These 7 things are what I do every day to keep me grounded in a chaotic world.
1. I wake up at the same time every day.
I’m a self-made early bird, which means that I’m in bed by 10pm. This allows me to wake up early and around the same the time every morning. My body is use to this so I don’t set an alarm. I’m up by 5:30am or at least within 10-15 minutes of that.
This allows me to check emails, work on my writing, and plan my day before my house wakes up. It also gives me time to be alone with my coffee and my thoughts in the quiet morning.
It’s early and you may be thinking that there is no way your getting up anywhere near that time. Maybe 5:30am isn’t your favorite time. However, think about how much better you would feel by waking up earlier than your usual time and around the same time every day.
Your body can’t get use to a schedule if you sleep in late one day then get up early the next. It’s important to try and keep your wake up time within 15 minutes each day.
For example, if you got up today at 6:30am, then tomorrow make sure you are up between 6:15am or 6:45am. Doing this will help you feel more productive, less rushed during the morning, and be more structured.
Try it: For one week, try and wake up around the same time every day. You will discover that your sleep cycle craves routine.
2. I keep an activity calendar on the fridge
For years I have kept a blank calendar on my fridge and write down every day that I do something active for more than 15 minutes. Exercise and being active is an important form of self-care for me. Often I don’t feel like going for a walk or working out, but after I do, I have never regretted it. I’m always glad that I did something active. There are many benefits and payoffs for staying active, but for me this calendar serves as proof that I accomplished self-care for the day.
I find great pleasure in completing a task and checking it off my list. This is how I view my daily exercise and activity.
Some days I attend a yoga or Pilates class. Other days I only have time to go for a walk or stretch for 15 minutes. I am very good at creating an excuse of why I don’t have time. However, there is no excuse for me to not take 15 minutes to do something that makes me feel better. I’m responsible for my happiness and well being.
Try it: Create your own calendar and mark every day that you are active. You will feel better and see progress in your overall well being.
3. Talk or text with a family/friend every day
I make the effort to talk or text with a family or friend every day. It may only be a few lines or minutes but it helps me feel more connected. This connection to people I care about helps me not to feel alone and reminds me of the support I have from others.
I can easily get lost in my hectic day and become consumed with my to-do list. It’s important for me to step outside myself and connect with someone to stay grounded.
This serves as a reminder that I’m not just a taker from the ones I love, I also like to give love, support, and assurance.
Connecting with a family member or friend if only just a few minutes helps to remind me that I’m not alone in the world.
Try it: Start a new routine of either during your commute to/from work, while your preparing a meal, or during your lunch break, reach out to someone that you care about. You can say hello and have a great day or take time to catch up. Yes, even sending an emoji and a few words counts. Everyone has time to do this, so no more excuses.
4. Write something, anything.
I have an over active brain that never stops thinking. It is a blessing and a curse. It’s easy to get lost in a busy mind and distractions that keep me from being productive.
I take a lot of information in from different avenues on a daily basis. Since I’m responsible for taking care of myself and no one can do it for me, I use writing as a tool to help me filter through my thoughts.
I discovered the power of writing in the summer of 1994. I realized that dumping out everything I was thinking, dreaming, and dealing with made me feel better. This tool of writing out what was on my mind became a very useful tool that I use everyday.
These days I may only write a few sentences on a Post-it note about a thought that is running through my mind or I may write several pages while I’m eating lunch. It depends on my needs at the time.
Since it’s for my eyes only, I am able to be gentle on myself, and write without judgment.
Writing is an excellent tool to help filter through the thoughts of a busy mind. It also gives a place for your thoughts so you can be less distracted and more focused.
Try it: Keep a notebook beside your bed, in your car, or sheets of paper on your desk. When you have feelings that develop, come up, or overcome you, grab something to write with and, dump out everything that is on your mind. Don’t fear that someone may read it; you can always throw it away if you wish. Your other option is to type it out in your phone or on your computer. There are no rules, so don’t judge yourself.
