There’s little more frustrating than feeling stuck or trapped—like you have to accept things that aren’t good for you and can’t do the things you need to do to feel and be your best.
I think we all feel this way at times, and sometimes we do have to accept things that aren’t ideal, at least in the short term while we figure out a plan to make things better. Until we address our health issues, or find a less stressful job, or slowly unravel layers of grief or trauma to find some modicum of peace and healing.
But when life feels stressful, it’s often because we don’t recognize all the things that are within our power.
As I sit exhausted in sweats, trying to focus during a short break from caring for two young kids, I know I need to accept the limitations of early parenthood, without a ‘village’ close by for regular support.
But I don’t have to worry I’m not being a good enough parent when I know I’m doing my best. I don’t have to feel bad about asking for help so I can take a much-needed break. And I don’t feel guilty or weak for crying sometimes when it all feels like too much.
I don’t know about you, but I find the words “You don’t have to…” incredibly comforting, especially when those words enable me to do more of what I need to do for myself.
If you’re feeling powerless in any area of your life right now, today’s post is for you. If you’re at the end of your rope and tired of waiting for change, this post is for you.
If you think you don’t have any options, this post might be the nudge you need to look a little deeper and discern what’s actually within your power. Odds are, it’s more than you think.
If you’d like to print this list to hang or save for future reference, you can download a printable version here, along with a two-page worksheet to help you create change in any area of your life. (You’ll also find four other helpful printables that I created as companions to my upcoming Inner Strength Journal.)
15 Things You Don’t Have to Do Anymore
1. You don’t have to wait for change. If you’re not happy with the way things are, you can do something, no matter how small, to transform your life—starting now.
2. You don’t have to accept anything you’re not comfortable with in your relationships. The people in your life might never change, but you can change how you engage with them.
3. You don’t have to get permission to do what’s best for you. At any time, you can decide to prioritize your dreams and needs without having to defend yourself or justify your choices.
4. You don’t have to follow anyone else’s advice or rule book. You can decide for yourself what you value most and what it means and looks like to honor it.
5. You don’t have to be afraid of failing. Failing means you’re trying new things, which is essential if you want to learn, grow, and live a life of purpose and adventure.
6. You don’t have to be the same as you were a year ago, a month ago, or even a day ago. Every morning you can start anew and show up in the world as the person you want to be.
7. You don’t have to continue doing anything that no longer feels right for you. It’s okay to change directions at any time, and as many times as you need to.
8. You don’t have to feel guilty about saying no or accomplishing less. Your peace and well-being are just as important as other people’s requests and more valuable than anything you could add to your to-do list.
9. You don’t have to ignore or suppress your feelings and instincts. They are your compass toward the best possible decisions for you. Hear them. Trust them. Learn from them.
10. You don’t have to hide your pain to make other people feel comfortable. Not everyone will be able to hold space for you, but some will—you just have to open up to find them.
11. You don’t have to go it alone. There’s no shame in asking for help. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or incompetent. It means you love yourself enough to accept love from other people.
12. You don’t have to fix anyone else or make them happy. And you can’t no matter how hard you try. Your job is to focus on taking care of yourself and love them while they learn to do the same.
13. You don’t have to be ashamed of your past. You did the best you could, given what you’ve been through and what you knew at the time, and it helped you become the person you are today.
14. You don’t have to worry about what’s coming in the future. You will anyways because you’re human. But when you catch yourself, remind yourself that whatever it is, you’re strong enough to handle it.
15. You don’t have to stress about doing something big to change the world. You can do something big if you want, but even your smallest acts of kindness can make a massive difference.
I hope these reminders help you find the strength and courage to change the things you can, even if you start with just one small step. Sometimes even the tiniest move in the right direction can completely change the trajectory of your life.
You can access the printable version of this list and the companion worksheet here.
Also, just a reminder: For a limited time, you can get a free 318-page eBook—Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Overcoming Hard Times—when you preorder Tiny Buddha’s Inner Strength Journal through one of the vendors listed here.