“Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff.” – Richard Carlson

The time and energy you spend each day is valuable and should be rationed proportionately to your ideals, your focus, and your dreams. You only need to understand that you must lead in the time you give, rather than giving everything to everyone who comes in contact with you. You must conserve your energy the best you can.

You can take control of your life by choosing your battles. You can refocus and realize what you’re here to do. You can set boundaries and choose how you spend your time. You can recognize that you DO have a say.

You don’t need to change the world in one day, even if that is your aim. You must focus first on changing yourself. You don’t have to change everyone’s minds about everything. You don’t have to save every person if they’re not willing to save themselves. You don’t have to give to those who only take and do not give in. You can avoid codependency and focus only on what you can control.

There are ways to choose your battles. There are ways to say “no” to doing too much while feeling obligated to doing even more. You can communicate in a way where you don’t let anyone get the best of you as well.

You are the only you in the whole entire world. You matter. You’re not a burden. It’s okay to take up space and to put your needs first. When you don’t have energy or time to give because you’ve spread yourself too thin, it’s time to take a step back. Consider other options.

Choose your battles wisely by responding rather than reacting, knowing you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone and only giving energy where it counts. Here are three ways you can do so today.

1. Respond, Don’t React

Rather than depleting yourself of all your emotional energy, don’t burst or break when there is conflict. You don’t have to react. You can respond. The difference is the damage done. You don’t want to tear someone down (even if they “deserve” it). You don’t want to get caught up in the moment. You don’t want to act or REACT impulsively. Reacting is when emotions take over, and you say things that you don’t mean or that hit below the belt, fighting fire with fire. You need time to reflect so you can respond. Pause. Then, you can strategize for solutions and not get caught up in the conflict. Self control is what matters.

When you respond thoughtfully and maturely, you are giving the other person less power over you and your emotions. When you have a sense of self restraint, when you don’t point out every flaw to a person, when you don’t cover your own mistakes by speaking out on others’ ones, you have outgrown the drama. You have outgrown any definition of you other than the one you give yourself.

You don’t need others’ opinion of you any longer to be the deciding factor of who you are. You don’t let others govern over your emotions. Remember what’s most important- your dignity or their definition of you? Your dignity comes first. Not giving into them is how you maintain it.

Be the bigger person. It doesn’t mean you let someone walk all over you. It means that you do not let them control your emotions or reactions. You can then communicate in a healthy manner for a better outcome.

Focus on “I Statements.”

For example, say “I feel…” instead of “You did…”

Focus on how you are feeling and being vulnerable and open rather than being accusatory.

An example of using an “I Statement” is,

“I feel left out when you don’t include me in your plans with friends.”

Instead of,

“You don’t invite me to things. Why?”

It’s less abrasive to use an “I Statement.” It fosters healthy and positive communication.

When you can thoughtfully prepare your “I Statement” rather than react in the moment, you will get more out of the interaction. You will have responded, not reacted. You will have let go of impulsivity.

2. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone

“It’s not what you call me. It’s what I answer to.” – African Proverb

Focus on your integrity. It’s not just about the presentation you portray to others. It’s about the authenticity in which you lead your life.

Being right all the time is not the priority. It’s about being kind. It’s valuing what others have to say even if you don’t agree with it. It’s not turning things into fights but letting them go in the contexts where you need to be productive not provocative. It’s about admitting your flaws, so you can fight another day.

When you have confidence in who you are, you don’t let others’ see you sweat. You remember not to sweat the small stuff. If someone else has integrity, they will try to build you up. It reflects more on them than you when they try to do otherwise.

When you realize you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone, you achieve more because you believe in yourself more.

Others don’t define your worth. YOU define your worth.

When you realize that you don’t owe anyone anything, you will feel freer. You will see clearer. You will do better. And life will be a little easier.

3. Only give energy where it counts.

“Friendly reminder that ‘do your best’ does not mean working yourself to the point of a nervous breakdown.” – Unknown

Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Will it matter 5 years from now? If not, then don’t give it 5 minutes of your time.

Step back. Take a breath. Rest. You deserve rest. You deserve to say no, even if it’s for something or someone you care about. You come first. It doesn’t make you less of a person to do so. Jim Carrey says to be depressed is a call to “deep rest.” We need to recover from day to day life and obstacles. You don’t need to run yourself ragged. Motivation needs replenished daily. There are things that will try to deplete you of your energy; Put yourself first. Self care is not selfish. You can’t pour from an empty cup, either.

Your inner peace is not worth sacrificing. You need the fuel to keep going, to keep surviving and most of all, thriving. Let this serve as a reminder that you also deserve peace. You may have fought hard to get here. You may feel like you have to keep fighting. Still, you should take a step back from the fight and surrender instead. You should look at how far you’ve come, not how far you have yet to go. It’s a matter of perspective.

If you are feeling depleted, if you are feeling done, it’s time to regroup and prioritize what matters most. You only need to let others know so that they are on the same page as you.

Sometimes, voicing our needs helps us to follow our needs as well. It means it’s up to you to make sure others know what you can or can’t handle. It’s okay to take on less.

The less you let in, the more you will be able to do for each thing you are focused on. It’s like the quote “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”- Ram Dass. Your inner peace actually helps you to prioritize. When you know who you are, you are a force to be reckoned with.

You muster the strength to get up each day and conquer each battle. The less you have to do, the more able you are to do each thing. It’s like clearing out clutter but of the soul. Be a minimalist to your own life. Know what means the most to you and go from there.

Final Thoughts

Putting yourself and your needs first can change the world. It’s start by CHOOSING yourself. And while that can be a challenge, it is worth it.

It takes commitment and focus and drive to do what you said you’re going to do. That energy is up to you to maintain. That means not giving your energy irresponsibly. People will respect you more if you respect yourself. Learn to say no, learn to give to yourself first. You are worth giving to. If you respect yourself and say no to things that would unnecessarily weigh you down, you will grow in conviction and ability to do the things you want to do the right way for the right reasons.

This is how to be successful. This is how to manage your time. This is how to know if others have your best interests at heart. This is how you can choose your battles and live your best life. Remember- You are worth it.