5. Don’t leave any dirty dishes in the sink
I do not like having dishes in my kitchen sink. If I had time to prepare and enjoy my meal, then I have time to clean it up. Since the clean up portion isn’t as fun or satisfying, it’s easy to skip it. Dishes that are left in the sink seem to grow and expand by the day, then all that’s left is feeling overwhelm and dread.
I can’t have this type of clutter in my life. I like things simple, structured, and routine. I find a wonderful sense of completion when the final dish is washed and I can leave my kitchen like it was when I started.
Having a clean sink can help you feel that things you have control of are in order. Something as simple as this daily task can create a sense of accomplishment and productivity.
If your kitchen sink represents your life what would it say about you?
Try it: You don’t have to be a clean freak to make sure your sink is empty. For one week, try and make sure that your dishes are cleaned as soon after the meal as possible. Stand back and admire your work. This structure and order in your life will help you feel more productive.
6. Drink a ton of water every day
Everyone knows there are many benefits of drinking water. From healthier skin, to feeling more full, and many others positives that come from feeling hydrated. I remember being 11 years old at a friend’s house having lunch. As we put our food on the table, she poured herself a glass of water. I remember asking her what she was doing and why she wasn’t having sweet tea. She told me that she wanted water instead. As a child, I couldn’t believe that she would want something that had zero taste over sweet tea. Of course, I had to have a glass of water also, since she was having one.
That’s when my love of water started. Ever since then it has been my preference and first beverage choice. I always keep a bottle or tall glass of water with me at all times. It helps decrease snacking between meals because I feel more full when I’m hydrated. It also helps me feel better about my well being. I know that by consuming water I’m treating and respecting my body.
I can never use the excuse that I’m not hydrated because I’m fortunate enough to have access to water at all times. On an average, I consume about 15 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Some days, depending on my activity I consume more.
This is not difficult to do especially if you have the ability to have a glass in front of you all day.
You already know there are many benefits of water for the body and mind. For me, it fits perfectly into my structure, routine, and balance.
Try it: For one week, keep a glass or bottle with you at all times filled with water. When you drink all of it, fill it up again. Swap out your go to beverage for water. You will make more trips to the bathroom but that’s not a bad thing. You will be less hungry and feel better overall.
7. Express gratitude
Feeling and expressing gratitude is one of the easiest things to do that can help you feel more centered. I am grateful for my life, my support system, and my health.
I send out a prayer and gratitude everyday for all that I have. For me, this works throughout the day, whenever I’m present and aware of how I’m feeling. Other times, it’s at the close of my day before going to bed.
This helps to keep me grounded and less anxious.
I also tell my partner how grateful I am for him every day. I say it in different ways depending on the circumstance, but for me, it’s important that he knows this daily. I know how fortunate I am that he does the same for me.
Try it: For one week express what your grateful for every day. Whether it’s through prayer, random acts of kindness, telling someone how much they mean to you, meditation, or any other form, do it every day. If you’re a busy person, set an alarm on your phone or schedule it in your calendar so you don’t forget. You will feel more grounded and centered from this daily routine.
What do you do to stay sane?
Everyone uses different techniques to decrease stress and ease anxiety in order to stay in control of their life. What works for me may not work for you. However, if they don’t then you are tasked with finding what does work best for you.
Are there any ways to stay sane in life that I missed? Feel free to share any that you think would be helpful for others to know in the comment section below.
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As a therapist for over a decade, I am privileged to see a lot of human behavior. I like to think of it as the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have the opportunity to hear people’s darkest secrets and dirty laundry that often no one else will ever know. This is a gift from my clients that I don’t take lightly and cherish the confidential nature of our relationship.
It is in these times that I’m able to build trust with my clients and I’m here for them as a sounding board. However, many of my clients have a hard time being honest with them.
The idea of being honest with yourself can be terrifying. Think about it, if you have to be honest that means you may have to change and it’s easier to avoid your truth.
To change this current behavior and get honest you will need to figure out what excuses you are using.
Here are 3 great excuses to not be honest with yourself.
1. “I’m too busy to stop and take care of myself.”
You have so many things in life that demands your attention or people who demand your time. You think that there will be time in the future to take care of yourself. No one has time and everyone is busy.
