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This past weekend marked the beginning of the festive season and many members of the Leruo family will travel to various parts of the country to spend time with loved ones.
Besides family gatherings, the holiday season also has many lifestyle events, braais and social gathering that include weddings, Christmas dinners, brunches and dinners with friends. Unfortunately, this time also breeds a lot of peer pressure which is not always healthy. Who would have thought that peer pressure would still be a thing in adulthood?
This week’s article is a reminder that you do not have to succumb to pressure, especially if it impacts your financial or mental wellbeing negatively. You are allowed to SAY NO!
The expectation is that the older you are, the better you can handle or avoid peer pressure. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. A significant number of Basotho still make financial decisions that are influenced by peer pressure from family and friends which negatively impacts their finances because they want to keep up with appearance or fit in.
While some people have self-awareness and can comfortably avoid being pressured into making silly financial decisions, not everyone can avoid or handle the peer pressure. The festive season is notorious for perpetuating peer pressure, where some family members or friends will ask you uncomfortable favours, make silly remarks or make you feel like you are not achieving anything in life.
Examples of financial peer pressure include, but not limited to:
‘When are you upgrading your car?’
‘All your friends have houses, when are you buying one?’
‘You should have a lavish birthday, Christmas dinner or wedding.’
‘We are all going out, you should come with.’
‘You should renovate your parent’s house’.
‘You should buy expensive clothing for your children’.
How can you say no, without feeling guilty?
I want to emphasise that I am not saying do not help people or show up to events and gatherings. What I am advocating for in this article is the ability to say no to situations that negatively impact your wellbeing or those that you feel pressured to do.
In a conversation which I had with a counselling psychologist, the key takeaways to help you say no without feeling guilty are as follows.
Set financial boundaries: Determine how much you can realistically afford to help with, decide and commit. If giving anything above that amount leads to financial distress, then learn to say no. Remember that saying no will be uncomfortable at first and you will feel guilty.
Be clear and consistent: Like the point above, once you have determined how much you can afford to assist with e.g. LSL1 500 per month, communicate it, be clear and consistent.
Acknowledge that boundaries come with a level rejection: It is important to acknowledge that when you say no, not everyone will understand or accept it. You will be called names such as you are ‘selfish’ or ‘stingy’. You will have to deal with that.
Help, but help from a healed and healthy place: Many are wounded, get professional help from qualified psychologist and heal. When you are healed, you can afford to assist, while enforcing the boundaries.
I encourage you to prioritise your financial and mental wellbeing, especially during the holiday season. If you need to say no to situations that do not fit your plans or are not healthy for your mental wellbeing, do not be shy to walk away. Take care and protect yourself! Likhomo!