Lady Gaga has never been afraid of being different. For someone who has worn a dress made of actual meat to an award show and had an artist puke on her in the middle of a performance (on purpose), you’d think that she would be brimming with self-confidence. But it appears that’s not actually the case. Gaga recently headed to Yale University where she spoke at the Emotion Revolution Summit, a new initiative that partners with Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, about her struggles with depression and mental health. While speaking to attendees, Gaga shared a lot of solid advice, but the one that we really took to heart was all about learning the importance of saying “no.”
In a video released from the summit, Gaga tells the audience about a time when she was severely unhappy and was considering quitting music. She says she took a step back to think about exactly what was making her unhappy and she concluded that it was largely due to all the side effects of being a major pop star. She says, “I was like, well, I really don’t like selling these . . . you know, fragrances. Perfumes. I don’t like wasting my time, spending days just shaking peoples’ hands and smiling, and taking selfies. Feels shallow to my existence. I have a lot more to offer than my image. I don’t like being used to make people money. I feel sad when I’m overworked. And I just become a money-making machine, and my passion and creativity take a backseat. That makes me unhappy.”
So how did she fix it? “I started to say no. I’m not doing that. I don’t want to do that. I’m not taking that picture, I’m not going to that event, I’m not standing by that because that’s not what I stand for. And slowly but surely, I remembered who I am. And then you go home, and you look in the mirror, and you’re like, ‘Yes. I can go to bed with you every night.’ Because that person, I know that person. That person has balls, that person has integrity, that person has an opinion. That person just doesn’t say yes.”
Obviously, most of us don’t have the exact same set of problems as a major celebrity, but the lesson here is applicable to anyone: When you don’t want to do something, don’t do it. If your boss asks if you can take on an extra project that’s really going to bury you in work, (politely) decline. If that dude who always makes you feel bad about yourself calls you up after three months of radio silence, hit ignore. Saying yes to some things can definitely open your horizons, but learning the power of saying no can be a serious lifechanger.
What’s your secret to staying happy on a daily basis? Share you us in the comments below.