I’ve learned many things over the past 8 years. One of the most valuable is knowing when to stop.
I’ve learned how to stop letting things into my life that will bring me more pain than pleasure. I’ve learned how to stop allowing people in my life who are filled with all kinds of pain. I don’t want their misery to infect my happiness. I’ve learned how to stop certain behaviors of mine that will bring me and others around me down. I have learned to say NO more often too.
It is a process, but once you know the triggers or the behaviors that are associated with pain and negativity, it becomes easier to get to the point where you can put an end to a downward spiral.
I have seen many friends and colleagues who are dealing with relationships that only bring them misery. I often ask them, “Why are you with ____?” They tend to beat around the bush with a response or clear answer, but after further reflection, they more often than not tell me that they don’t know why.
I was asked this same question from time to time about certain relationships I was in over the years. After my divorce, when I was “dating,” I would be with certain women and the people who were close to me asked me the same things I ask those who are in unbearable relationships. I had to do some deep thinking as well as some soul-searching and came to the conclusion that I no longer needed to continue on the path I was on with that particular woman because it really made no sense.
If the woman I was with had all kinds of qualities I wasn’t into, but the sex was great, I began to realize my long-term goals were not in line with my short-term goals. If I was with them for the sex but they wanted me for a potential spouse, I was wasting my time and theirs. It wasn’t fair to me or her to keep going.
I learned how to put a stop to any behavior that was going to take me off my path of being a great musician as well. Once I understood that I didn’t need to say yes to every gig and I could actually say NO, it was quite empowering. I not only said no, but I raised my rates. I got more work from higher paying employers and I haven’t looked back.
The same thought process also applied to anything that was going to prohibit me from being the parent I needed to be for my two children. I cut off all communication from anyone who had an interest in trying to limit the influence I had over my children.
Any person that comes into my life has to bring something to the table to enhance it, not make it worse. I have to remember to know my self-worth and cut the out the fat…and that I can say no. It becomes easier and easier the more I do it. It can work for you as well.