We all get 24 hours in a day no more and no less. It’s all about what you prioritize and find important. As you’re busy taking care of everyone else, please remember, if you don’t stay healthy you won’t be able to care for others.
2. “I’m not ready to make any major life decisions right now.”
It’s time to get honest with you. Are you really not ready to make the big life change such as ending a relationship, finding a new job, or ending an unhealthy friendship?
Or are you fearful of having to make the change?
It’s your responsibility to figure out if you are giving in to fear. You can work through this fear. Think about other challenges you have tackled in your life. You have probably done harder things. You can do this one.
3. “I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
Stop assuming that someone’s feelings will be hurt if you are honest with yourself. Your goal needs to be to get honest with yourself and live your life authentically. If someone is hurt by this, that is their responsibility to heal and repair, not yours.
This isn’t an excuse to shoot off at the mouth and say whatever you want; however you want. You have to be honest with yourself and stop worrying how someone will react to it.
Take a hard look in the mirror and make your goal to be honest with yourself, no matter what. Stop blaming others, situations, or life circumstances.
Get honest with yourself…it’s worth it. Your happiness depends on it.
If you’re still struggling remember this quote by Tony Gaskins, Jr.
“The only people mad at you for speaking the truth are those living a lie. Keep speaking it.”
Are there any other excuses to not be honest with yourself? Feel free to share any that you think would be helpful for others to know in the comment section below.
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Do you ever get stuck in your head and can’t get out? It’s easy to become locked in a thought or obsess about something, which can lead you to feeling helpless. Here are 3 ways to get out of your head and get on with your life
1. Is it really that important?
Ask yourself if the thought or obsession your thinking of is important enough to spend all of your time worrying about?
If you have to make a big decision and your trying to figure out what to do then it’s important. However, many people spend more time worrying about making a decision versus actually doing the work to make the decision.
If the thought or worry you are having isn’t of major importance then ask yourself why you are spending so much time thinking about it.
Assign a time later in the day to worry about the thought. It’s not that important so it can wait. For example, plan to worry about it on your drive home from work. That way you give yourself permission to file it away for later and move past it in the moment. Don’t worry; it is likely you won’t even think about it later.
Yes, this may take some work, however, your already working really hard in your head and not getting anywhere.
2. Get present
Get in the present moment and increase your awareness. This will help you focus on what the priority is. If you are stuck in a thought or obsessing about something then you can’t be present and aware.
Here are 3 techniques to try:
- Try changing your surroundings by getting outside or go into another room.
- Call a friend and ask how they are doing. Getting outside of your own issues for a few minutes can help you refocus on the moment.
- Take a walk, go for a run, or do something active to help you take a break from obsessing. This can help you get further clarity you need as well as be in the present moment.
The goal is to be in the present moment versus stuck in your thoughts.
3. Write it out
Staying stuck in your thoughts and worrying about things you have no control over is hard work. It’s time to work smarter and not harder.
Take out a sheet of paper, journal, or notebook and write everything that you’re thinking about. All of your thoughts and worries that your having at the moment.
Dump it out and don’t hold back. It doesn’t matter how it looks on paper. This is for your eyes only. It’s important that you put down all of the thoughts that are racing through your mind.
This will help you purge the distressing thoughts and allow the cycle to stop. Look back at what you wrote. Now you can separate what is a real concern versus an irrational one. You can now figure out a game plan of how to tackle your concerns from a logical perspective.
There are things you have worried excessively about in the past that never happened and it is likely you are doing the same thing now.
Use these techniques to get out of your head and give yourself a chance at freedom from your thoughts.
What helps you get out of your head? Feel free to share any that you think would be helpful for others to know in the comment section below.
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Your probably doubting that two words could make a big difference in your relationship. Thank You are two of the most powerful words that can improve your relationship immediately. I challenge you to give it a try you will see improvements.
The power of Thank You
People who feel more appreciated by their partners have happier relationships, according to a study at the University of Georgia. Sounds simple and it’s not rocket science. Not that we need proof but this study showed that when you feel valued, you’re likely to be more engaged in the relationship.
