1. Saying no.
I used to say yes whenever somebody needed me or needed something from me. After going through a few events where I desperately needed somebody to be there for me in the same way (and nobody was), I realized running myself until I’m dead tired trying help and please others isn’t worth it.
I don’t have to hang out with people I don’t want to. I don’t have to rearrange my schedule to swap a shift with my coworker who has poor life planning skills. I don’t have to pet sit for you even though you know I have nothing else going on that weekend. Last but not least, I’m not going to be a last minute add on to your vacation because your other friend backed out and you can’t find somebody else to go.
No excuses necessary, the word “no” is enough. People act like this is some mind boggling thing and it’s somehow rude.
2. Thinking about yourself first. You’re no good to others if you aren’t good to yourself.
3. Cutting off toxic family members/in-laws. I have cut my narcissistic abusive sister out of my life and I am in the process of cutting off my mother-in-law. Life is too short to allow abuse into your life because your abuser is a family member.
4. Self care. I try to treat myself once a month to something, be it have my nails done, hair cut, massage, etc. Every freaking time I do, SOMEONE has to say, “Wow, must be nice. Wish I could do that.” You can, Susan. Don’t buy lunch from work every day and you could easily do whatever it is that I did.
5. Calling out of work when you’re really sick.
People get so much crap for calling out but personally I’d rather someone stay home and not infect the whole place.
Sometimes it’s insanely healthy to be with yourself.
Sometimes the timing doesn’t mesh with others’ lives.
7. Not having sex with your SO when you aren’t in the mood.
Took me too damn long to realize this.
8. Limiting contact with a friend whose issues are now affecting your own happiness. You have to look out for yourself, too.
9. Being proud of your work. I have a friend who’s an awesome artist but always says, “I don’t wanna be stuck up” or “I don’t wanna sounds selfish, but I’m very proud of this piece” like good bitch. That’s some good fucking art, show off what you got
10. Leaving a relationship even though the other person is threatening that they will kill themselves. Went through this in my first relationship ever and it was fucked. He’s still alive so I know he was just trying to manipulate me.
11. Not donating money at drive-thru’s, convenience stores, department stores, etc. Most of the organizations are extremely top heavy and a very small portion of the donated amount actually goes towards what you’re donating to.
12. Keeping a snack/candy to yourself because you spent your own money on it.
13. Not wanting to go to your destination wedding. Don’t get me wrong, I love you both, and would love to celebrate your nuptials but I’m not taking my vacation time or spending money on airplane tickets, hotels, activities, and gifts because you thought it would be cool get married in Jamaica in March.
14. Having “deal breaker” standards for potential partners.
15. Not responding to someone’s text. Maybe you’re just busy.
16. Not having children. I’ll never understand the arguments for it being selfish.
17. Not getting Christmas/Holiday gifts for people.
If you’re struggling with money, it should not be expected that you need to burden yourself further just because it’s the holidays.
I’m 20 and a full time student in accelerated courses and I’ve been having to make it pretty clear to family and some friends; Im struggling. I barely eat to pay rent. I’m trying to save to get my car to where I go to school. I’m young but I just can’t have a Christmas this year. That’s the reality and its even more harsh for some people.
18. Breaking up with someone you’re not interested in anymore.
19. Getting a prenup before getting married. It protects both parties and it basically outlines what happens if there is a divorce. It also sets boundaries in a way.
20. Not loaning money because it could potentially put you in a bad position.
21. Complimenting yourself. Most people take it as arrogance but in reality sometimes you know you do something well and might just need to have positive thoughts and the only way to do that is to say it about yourself out loud. People need to learn confidence from arrogance.
22. Healthy firm relationship boundaries.
23. Correcting someone who mispronounces your name. If it’s someone you’ll see quite a bit, they’d be much less embarrassed on the first go than if you wait six months to tell them they’ve been calling you by the wrong name the whole time. If it’s someone you won’t be seeing again, it ensures that they don’t mispronounce it for the next person they meet with your name.
24. This may be a weird one, but not “letting people help” when I did not request help, and offers of help were politely declined.
25. Going to bed on time. Always feel guilty cutting off conversations but my dude there is nothing more important than your own personal health
26. Declining plans/an invitation because sometimes you just don’t have the energy to interact with people. Some days that tiny bit of control lets me hold onto my sanity.
27. Wanting your housemates to keep the noise down. It’s common decency, honestly.
28. Breaking up with someone even when they haven’t done anything wrong.
It’s tempting to think that everything can be worked on and improved until someone wrongs the other, but sometimes we just need to accept that our time with a person is over, unilaterally dragging that out is cruel to them and yourself.
29. Not covering for people at work…
Because you just don’t want to.
30. Weight loss for the sake of appearances, or anything that changes the way you look, like cosmetic surgery.
Society thinks this is narcissistic but sometimes people just want to feel good about themselves and that’s OK.
