Face your fears — say “no!”

Rejection is a fact of life, and unless we learn to cope with it, we will constantly be backing out of commitments in an attempt to avoid fear.

Andrew Oxenham, Writer

They say the grass is always greener on the other side — well to be blunt, it is. My grass is so green that I have environmentalists offering me free Toyota Priuses.

Now what’s so great about my side of the lawn? I’ll tell you. I say “no.” The more places I visit in this world (I just came back from a trip to Taiwan) the more I realize that insecurity is a universal thing. No matter where you go — work, school, your friend’s house — you’ll always be given opportunities to be comfortable in your own skin. It starts with the ability to say “no.” People who have a fear of rejection commonly say “yes” to everything asked of them, even if it encroaches upon their life’s timetable. Maybe you have a friend like this? This is the inability to be comfortable with oneself, to have enough self-esteem to face the fear of rejection and to stick it out.

So what does my front lawn have to do with anything? There’s a picket fence that divides those who have learned this skill and those who haven’t. Luckily, though, this skill isn’t confined to any particular person group, it can be learned by everyone. It begins with summoning up enough courage to face fear.

Rejection is a fact of life, and unless we learn to cope with it, we will constantly be backing out of commitments in an attempt to avoid fear. Life is a blend of fear and happiness; one can only exist while the other is present. Thus to avoid fear is to avoid true happiness, a goal I doubt anyone would truly want to seek after. So, in order to begin making your way toward the green grass on the other side, start learning to face your fears. If something scares you, face it. If a teacher terrifies you, invite them out to lunch. Do the harder thing, and in the end it will pay off.

The next simple step towards joining my green grass club is to act on that newfound courage and say “no.” All too often an addiction to the word “yes” is detrimental to one’s health. For example, say “yes” to too many hang out sessions and you’ll miss out on sleep, which happens to be a key ingredient to success in life. It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it and it can be addicting, so try it out: Say “no” more often. Which leads me to my third point …

Be jealous! In order to live in my luscious emerald green front lawn, you’ve got to be jealous with your free time, almost bordering on selfish. If you don’t guard your free time carefully every person who asks for it will snatch it up. I have a friend, she’s a giver, but she gave so much of her time that, coupled with stress, she got extremely ill. After some treatment, the doctor’s best advice to her was to make sure she creates space to breathe, to think, and to be silent. So be jealous of that free time you have, don’t always look to spend it with someone, make time for yourself.

So you’ve come this far and you don’t think my little gardening tips work? I dare you to try it out for a month. I promise you’ll be happier, healthier and you’ll enjoy your life much more. The grass is greener on the other side, so move over to the other side.

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