest ones to say no to – but it’s so important to have a base-line of energy to ENJOY things when they do cross our paths. would love to meet up when you relocate!

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  • Reply Nina July 31, 2014 at 1:24 am

    YES to NO

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