Don't Let Anyone Hack Your Joy

We’ve all been in this situation: at work or the PTA meeting, you’re asked to do something you don’t want to do.  What happens? You buckle, say yes and are miserable getting the task done. Or maybe it’s something to do with your home life. Maybe you’re secretly seething because you can’t stand being the one who always has to do the laundry. Or maybe it’s a behavior. A difficult family member or coworker. This is where discernment comes into play. YOU have to say “uncle” when enough is enough! YOU have to take control of your life, yourself and your boundaries.


Many of us know or have known a coworker or a friend who is always complaining. Every day they seem to wait for just the right opportunity and then they will start: “This place makes me so mad.” “They don’t know what they’re doing.” “If I were in charge, things would be different around here.” They go on and on to anyone who will listen. And one day someone innocently asks, “If you hate it here so much, why do you stay?” They seem stumped for a moment but then lapses into a million excuses: “The job market is too tight to look for another job right now.” “The benefits package is something we really need right now.” “I don’t have the energy after all day of being here to look somewhere else.” So they remain stuck, year after year.


Are you doing this with something in your life? Are you coasting on the “safe” road instead of taking a risk to try something new, exciting or more fulfilling? Sometimes it’s easier to make excuses than it is to bust out of something you know. But you must challenge yourself and the fears and rationalizations that hold you back.


Activity: In order to find more joy, you have to make space for it and build awareness around what hacks your joy.

  • Take time now to write down what triggers negativity.

  • Write down your “Absolute No” List after considering the negative things you wish to leave behind and free yourself from. Include things like:

    • I’m not going to complain,

    • I’m not going to compare

    • I’m not going to put myself down

    • I’m not going to people please 

    • I’m not going to be around people who insult me.

    • I’m not going to be around people who put me in danger

  • Keep this list someplace visible and handy so you can refer to it whenever you feel triggered to say yes when you mean to say no. 

  • Rehearse ways to say no. Although this may feel awkward at first, with practice it will feel empowering. You could just say:

    • NO. (no is a complete sentence! No explanation necessary!)

    • I’m unable to commit to that right now

    • I appreciate you asking, but I can’t do it

    • No, I can’t do that, but here’s what I can do

    • I’m going to say no for now