We all want to feel appreciated by the people in our lives. It makes our sacrifices not feel as hard when we know they will be appreciated. You are more likely to give more to your relationship when you know your partner will appreciate it. On the other hand, it is harder to want to give more to the relationship when it goes unnoticed and ignored.
Your partner chooses daily to be in a relationship with you. Vice versa, you choose daily to be in a relationship with your partner. Have you ever thought about it this way?
If not, wake up, and realize that they don’t have to remain with you for the rest of your life so don’t take them for granted.
Be more aware when they do something thoughtful or helpful, regardless of how small it may be. Size doesn’t matter especially with how you say Thank You. Often times, the smallest actions mean the most.
Two Steps to Improve Your Relationship
Pay attention to what your partner does on a daily basis that your grateful for. You have to start somewhere so start to become more aware of the actions they take.
- They take the trash out because you hate to do it.
- They ask you if you need any help cooking dinner.
- They spend time with your family even though you had to ask.
- They pick up your favorite snack at the grocery store without you asking.
- They pump gas into the car at the gas station so you don’t have to.
These are just a few examples of small actions that you may take for granted because you think your partner “should” be doing these things. If you are using “should” in your thought process then change it immediately.
You are only creating demands and unrealistic expectations, which will lead you to disappointment. More on how to stop the “should” statements in a future post.
You won’t be able to give a Thank You if you don’t pay attention to what your grateful for.
Just do it! Doing something for your partner because they did something for you is a great way to show gratitude. However, words are really important whether they are spoken or written.
Here are a few examples:
- Thank You (sounds simple, but many people choose not to say it)
- Thank you for…
- Thanks for being so…
- I’m grateful because you…
- I love it when you…
- I’m lucky to have you because…
- I’m glad your different than __________’s partner because…
Remember, each of us are different, so take notice of how your partner likes to receive gratitude. Is it by you taking an action, words, gifts, or another way? This is key to knowing your partner. It’s not about how we like to give gratitude, but how they like to receive it.
How do you show gratitude to your partner or the person in your life you care about? Feel free to share any that you think would be helpful for others to know in the comment section below.
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As a therapist, I get the opportunity to spend time with people who want to make needed changes in their life. They invest time out of their busy days to do what it takes to meet their goals.
Lack of confidence is one of the biggest issues that people face. You may not realize that your lack of confidence is the underlining problem that has to be fixed so that the other areas of your life can improve.
10 tips to boost your confidence today
1. Identify 5 things you are grateful for
2. Look in the mirror and identify 1 thing you like about yourself (bonus points if you identify more)
3. Be a better friend
4. Get active today…don’t wait for tomorrow
5. Say out loud 1 thing you are proud of
6. Adjust your attitude now
7. Identify 1 thing that you were able to do well within the last 3 months.
8. Name 3 strengths you have as a person
9. Identify 3 reasons you deserve to live in the present and not the past
10. Do a random act of kindness within the next 3 hours
Take the challenge to do all 10 of these tips today. You don’t have anything to lose and you have everything to win.
Do you have any other tips to help boost confidence? I would love to hear them so share them with me.
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In a perfect world we wouldn’t make mistakes but none of us have the luxury of perfection, so we manage the best we can. We have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes we make as well as the ability to not repeat them.
There are thousands of mistakes we can make, but here are 5 easy mistakes to make that can have a big impact on life.
1. Not speaking up for your needs
Whether at work, in a relationship, with family, or in a friendship it is essential that you know what your needs are but more importantly to speak up about the needs.
Not speaking up because you think the other person won’t change is very common and your right. You can’t expect another person to change, that may never happen. However, if you make changes to yourself, it’s the best chance you have at the relationship changing.
You have to focus on fixing yourself first versus waiting on others to change. Don’t get stuck in the victim role and self-pity. It is your responsibility to speak up with assertiveness about what you need.
What’s the worst thing that could happen if you state what you need?
2. Staying in an unhealthy relationship
This is a tough one because making the decision to leave an unhealthy relationship can affect every aspect of your life. However, if it is unhealthy it is already affecting you.
The fear of being alone, being judged, or worrying about hurting someone else isn’t reason enough to stay in a relationship.
