Being true to oneself means being real in love, life, work and to yourself. It means knowing your boundaries and knowing when to say “no.” Many times, we want to please too many people in our lives. We want to be valued at work, we want to fit in at school, or we want to please our family. We often say “yes” and overextend ourselves, when deep down we really want to say no. By spending so much time pleasing others, we often don’t please ourselves!
Sometimes, we think we have to do things we don’t want to, but in reality, we have the capacity to say “no” more often than not. This is the first step in being true to yourself; once we realize this we can learn to change.
Next time someone asks you for something, take a moment to think about it. Will this be consistent with your values? What does this question mean to me? If it conflicts with your values or if it is something you do not wish to do – simply say no. Your life will begin to change. At the end of the day, it is your life, and you must choose your actions. If you are being asked to do things that are outside of your boundaries know that it is okay to decline.
You also have to be realistic with some requests, such as in work or in school. For example, if you are asked to do something at work that is within your duties, but you don’t want to do it, you must decide about the implications of saying no. In this example, you might consider whether you are happy with your work or if you want to find something more suitable to be true to yourself.
Another example is when you pursue something such as a hobby or sport, not for the joy you experience in it but to please someone else. Maybe your family or a relationship is persuading you to participate in these things which make you uncomfortable or makes you ignore your true feelings. If you are motivated by something that makes you feel anxious or nervous pay attention to these feelings. Rather, pursue activities or goals that bring you joy and give you confidence. This will in turn attract people who want to be with you for who you are.
Saying “no” means drawing boundaries. Listen to your inner voice and think about what your values are, and you will be able to make more decisions based on what these mean to you. In the process you will be happier and true to your own values. Speaking to a therapist can help you figure out ways to set these healthy boundaries while feeling good about your decisions.