Uncomfortable: Non-Negotiables | 3 Tips for Sticking to Your Guns

A couple blogs ago I wrote about the importance of non-negotiables in a relationship. But, not all of us have defined our “non-negotiables” for life. The promises we make to our friends and family, to our bosses, ourselves, and our lovers. Non-negotiables are the things in life that you are not willing to negotiate on, the beliefs you will fight tooth and nail over and for.
They follow your ideals and values and outline what you will and will not accept from others – as well as what you will and will not accept from yourself.

Family time ❤ New York, 2012

So, how do you get started on defining your own non-negotiables?
First off, decide what is important to you.
We all have things we care about, but what is something that is a definite deal breaker for you?
Is it not working weekends, so you can have more time with the kids and/or family?
Is it having a short commute time?
Is it working for a company whose values align with your own?
Is it being able to go back to school?
Is it dating someone with high integrity?

By deciding and defining what is truly important to you – you have essentially begun your list of non-negotiables. Woo-hoo!! Make sure though, that you have narrowed down your list to just the non-negotiables. When we start thinking about everything we like or care about – sometimes the lines get blurred between what we want, and what we truly are NOT willing to budge on.

Second, make your non-negotiables KNOWN.
If other people know about them, your best friend, your partner, your boss – whoever – it is going to make it easier for you to stick to your guns. You’ve put it out there, and people know what you’re about and what you expect. It’s not a secret… Now, you can see what gets pinged back and how certain people react to what’s important to you.
Don’t feel bad for having your list either! Each list is personal, and it should be. Just because someone doesn’t agree with your non-negotiables doesn’t make you wrong. It just means theirs are different.

Last but not least, don’t budge!
People are going to try to make you feel bad for your non-negotiables. Maybe they think your expectations are too high or that what you’re asking is unrealistic… that’s their opinion, and they are entitled to it. But, that doesn’t mean that you need to change your non-negotiables. Sure, life happens and what is important to you changes. Maybe you go from a non-negotiable girls night every Saturday to a non-negotiable family dinner every Saturday. That’s fine! That is life, and we need to be able to adjust our lists for the ever changing flow of time.
But, don’t let someone else come in and TELL you that you’re wrong on your non-negotiables. As I said before, they are YOURS and only yours.
Stand your ground. If you budge on your non-negotiables then people may think less of your word – or less of you in general. Because you have these things, that you said you would fight tooth and nail for, but now – because someone disagrees with them – you change them… not good.
You want to be known for having good character. So, don’t change your non-negotiables unless YOU think it is time to change them.

Let’s get real about our non-negotiables in life.
Let’s get uncomfortable and start the conversation that will make each other’s expectations known.

2 thoughts on “Uncomfortable: Non-Negotiables | 3 Tips for Sticking to Your Guns”

  1. Great article, Ashley. I love the idea of communicating non-negotiables with our friends, family, and co-workers – even social media. Just putting things out there helps to keep us accountable and cements it more in our own minds. If we could get more people to care about their good character we would have ourselves a much better world. 🙂


    1. First, let me say thank you for reading Torie and for taking the time to leave a comment!
      I was raised, like you were I’m assuming, where character is the core of who you are. If we are able to help hold one another accountable for what we say we are sticking to – it makes being that person, and sticking to your guns, that much easier.
      Sometimes it takes others to help us be our best selves 🙂


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