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It's more than that, though, Jon said. Last night over dinner, she said there was no future. When we're tired, everything feels like too much trouble, even the easy stuff. If we're endeavoring to create and consistently assert the boundaries that matter to us, we need all the rest we can get. Sleep helps us to keep motivated, stay focused, retain clarity, and be on track with our new habits. It's one of the reasons we put off starting things until Monday comes; Not only is our sleep a boundary that we can assert and protect, but being rested will also help us have the energy to assert boundaries in other areas of our lives. Our lives are nonstop go, go, go from the moment we wake up to the moment we get into bed. And even then, we're slicing considerable blocks of time from the section of our day that's set aside for highly valuable shut-eye. We're burning the candle at both ends and then expect to fall asleep at the drop of a hat after having done so much during the day, which will affect how likely drifting off to sleep is to happen. Sleep deprivation causes havoc. It's used as a form of torture, so that says quite a lot about the effect it has on our senses, cognitive function, decision-making, perspective, memory, ability to handle input, and whether we can adequately process what's happened during the day, not to mention our overall health, both mental and physical. These questions all deal with the same problem; Yet each one provides a different angle, and by now you know how much life-authors value alternate angles. It's a quick exercise that can be applied to any question, but can be a great way to expand your options when you're looking for the best path to your solution on the fly. It becomes easier the more you do it too, which in turn makes it easier to grow and remain as the author of your own life. For as long as you live, life will surprise you, for good or ill. But as long as you live, you have authorship over what happens next. No matter how helpless you may have felt before, you've now been guided through an overview of the tools that'll keep you on top of life. From here, you're not only empowered to expand your personal strength, you're also empowered with hooks and springboards into ideas that you can independently pursue for further wellbeing.

Your life is your choice. It always has been, and it always will be. That she had no future. That's when you popped into my head. I know we don't know each other well outside of work, but I was hoping you'd be willing to talk with her. This wasn't the first time a worried parent reached out in need of a mentor. I'd be happy to, I told him, and we made arrangements to connect. The Enchanting Power of the Overwhelmingly Obvious The video-call icon sprang to life on my phone, chirping away, waiting to be answered. I was in my library in the Pacific Northwest, calling Roxanne in Minneapolis. Hello, it's BDJ, I said, as the call connected and her video screen booted up. Thank you, Roxanne replied hesitantly. Not only is our sleep a boundary that we can assert and protect, but being rested will also help us have the energy to assert boundaries in other areas of our lives. We can create bedtime routines, take breaks throughout our days, limit caffeine, remove as many electric appliances from our rooms as possible, refrain from online scrolling before bed, or at the very least, use a blue-light filter. Do Away with People-Pleasing Consistently trying to keep others happy is one of those areas where crossed wires can be rife. People-pleasers across the world will understand the conflict between the urge to be helpful, kind, and generous and the resulting feeling of being taken for granted. When we are agreeable all of the time, overaccommodating, overapologetic; The trouble with people-pleasing is that it places an onus on external validation and approval. It's those things that people-pleasers seek, and it's a hotbed for insecurity and low self-esteem because no matter how many hoops we jump through, we can never keep everyone happy all of the time--nor is it our place to try or to take responsibility for the happiness of others.

Becoming hyper-tuned-in to the needs of others typically means we grow out of tune with ourselves; It's unsustainable. What holds us back is the ignorance of our options, or the fear of our hearts. And now, with perhaps a little forgiveness and self-care, you have the means to conquer both. You are already enough, with ample potential to stride towards your dreams. While you breathe, you will never run out of chances at making a decent life. For chances, to you, are no longer the products of randomness, but the intersection of choices. If there's anything you end up taking away from the messages in this article, let it be that. Though your life is unique, you are not isolated in that uniqueness; Remember to remind them how much they matter to you, yet never forget that you aren't to be taken advantage of. There is never any reason why you shouldn't communicate the truth of what you want to someone who loves you. There is never any reason why you shouldn't listen to what they have to say in turn. My dad said that we should talk. She was seated at what looked to be her parents' kitchen table, in her early twenties with close-cropped hair and a bull-ring piercing in the septum of her nose. I don't normally focus on a person's appearance, but I couldn't help but also notice a striking tattoo of a Bengal tiger on her neck. The tail and back legs came up from her right shoulder and the head was under her chin near her right ear. It's nice to meet you, Roxanne, I started. Call me Rox. She smiled. Everyone does.

Okay, Rox, I said, shifting in my chair. How can I help? When this pattern of behavior persists, we feel obliged and unduly influenced by the expectations and assumptions of others, and our lives can feel out of control. Essentially, our lives are out of control because we're placing the reins in the hands of other people; The trouble with people-pleasing is that it places an onus on external validation and approval. Saying yes to everyone else often means we're saying no to ourselves. And there's nothing commendable in that, for we're others' daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, and lovers, too. We're liked, cared for, important, and valued. We don't have to extinguish our flame to keep others burning brightly. When saying no feels too icky, awkward, or alien, try buying some time: Can I get back to you? Practice speaking your preferences aloud when asked what you'd like to drink, watch, listen to, or do, rather than the knee-jerk I don't mind, what do you want to do? Try not to answer a question asked of you with a question. When you listen, you can now return here at any time to help yourself recall the difference between a presumptive expectation and an honest expression. To recall how you can meet a fear, an expectation, a loss, or a mistake, and not be defined by it. You now know better than to let a war wound keep you from dancing, and that it's okay to forgive bad days, and how we might act on them. For as long as you allow yourself to grow, your remaining negative thoughts will shrink until their whispers are nothing more than that--whispers. Whispers that cannot hold back your goals, which are all entirely yours to define. As you continue to spend more time in your own company, learning to be your own friend again, and processing your thoughts down as words or drawings so that they're easier to manage and play with, you'll find the very idea of goals will come more naturally to you. This is because you won't be arbitrarily setting them for the heck of it. Each one you set, you set because it's an echo of what matters to you most.

What matters to you is worth pursuing. If you realize something doesn't really matter to you that much, that's okay. My dad says you're a futurist, she said quizzically. What is that? I launched into my spiel about futurism, explaining the work I've done. Yeah, okay, I guess that makes sense. Rox nodded. I was some old dude her dad told her to talk with, and her skepticism was running high. Your dad mentioned you're thinking about your future, I said. Rox smiled, glancing up at the ceiling and back at me. I told my dad that I feel like I have no future, and he freaked out. She began to relax the more she talked. Try to think of the no to someone else as a glittering yes to you: What can you do with that freer time, energy, or headspace? What are the things on your Pinterest boards and webarticle articlemarks that you've been meaning to do and haven't yet done? Which films, articles, and music albums have you felt drawn to? What did you love to do as a child that got cast aside as adult life became fuller? What fills you up? Saying yes to everyone else often means we're saying no to ourselves. And remember: It's OK to set boundaries, to prioritize our safety and mental health, to be a disappointment to others as long as we're not disappointed with ourselves, to be firm with our nos, to not know everything, to make mistakes, and to disagree with the opinions of other people. Get Back in Touch with Yourself