You have to be able to live with the decisions you make, just don’t use this for a reason to stay in unhealthiness. Your purpose in life isn’t to be a martyr.
3. Not understanding your finances
Never underestimate the beauty of financial knowledge.
You don’t have to have a finance degree to understand that if you spend more than you make then there is a problem. It is important that you know how to budget your money, balance your bank statement, and plan for retirement starting now.
It isn’t someone else's responsibility to do this for you. Start learning how to take control over your financial life, if you don’t, you have no one to blame but yourself.
4. Not being active a few days each week
No one expects you to be active or exercise every day. But being active a few days each week can have a huge effect both mentally and physically.
Being active doesn’t mean that you have to go to the gym for an hour. You can sneak in activity without realizing it.
For example, taking your dog for a walk 15 minutes longer than you planned to, during commercials on TV use hand weights or ab exercises, or call a friend in the neighborhood and plan to walk after dinner for 20 minutes.
Keep track on a calendar of everyday that you are active. Put this calendar on your refrigerator so it is a reminder of your need to get moving. Your goal isn’t to be active to lose weight, but to feel better as a person.
5. Stuffing and stacking your feelings
The goal is to assertively communicate your needs, wants, and desires in a way that is effective.
When you stuff and stack your feelings you remain quite and don’t express what you need.
This stuffing and stacking of emotions can quickly add up to reach a breaking point. It can come out as anger, resentment, lack of patience, and even justification to make bad decisions.
It is your responsibility to speak up for yourself in a way that is effective, to the point, and in a calm manner. Don’t get stuck in the habit of silence, it can be detrimental to your relationships, friendships, and work peers.
Fix Yourself First
These 5 mistakes are easy to make in life so make sure you are being proactive and working to not repeat them. Remember, you can’t wait on others to change; you have to fix yourself first.
Are there any other mistakes in life that I missed?
Feel free to share any that you think would be helpful for others to know in the comment section below.
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Everyday I get the opportunity to spend time with beautiful people. My clients give me the gift of joining them through self-discovery. I learn something new about myself everyday through others experiences.
Let’s face it, who would really turn down the possibility of becoming more attractive and the ability to improve their life? Here are 3 tips to help you do it!
1. Show confidence even when you don’t feel it
Sounds like a no brainer, right? But the reality is that it is difficult to show confidence when you feel that your self-esteem is at an all time low. I’m not telling you that you have to live the rest of your life faking it until you make it, but in reality, it can help improve your how you feel about yourself to show confidence even when you don’t feel it.
Of course, you’re not going to feel confident all the time that would be impossible. You have permission to not have an unrealistic expectation of yourself. We are all a work in progress. Remember your trying to begin and maintain confidence more days than not.
Showing confidence in yourself and situations that you’re faced with does make you a more attractive person. It shows that you are secure with yourself. An emotionally healthy person doesn’t enjoy being around someone who finds themselves unattractive with zero confidence.
Your not looking to improve yourself for others since you will be the one to benefit from showing confidence but it isn’t a bad thing that others benefit from your positive changes as well.
Fix it Now
Start by scaling your confidence on range from 1-10 with 1 meaning that you have very little confidence and 10 being that your confidence is at an all time high. No one can be at a 0 confidence level or they wouldn’t be able to get through the day.
Our confidence fluctuates throughout the day because we have different experiences and situations. There are areas of your life that you feel more confident in so make sure that you are giving credit where credit is due and move up to a higher number on your scale.
2. Shine out what you want to get back
Shine out what you want to get back is a simple way to be more attractive. The idea of “shine” may sound a bit weird but think of it like this. You want to show others what you actually want back.
For example, showing confidence, a positive outlook, self-respect, self-esteem, and overall good vibes is the best chance you have at getting that back in return from a relationship or friendship.
I’m not delusional to tell you that just by shining out what you want back it will come because you have to stay healthy and identify what you want and don’t want in your life. It’s still your responsibility to let in and take out people in your life that are negative.
If you are only shining out negatives, low self-esteem, and shame it isn’t surprising that people with similar characteristics are who you are attracting to your life.
Fix it Now
Take an inventory of the people that you have in your life, including relationships, family, work, and acquaintances.
