The title of this month’s blog is not a new concept, but it is certainly more relevant and challenging due to the times we are living in. So it requires more creativity, and making time to step back to evaluate.
(If you’d like to learn ways to make your parenting easier, check out my award-winning book, “Your Living Legacy: How Your Parenting Style Shapes the Future for You and Your Child.” available through Amazon or my website, www.ShelliChosak.com.)
Steve Jobs: “Most important, trust yourself. Trust that you’ll figure out how to react and how to respond to roadblocks and challenges. Trust that you will become a little wiser for the experience. Trust that you’ll grow more skilled, more experienced, and more connected.”
Take some time to think about how your life is going for you now – Write the answers down—it will make it more concrete and easier to take action:
• What are you liking about your life now?
• What are you doing that makes things easier?
• What are you doing that makes things more difficult?
• What are you doing that you need to do?
• What are you doing that you don’t need to do?
• What are you doing that you want to do?
• What are you doing that you don’t want to do?
• What are your expectations of yourself?
• What are some ways you currently get your needs met?
• What are some better ways to get your needs met?
You may not be able to come up with all of the answers immediately. But it’s important to make the time to answer these questions so you can begin to take steps for taking charge of your life in a way that will bring you more satisfaction and enjoyment.
For example, there may be things you are doing, or thinking, that make your life more difficult, but you aren’t aware of them because they have become ingrained habits that produce automatic responses.
Some situations where that may be happening:
• Using logic or emotion to make decisions, instead of identifying both your feelings and how they influence your choices, as well as using your logic to decide what the wisest choice is. e.g. ask yourself what the consequences of your decisions might be.
• Giving in to your negative feelings as if you have no other way of managing them
• Judging yourself for your actions or thoughts e.g. “I’m clumsy, stupid, thoughtless, etc.”
• Ruminating or worrying, thinking it will prepare you for the worst and give you more control
• Habitual ways to get your needs met that aren’t working—e.g. demanding, manipulating, complaining
• Taking on more responsibilities than you can comfortably manage
• Very high—or very low expectations for yourself and others that are unrealistic and/or based on fantasy
• Beliefs (often formed early in life or as the result of someone’s influence) that stimulate or perpetuate negative feelings and actions
As you look at the above examples, you can see the core is they are all based on how you are thinking.
“Don’t believe everything you think.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/making-change/201907/dont-believe-everything-you-think
From the Roman philosopher Seneca 2000 years ago:
“Everything hangs on one’s thinking…A man is as unhappy as he has convinced himself he is.”
Here are some suggestions on how to begin the process of making your life easier:
• What do you say No to that you want to say Yes
• What do you say Yes to that you want to say No
• Reframe—anxiety, worry, fear, disappointment, etc by replacing with positive thoughts
• Acceptance—when change is unlikely—recognize and let go of what you can’t change—gives you power
• Pay attention to, and express your feelings (at least to yourself, and maybe to others) when they are small and avoid letting them build up. (They’re less scary when they’re small)
• Be honest–with yourself and with others, with consideration for both you and others
• Notice what expectations you have of yourself and/or others—are they reasonable?
• Pay attention to the assumptions you make (for most people, more often negative)—check them out to find the truth. Do you tend to make decisions based on conclusions you’ve made about what another person is thinking without actually knowing or verifying?
• Ask for what you want—check first to see if you can give it to yourself, e.g. validation, information, advice
• Pay attention to words of others—what do you listen to, what meaning do you assume, and why?
• Treat all others as equals (including children and the elderly)—no more, no less (we all have the same rights)
• What are you drawn to read? What is the effect?
• Distractions that help you avoid taking charge of difficult situations—stop yourself before you go down the rabbit hole
• Trust your instincts—listen to them and follow them
Go easy on yourself! Just choose one thing that will uncomplicate your life!
There isn’t a much more compelling situation than the one Viktor Frankel survived, living in a concentration camp for three years during the Holocaust, where his parents and brother died.
Viktor Frankl: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”
“Happiness is being responsible for your own experience. The all-important truth about happiness is this: your happiness depends much more on your attitude than it does on objectives or external circumstances.”
“Lean into the little joys in life when you find them. The simple things are the most extraordinary things that sometimes makes life easy to manage.” — Thomas Oppong 2/13/20 Medium.com
If you’d like a copy of the 12 Most Common Cognitive Distortions by David Burns. M.D., I’ll be glad to send it to you. I’d be interested in your thoughts and ideas, you can contact me here.
Feel free to share this with anyone you think might be interested.