I once tried to play rugby. Once.
My friend Nina, who played on the Norwich University rugby team, convinced me to attend a practice, with the hopes that I would join the squad. I quickly realized that, as tough as I was out on the soccer and basketball fields, I was not cut out for the intensity the rugby girls brought to the table.
The practice alone terrified me. The girls were out for blood. I cant imagine what a real game would have been like against an actual opponent.
It was one of the few times in life when I realized almost immediately that something wasnt right for me. With that confidence, I declined the offer to play.
Often though, that isnt the case. For one reason or another, Ive stayed in unhappy situations longer than I should.
The majority of the time its because Im trying to please someone else family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and society in general.
Fear of others perceptions has often halted my personal growth and ability to say no and walk away from something that doesnt fit.
I dont want to appear ungrateful, selfish, mean or negative, so I put on a smile and fake it.
But you can only fake it for so long before it unravels.
And eventually things do fall apart. Ive started to recognize that pretending, and going along with something against the fiber of your being an unhealthy relationship, a controlling boss, the wrong job wears you out and prohibits you from blossoming into the person you are meant to be.
I knew playing rugby would be too physically demanding and unhealthy for my body. I needed to learn that trying to make something work that isnt meant be is just as damaging.
In the end, we can only try to live our best life, know our limitations and place ourselves in nurturing environments where we can succeed.
Saying no doesnt make you weak. If anything, it makes you brave.
You dont have to sit at the bottom of a scrum to prove your worth.
Heather Gillis Harris is reporter for the Country (Mass.) Gazette. Reach her at hharris@wickedlocal.com.