Overall are most of these people benefiting you or hurting you. Are you attracting people to your life that are negative, hurtful, or not on the same path as you?
It’s hard to look in the mirror and have an honest conversation with yourself because you are responsible for these types of people being in your life. We didn’t choose the family we were born into, but we do have the right to set boundaries with those that aren’t healthy.
People change and may appear good in the beginning, then turn out to be unhealthy, which means you will need to set boundaries about how much power you give them in your relationship.
3. Always work toward a goal
When was the last time you saw someone who had no goals and found them to be an attractive person?
Always work toward a goal, it doesn’t matter how big or small the goal is just keeping your eyes on the prize of accomplishing it. Having goals and doing the work to get there shows that you believe in yourself. It shows that you deserve to accomplish your goals.
Persistence, hard work, and discipline are all characteristics that are desirable to self and others.
Fix it Now
Grab a sheet of paper and make a list of all of the goals you want to accomplish, no matter how big or small. Look at this list you created and separate long-term versus short-term goals.
For your short-term goals, pick one or two you can get accomplished in the next day or so. In the long-term list, break each one down into small goals to make them easier to tackle.
The action that you take by working towards your goals will increase your confidence that you’re making forward movement.
A person without goals isn’t desirable whether it’s in a relationship or friendship. Keep working toward a goal for yourself first, and then those around you will benefit from your self-improvement.
Take Action Now
Take the challenge to try these 3 tips to be a more attractive person for yourself and see improvements in your life. Show confidence, shine out what you want back, and keep working toward a goal. By doing these, you can’t help but feel better about yourself!
What things do you do to feel more attractive as a person?
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Trust…the five letter word that takes so long to earn and can be lost within a few seconds.
As a couple’s therapist, I can’t recall one issue that has walked through my door that didn’t have a bit of trust issue in it. This post focuses on the partner who was hurt and struggling with trust.
If you are trying to figure out if you can trust your partner you want to consider these three questions.
1. What is my gut telling me?
It’s hard to do but try disregarding your head and your heart for a few minutes. Pay special attention to your gut (A.K.A. your intuition).
What is your inner voice telling you about trusting this person again?
Do you feel that he or she will is remorseful and truly sorry for their behavior?
Our gut helps keep us safe and away from danger. However, we typically dismiss it because it’s not what our heart wants to hear. If you find that your struggling with the “What if’s” check out my post on irrational fears.
If your gut is telling you that you are not able to trust your partner again you may want to listen to it. This can save you months or maybe years of future hurt.
2. Is trusting again worth the risk?
Making the decision to trust your partner after trust has been broken is a big decision and you will want to make sure you are doing the right thing. To trust again means you are taking a risk, there’s no other way to say it.
Some of the best things in life come from taking risks so make sure your partner is worth it.
If you have a hard time with being alone and always find yourself in a relationship make sure you separate that issue from this question. It may not be worth the risk of giving your partner another chance if it is solely based on you not wanting to be alone. If there is a part of you that thinks they may not be worth the risk, then you have your answer.
3. Am I closer to forgiveness?
Notice how I’m not asking if you have forgiven but only closer to it?
Forgiveness is different for each individual and it is a process.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is assuming that giving forgiveness means giving permission that what happened was okay. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
You would never be “okay” with what your partner did, so don’t confuse this with forgiveness. Forgiveness gives you the opportunity to heal and possibly your relationship can too.
Your not being asked to forget what happened, but you are being asked to consider forgiving it. You will reap more benefits from forgiveness than your partner because you are the one carrying around anger not them.
If you are not closer to forgiveness you may want to re-evaluate the relationship because it will be required to find peace and healing.
Remember that learning to trust again is a process that requires two things: time and good behavior. Nothing can make the process faster.
Be realistic with your expectations. Your partner will not be filled with gratitude for the rest of your life that you forgave them. They will need time to heal themselves from the hurt they caused.
What questions do you think are important to consider when making decisions to trust again?
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“Your greatest self has been waiting your whole life; don’t make it wait any longer.”
Dr. Steve Maraboli
Often times if I chose to look at what is causing problems in my life I find that there isn’t anyone else to blame except myself.
