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10 Things I’ve Stopped Doing Now That I’m Almost 50

And the day that changed me.

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About a year ago, I realized how many times (a day) I would sacrifice my feelings and comfort for someone else. I was at the dentist on a summer day. The air conditioner was blasting and I was freezing — blue lips, goosebumps, chattering teeth — and the hygienist said she was going to get me a blanket because she knew it was cold in her room. I told her I was fine. I didn’t want to bother her. She marched out of the room anyway, draped me with a long, heavy blanket (which felt luxurious), told me I wasn’t fine, and that I looked like a character from Frozen.

That day changed me. It was time to stop doing things that made me feel less than. Things like:

1. Apologizing when it’s unnecessary.

Saying sorry would fly out of my mouth without thought. Someone would bump into me, then I’d apologize. I’d change my mind at the last minute while ordering food, then apologize. I’d get sick, then apologize. Of course, there are things we should apologize for; that’s just being a decent human being. But there are things that women feel the need to apologize for that are so unnecessary and we need to stop. Because, if you ask me, that's just being a people pleaser.

2. Giving people more than two chances.

Some people learn this a lot sooner than I did. I honestly can’t remember when I gave someone more than two chances and it worked out to my benefit. People really will treat you the way you let them treat you. If they betray your trust and you tell them twice, as long as you keep entrusting them, they will continue to do it.

3. Overfunctioning in relationships.

I’m not talking about our relationship with our kids or taking care of an elderly or sick parent. I’m talking about doing more than your fair share in relationships, friendships or work. It’s easier to just do things ourselves before asking for help. Sometimes, we don’t speak up and stuff our feelings to keep the peace. Women take on more of the mental load than our male partners. Then, we become bitter and resentful because we do more than one person should. If you don’t give someone room to take more on, whether it’s household chores or planning a date night, they won’t.

4. Making excuses when “no thank you” will do.

If I had to cancel plans with someone, I’d babble on about all the reasons I couldn’t make it. If someone else asked me to do something and I couldn’t, I’d walk them through my day so they’d know exactly why I had to decline. We don’t owe anyone a thorough explanation; no one cares. A simple “no thank you” works just fine.

5. Feeling guilty about every single thing.

This is practically ingrained in many of us. The only way to get off this horrible hamster wheel in your head is to block out that voice that perpetually keeps showing up. I know you know what I’m talking about.

6. Depriving myself of things I really enjoy.

I’d want to take a nap but tell myself I needed to wash my windows. I’d want to go to lunch with a friend but tell myself I shouldn’t spend the money. I’d feel like wearing a certain outfit, then ask myself what the point was because I wasn’t going anywhere. Doing things to please and care for myself was always last on the list. When I realized how fast my life had gone by and how much more I could have enjoyed it had I allowed myself more of these small pleasures, it seemed like I’d wasted enough time denying myself. No more.

7. Not taking my mental and physical health seriously.

Working when I was sick, putting off therapy when I knew I needed it, and putting off tough (but necessary) conversations was my way of life for a long time. This led to me not feeling healthy all the time. The only way to fix that was to prioritize my health and get things taken care of, regardless of how hard or inconvenient they were for other people, as soon as they came up.

8. Rushing through each day.

We all have a lot to do and are extremely busy. I found I’d practically be running to the next thing on my to-do list, tripping, and making lots of mistakes along the way. Rushing and multitasking weren’t helping me get through things faster. It was making more work for me because I constantly had to go back and fix things. Getting things done right, enjoying the moment, and taking a breath during the day is so much better.

9. Not speaking up when I’m uncomfortable.

I was on a long flight and had to go to the bathroom so badly that shooting pains were running through my stomach. But I didn’t want to bother the person sitting next to me, so I waited until the last possible minute. How ridiculous is that? There have probably been thousands of times in my life when I’ve sacrificed my comfort for someone else’s or have said nothing because I didn’t want them to be inconvenienced as I was writhing in pain. This was a hard change to make, but now I’m so used to fixing my discomfort that I can’t live any other way.

10. Trying to change people.

Especially your partner. People don’t change unless they really, really want to. Even then, it’s tough. It’s hard enough to get myself to break bad habits and change my ways, much less try to get someone else to do it.

My biggest takeaway as I approach my fifth decade on this earth? Most of the time, your happiness and peace don’t come from doing or getting something. It comes when you stop doing things that don’t make you feel like your best self. Without feeling guilty about it, of course.

Which of the above have YOU stopped doing? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Lifestyle