Marc and Angel always have incredibly profound words for me. I have abridged their content and distilled the essence of their words to the all important phrases and added some ideas from my own experiences. I hope these have meaning for you. They definitely have meaning for me.
Are your habits and routines sucking up your happiness?
Oftentimes we unknowingly hold on to little, obsessive habits that cause us a great deal of stress and unhappiness. Even when we feel that something is wrong, we fail to seek the changes we need to make and instead cling to what’s not working, simply because it’s what we’re accustomed to. It is familiarity, that makes us feel secure, whilst causing us unnecessary stress. It’s time to give up the habits that no longer serve your well-being and embrace the positive changes you need to be happy.
Today is the perfect day to give up…
1. Worrying about… everything.
Worry is the biggest happiness slayer ever. Worry steals all of your attention and gives the illusion that you are working through a problem when you are not.
People worry for all sorts of reasons: to escape reality, fear of the unknown, resistance to change, lack of confidence, etc. It helps to look at the reason you are worrying, and whether this is a realistic way to use your time. But worry can be like a monster and control your thoughts much more than you wish.
Stopping worry, like everything else takes practice; the more you do it, the better you will become at discerning when you are no longer controlling your thoughts and they are controlling you.
Three Tips to stop the “worry” train:
* Say “Stop” under your breath, as many times as needed to prevent that recurring thought returning, until at last the mind gives up and lets it go.
* Remember that you are not your thoughts. Your thoughts do not make you who you are. They are so many other factors. Try to think of your thoughts as a separate thing to yourself. Do not actively fight against thinking them, but rather consider yourself to be a silent witness, noting these thoughts are they enter your head and then pass out again. A bit like sitting beside a running stream or brook, and the leaves and twigs that float past are your thoughts. You might think that is lame, but amazingly this metaphor works for many people.
* Stay rational by reminding yourself of this: Worrying about something that might happen won’t stop it from happening, it only makes you unhappy now.
I can take constructive steps to prepare for possible problems and that is as much as anyone can do. So I won’t dwell on the future now.
* To jolt yourself out of worry, ask yourself what you can do “right now” to make your life more pleasant and then do that!
2. Constant, deliberate, people-pleasing.
Contrary to what you may think, saying “yes” to every request that is made of you is not nice and it is not good for you. First, it can leave you emotionally, mentally and physically drained. And second, it is not nice to the other person, because it deceives them into thinking that you have the time, energy and other resources available to make what they want happen, when you do not. Thirdly, you may even get cheesed for not being appreciated enough, or alternatively accept you are a ‘slave’ to their every request, because you want to help them, thinking they won’t accept you if you don’t. None of these options are healthy.
If this is you: Your self-respect is coming from what you see as other’s approval of you and not yourself.
Generally people who carry out the duties of others at the expense of themselves have low self-esteem and high levels of unhappiness. Some people spend ever weekend helping someone so that others will think what a great person they are. They need the approval of others to make themselves feel worthy. Lots of people do back-flips all their lives to keep that approval coming in: from the boss in the workplace, from their children, or partners, or parents. Without the constant approval, they feel unworthy. For how long can this continue? Children grow up and leave, Partners and parents can be lost and the boss and people in the workplace come and go.
They can like themselves only if others like them. They dare not make mistakes. Some people only feel comfortable when doing things for others: they give, but don’t like to take. Replace those thoughts with self- acceptance and you will always have that sense of approval. Rely on yourself for the good feelings of approval, peacefulness and contentment .
What can you do to avoid that ‘trap’ of approval and get off that treadmill? Keep the following in mind:
IT IS A BALANCING ACT,
Think of yourself, but not at the expense of others
Think of others, but not at the expense of yourself
Think of it as a scale and avoid any extremes of each……
*To combat people-pleasing behavior, learn to say “no.” Oftentimes when you say “no” to someone else, you are really saying yes to yourself!
* Level with the person who has made the request, and tell them exactly how you feel. When you ask me to do X, the effect on me is Y, and I feel Z. I would prefer you do Q instead. In this way, both of you been considered, and have been valued. Keep in mind the balancing act above.
*Give up the search for perfection and relax and enjoy what you are doing as you are doing it. Do things for your own sake, not for the sake of perfection and increased worth (and not at the expense of others).
More words on this topic to ponder about, next week.