It’s much easier and feels better to blame someone else. Being the victim is easier than being the one that needs to change. The problem I find is that playing this victim card only keeps me stuck. It often only makes me more angry, bitter, and frustrated.
I want change in my life but sometimes I don’t want to take the necessary steps for it to happen. It’s easy to say I want things to change but the hard part comes when I have to take action.
I have to be the one to decide if I want to take the challenge to get what I want which, also requires me to put in the hard work to get it. Here’s how I figured out how to get out of my own way.
I’m constantly beating myself up.
This is one of the most self-destructive behaviors anyone can do so naturally I’m really good at it. I struggled to see the positives in myself and often the situation I was in which made me feel weighed down.
Feeling this way caused the self-hatred cycle to continue. I know that hatred is a strong word but the way I was handling relationships and myself was destructive.
I had come to a point where I decided I needed to change. At this point in my life I was my own worst critic. There was no worse enemy than the one I was to myself.
These feelings were invisible on the outside, no one could see this going on with me but I could. It wasn’t until I saw just how much damage holding on to the guilt that I knew I had to change.
How I stopped
I had to get real with myself and this was a place I didn’t want anyone to see. I asked myself if I was helping or hurting myself by beating myself up so much. I knew the answer but had to face it and realize that by continuing this behavior it only pushed me further to a place of disgust and disappointment.
I knew I had to take action or I would continue to spiral down so I realized that I had to give myself permission that it is okay to make mistakes. I had to accept that all mistakes weren’t permanent and that self-forgiveness was the best chance I had at peace.
I had to be flexible with myself and not so rigid. I saw any mistake as unacceptable and every mess up (and there were many) as absolutely unacceptable. I needed to get to the bottom of my spiral to realize that only I could bring myself back up.
I would easily forgive a friend who made a mistake or asked for forgiveness so why was I holding myself to such a standard that I couldn’t do the same. I had to practice all of the time and often saying the words out loud was helpful because it allowed me to confront that inward critic.
I’m a people pleaser and saying “No” seemed impossible
I learned late in life of my inability to make another person feel happy or feel anything at all. It would have been perfect if I were taught as a child that I have no control of how another person feels, but that wasn’t the case.
There are many people in my life clients, friends, family, or others that really struggle with people pleasing. They feel they don’t have the right to say “No” to people due to fear that they will come across mean, unhelpful, or uncaring.
I had a hard time with the concept that I may be perceived as being rude or unwilling to help someone in need.
People pleasers often don’t speak up for their own needs because they don’t prioritize themselves and begin to “stuff and stack” their feelings. It would be too much to speak their mind so they just “stuff and stack” often until they find themselves using unhealthy coping skills to deal with the stress.
Overeating, reaching for anything with sugar, excessive drinking and a ton of other things to help avoid dealing with self. Also, it seems like many people pleasers can rationalize these by saying “I’m not hurting anyone” and “This is what I do for me.”
How I stopped
I started by saying one of the most powerful two letter words out there, “No”. Many people and situations will pressure me to say, “Yes, I can do that”. Even when I don’t want to say “yes”, I still do.
Speaking up, asserting self, and saying “No, I’m not able to” or “No, I can’t but maybe another time” is very powerful. Saying no doesn’t make me mean, ugly, or not helpful. It makes me in control of my own life…isn’t that the real goal?
Many times it’s my fears that keep me from speaking up so why not challenge myself and see if any of the worst-case scenarios that run through my head actually come true. Worst case a friend gets angry because I have to change plans or a family member gets frustrated because I’m unable to help out.
Each of these people have said “no” to me before and I didn’t blow a fuse so I deserve the same ability to say no to those that request of my time if I don’t want to give it to them. If I politely and assertively say no to someone, then they stay angry with me, then it is my responsibility to look at the role they serve in my life.
If someone holds a grudge against me for speaking up for what I need to do for my life, they may not need to be that important in my life.
My biggest challenge is learning how to get out of my own way. It’s not what others are doing to me. I know that no one could beat me up worst than I could myself, because I have a tendency to be really hard on myself.
