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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

You don't have to do anything you don't want to!

Recently someone asked for advice about a mistake that resulted in an embarrassing situation. She was pressured by some friends to do something she really didn't want to do.

Life is full of choices. When you make a poor choice about something, then you get another chance right away to make a choice about how you want to handle what happened. I always recommend learning from our mistakes (and the mistakes of others!). So, here's my answer:

First, you do not HAVE to do what other kids say. Got that? It doesn't matter if you were playing truth or dare; you don't have to do it. If an adult is asking you to do something and you're not clear about it, you can say you need to think about it and ask other trusted adults. It's true that I write for teens, but I know there are adults reading this too and the same goes for you! If someone tries to coax you or tries to pressure you into doing something you don't want to do, you get to say, "No." No, nope, not gonna, never, no way! What ever way works for you, don't cross a line that's not comfortable for you. Second, life has a way of "testing" us. You'll get to see if you learned this lesson on boundaries because you'll get tested again. It's just how life works. Practice. (Something like, "what part of 'no' don't you understand?" or "Is there a reason you’re not respecting my answer?") If someone doesn't take "no" for an answer, they are trying to manipulate you and you don't have to go there.

Second, when you do make a mistake, learn from it, but don't beat yourself up about it. That means, when the "test" comes around again, you can rise to it and respond in the way you really mean to. But do not waste your time feeling stupid. If a coach gives an athlete feedback on how to improve, the smart athelete takes the information, visualizes it over and over, and then does his best the next time. He keeps moving forward, not crying over the lost race or the bumbled what ever. Sure, it's natural to feel disappointment, but don't wallow in it. Move on and step up. Rise. One more time. Move yourself forward now because the lesson you learned means you have more life experience and you can make wiser choices. Even if you make the same mistake a hundred times, keep tweaking what you do until you get the results you want, whether it's in relationships, jobs or what ever. You learned to walk and tie your shoes; you can learn to say no when you need to.

Keep shining!
Aunt Laya
Photo by Mary R. Vogt from, thank you!

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