31. Saying “no” to friends who want to go out, but you have personal stuff to attend to.
Good friends will understand that shit needs to get done, and sometimes that means missing out.
32. Taking a sick day, even if you’re not sick. There’s so much more to life than your job. In the US, most companies are really stingy with time off. We have this weird work culture inherited from our puritan/protestant history, which expects people to throw their lives into their work. We need to catch up with Europe, and understand that people work better when they’re happier. Sometimes you just need to get away from work.
Take care of yourself.
33. Choosing to have an abortion.
34. Taking care of and looking out for yourself. I’m tired of doing things for people and never get anything in return. Tired of being taken for granted and advantage of. I might as well be invisible because I feel like it.
35. Not having a large wedding with a wedding party and family who wants the wedding done their way. My husband and I are homebodies. We don’t drink or party and never really have. 10 years ago we were planning a wedding and canceled it. My family wanted it to be a huge party with lols of alcohol. We live in a warm climate and they are in the North. We bought a house instead and have never looked back. We got married on a beach by a justice of the peace. Saved us thousands. Was beautiful and intimate. My family still to this day is bitter and calls us selfish.
36. Refusing to work late without pay.
37. Not wanting to go to a funeral for somebody that wasn’t family or a really close friend. I got so much shit for it at work when somebody I got along with but knew for maybe a month had died. Just wasn’t my space.
38. Not wanting to let you try my meal at a restaurant.
39. Ending a relationship/friendship. People get flack all the time for this, like you must be selfish and heartless to end things. If you wait too long, their feelings can escalate to a point where it may really hurt the other person if you wait any longer than necessary. Also, what are you supposed to do, just stew in your misery and build resentment for months/years/decades with a person just to avoid hurting them short term? It’s better for both parties if you end things before they get any worse.
40. Refusing to drink with a group or otherwise get fucked up. Thankfully I’ve since found better friends.
41. Not tipping your Starbucks barista. Fuck that, it’s expensive enough as is so take it up with corporate if you’re not getting tipped.
42. Not buying overpriced popcorn from Boy Scouts.
I still do and respect the kid coming to my door but you shouldn’t be allowed to use kids in a situation where companies make money. I’d rather just give you cash. At least Girl Scout cookies are 6 bucks.
43. Putting your mental health first.
44. Doing whatever it is you need to do to heal, preserve, or strengthen your soul.
45. To my family apparently, just sitting contently in silence. Apparently I’m rude for not wanting to join in their inane conversations.
46. You know that thing where you go out to dinner with a bunch of people, everybody orders expensive stuff and wine and desert, but you just order an inexpensive salad? Then the bill comes, and they decide to split it, and say you owe $235 for your inexpensive salad?
Yeah, fuck that.
Me: “Hey, guys, I ordered a $10 salad, I’m not paying $235.” I guess that is not really selfish, just sticking up for yourself. What co-diner would be pissed if you said this? None. So, what I am saying, if this ever happens to you, speak up and don’t go with the program. No one will judge you.
Source: Happened to me once. Once.
So, for you youngsters, they say you should learn from others’ mistakes? Learn this one.
And, make double-damn sure you ask up front if you are paying your own way, or splitting equally, when you are first asked to go. That way, you can pass. That’s the other thing I learned and do. “Hey, is this a pay your own way, or split equal deal? I’m a light eater and don’t want to pay $235 for a $12 salad.” That’s what you say. In a joking way, but makes the point.
This is if you’re not going out for some important meeting with your bosses bosses boss. Or something like that. That’s a different situation.
47. Not wanting to contribute to the leaving gift for a coworker that you barely knew.
48. Cutting ties with toxic people. Some people are not meant to stay and you don’t owe them any explanation
49. Acknowledging that you don’t have the power/resources to care for a loved one and seeking help from a nursing home or adult protective services.
Dementia is no fucking joke and it can slowly kill the souls of the family as well as the person suffering from the disease. Caregiver burnout can lead to psychoses, heart attacks, strokes, and suicide. These diseases can cause sufferers to become abusive and violent. The commercial ideal of the well-kept grandma who occasionally forgets things is so, so far from the truth for many families.
It’s sad and causes so much guilt and anguish, but that’s the reality we must live with.
50. Telling your family “no” when you feel you have maxed out your contribution to whatever cause they are campaigning. Especially when their methods of negotiation include applying guilt.
Over the past few years, Brianna Wiest has gained renown for her deeply moving, philosophical writing. This new compilation of her published work features pieces on why you should pursue purpose over passion, embrace negative thinking, see the wisdom in daily routine, and become aware of the cognitive biases that are creating the way you see your life. Some of these pieces have never been seen; others have been read by millions of people around the world. Regardless, each will leave you thinking: this idea changed my life.