No one can mess up my life. Only I can because I’m the one in control of it, regardless of how much I would like to blame others. I had to make the choice to see that the barrier in my life was me and given that fact, I had to do something about it.
Have you been able to get out of your own way?
What helped you to do this?
Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
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Do you have a hard time saying “No” when people ask something of you? Do you wish that it were easier to say “No” to people?
Think you’re the only one who gets irritated when someone asks something of you and you feel compelled to say, “Yes”.
Please know that you’re not the only one who feels this way. Once you get a better understanding of why you did this you will have an easier time saying “No”.
Top 3 reasons why you struggle with saying "No"
1. Fearful of how others will react.
What will people say about me? Will they think I’m being selfish or mean?
You don’t want to feel “guilty” for not helping out.
If your too concerned over judgment from others or how someone will perceive you then you will want to start by asking yourself the following question. “What’s the worst thing that can happen if I say No?”
How likely is it that the other person will tell you how selfish you are? Or that you should feel guilty for not helping out.
More than likely there is very little chance this will happen. If it does, oh well, you’ll work through it with the confidence that you did what was right for you.
If you continue to give this amount of weight to what others say or think about you then you will continue to be locked in unhappiness but at least you were nice to them.
2. It’s easier to be passive or passive aggressive.
It doesn’t take much work to avoid saying “No”.
Saying, “Yes” to everything is easy…at least until you realize that your exhausted and irritated. Being passive would be saying “Yes” to a request and then feeling resentful or angry at the person for asking.
Being passive aggressive would be saying “Yes” to a request but then gossiping about the person, rolling your eyes when they turn around, or thinking of a way to make them pay for asking your help.
It would be much harder to be assertive, by saying “No” and give a reason or not, you have the option. Most people don’t realize this that there is an option.
If you risk being assertive, you actually have a chance at achieving happiness or increased self-esteem.
3. You get something out of being frustrated, mad, or however you feel after you say “Yes, Yes, Yes”.
Sounds ridiculous right? Some people are comfortable being uncomfortable, so avoiding change is the easier route.
So what are you actually getting out of being a “Yes” person?
In your mind your getting the satisfaction that your being nice and not feeling guilty. Ask yourself…If I’m not getting something out of this why am I doing it?
How to say “No” to those who make request of your time or are too needy.
When did we as a society make the word “No” such a bad thing?
Think about it, we are suppose to be wiling and able to help others. Also to avoid at all cost anything that looks like narcissism, having a big ego, or focusing on yourself.
Asserting yourself and what you are willing or not willing to do has nothing to do with being self-centered. It has everything to do with being honest with you. If you can’t be honest with yourself who can you truly be honest with?
Try these 3 ways to say “No”
1. Stop and think quickly
You will likely want to stop and think if you want to say “No”. Many people automatically say “Yes” to people without fully thinking about it.
Maybe you feel pressured to give an answer when asked a question. One option is to say, “Let me think about it” or “I will need to check my calendar and get back to you.”
2. If you have an idea of what they may ask be ready ahead of time
Sometimes you may expect or anticipate that you may be asked for something.
For example, if you expect that you will be asked to volunteer at an event that you don’t want to attend. If you know that you don’t want to do something, go ahead and say “No, I’m not able to but thanks for asking” or “No, I don’t have the ability to make that happen.”
When being direct and to the point you may be surprised at the reaction you get. You will likely here one of these responses, but keep in mind this isn’t an extensive list because people are very creative when they want something.
-Okay no problem
-They will ask again in hope they can change your mind
-They plead with you and try to force you to say “Yes”
Just remember to be firm and clear because you have the right to say “No”.
3. Say “No” and a follow up
After saying “No” to the person, try a good follow up.
Here are a few examples:
-“No, I can’t pick the kids up that day from school but maybe I can pick them up the next time.”
-“No, I can’t make it to company party but I would be happy to stay later that day to help set up.”
-“No, we can’t make it to your dinner party but maybe we can plan another time to get together. “
There are very few if any benefits to being a people pleaser and learning to say “No” when you don’t want to do something can be a huge self-confidence boost.
Do you have any examples of when it felt good to say “No”?
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