You don't have to live stressed out and exhausted.
I received some pushback from last week’s episode. I love pushback because it allows me to clarify these concepts. Talking about getting stuck and feeling selfish when we own it.
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Hi and welcome. You’re listening to the Happiness Hacks podcast, formerly Stories from a Quest to Live Happier, same format, just a different name, and I’m your host, Nancy Jane Smith. I’m a licensed professional counselor. In this podcast, I share my stories, lessons, and hacks I’ve learned and I continue to learn on my quest to live happier. Show notes can be found at live-happier.com/podcast. This is episode 52, Own It Part Two, Now What?
Today, I want to do a part two. It wasn’t in the plans, but I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from part one, last week’s episode 51 called Own It, and so this is part two called Now What? Because a lot of people push back a little bit on just owning it. I thought I might get some pushback because, although it sounds awesome and something we all strive to, just owning it and putting that pause into whatever it is we’re feeling is challenging.
So to do a quick refresher, if you want to hear the whole episode, go back to episode 51, but a quick refresher. Last week, I talked about the idea of really owning it and just owning whatever it is you’re feeling. So often we rush past the feeling to get to the other side, so we’re feeling sad. Instead of allowing ourselves to feel sad, we rush past it. We’re feeling tired. Instead of allowing ourselves to feel tired or own that we’re tried, we rush past it. Sometimes we even beat ourselves up for being tired, or we’ll excuse it away instead of just really embracing and owning that we’re tried.
The own it piece is just a small part, a small but mighty, and I think it’s a piece that goes missing a lot because, like I said, we rush past it. We want to get into fixing it mode before we’ve experienced it. This idea of just owning it is triggering for a lot of people and extremely, extremely challenging because I think the idea of owning it makes us feel powerless.
For the feedback I got this week both in my session and from people who had listened to the podcast was two main pushbacks. One of them was “I feel selfish if I do this” and the other one was “I don’t want to get stuck in whatever it is I’m owning.” I want to talk about the selfish piece first because I think that is a huge message that a lot of women have. That if I own whatever it is I’m feeling and I’m not happy 100% of the time. Or I’m not on it 100% of the time, or I’m not doing for others 100%. If I admit that I need help, or I admit that I’m sad, or I admit that I’m tired, then I’m selfish.
I wanted to go to Google to dictionary.com to say the definition of selfish, and selfish means devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s interests, benefits, welfare, et cetera, regardless of others.
The idea that you are selfish, if you wake up in the morning and say to yourself, “I’m tired, and I need to get a nap in at some point, a 20-minute nap, two-hour nap. I don’t care. I got to get a nap in or the very least I got to go to bed early tonight because I’m too tired and I can’t keep doing this.” Nowhere in that, you being tired and trying to decide how you’re going to fit in a little extra sleep does that make you devoted to or caring only for yourself regardless of others. That makes you tired. That’s all. But, we have piled on all this meaning to if I’m sad or if I’m not 100% of what everyone else thinks I should be, then I’m selfish.
99% of the people that are listening to this podcast, you could be more selfish. You are without self. Meaning you are devoted to others beyond what you are devoted to yourself tenfold. If there is one way to decrease overwhelm and to decrease stress and anxiety, it is to take back a little bit of that devotion that you’re putting on others back to yourself.
It’s recognizing, wow, when I own something and I admit that I’m tired, or I’m not feeling it, or I’m stressed today, that the minute you do that, the monger is going to come rushing in that’s going to tell you you’re selfish. And that is when your biggest fan needs to chime up and say, “No, no, no. I am not devoted to myself over something else. This is not me saying that my way is the best. This is me saying ‘You know what? Right now I’m tired.'” That’s all it’s saying.
We put all of this stuff on top of it, but all we’re saying is I’m not feeling it 100%, and that’s okay. Pay attention to how often that “selfish” word comes in and put that definition on a sticky note on your mirror to remind you of what selfish is and how far you are from being selfish.
The next one that I got a lot was feeling stuck. I don’t want to feel stuck, so if I do this owning it thing that you speak of, I’m going to stuck in this sadness. I’m going to get stuck in this stress. I’m going to stuck. I need to figure a way out of this, not be owning it.
There are two things I want to say to that. One is the owning it piece is so small. I’m not saying you need to own it for days on end or own it even for an hour, but you at least need to acknowledge that it’s happening, so it’s at least saying, “You know what? I’m tired.” We spend all day pretending that we’re not tired. We drink a ton of caffeine. We jump from thing to thing to thing. We immediately get up and get on social media to help ourselves up. We do all these things to artificially pretend that we’re not tired. Instead of owning, “You know what? I’m tired.”
When we can own that we’re tired, then we can do something about that. Then we can take action. When we own that we’re tired, we can then decide: Do I want to take a nap? Do I want to have more coffee? What do I want to do? Tired is an easy example.
One of the more challenging ones, the ones that we get afraid of getting stuck in is sadness, or anger, or depression. If I own that I’m sad, I’m going to get stuck there, and you’re not. You’re not going to get stuck there. You might be there longer than you want to be, but you’re not going to get stuck there. If you are practicing the ideas of owning it, and awareness, and acknowledgment, then you’ll constantly be checking in with yourself to see where you are in trying to move past it, or through it, or around it, whatever.
Let’s say you wake up one morning and you’re feeling sad, and you don’t know why it’s unexplainable. Unexplainable sadness is the worst because there’s no logical reason and we love logical reasons. You’re unexplainably sad, and so if you follow this happiness hack, you’re like, “OK. I’m going to own it. I’m going to own that I’m sad.” Owning it. I’m sad. I feel sad today.
Okay. What do you do with that? Well, first of, you just feel sad. That’s it. You go through your day. You get the kids breakfast. You go to work. You drink your coffee. You have your breakfast. You do whatever it is you’re going to do, and you just have this little piece of sadness in the back of your brain. Maybe you cry after you drop the kids off at school between school and work, or maybe you listen to a sad song, or maybe you call a friend, and you say, “Gosh, I’m just sad, and I don’t know why.” Maybe you do some journaling, and you just own it that you’re sad. That’s it. That’s all I’m saying. It’s just owning it. It’s just acknowledging that the sadness is there.
But what happens when we don’t own it is we wake up, and we feel sad, and we immediately say to ourselves, “You shouldn’t feel sad. There’s nothing to feel sad about. Stop feeling sad.” And so, we pour on more coffee. We rush the kids out the house. We jam the music the whole way there. We rush to school. We rush to work. We pour ourselves into work, and we’re busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, overwhelmed, overwhelmed, overwhelmed, overwhelmed. The sadness is still there, but we’re pretending it’s not because we don’t want to feel that because we shouldn’t be feeling that. It doesn’t make any sense to feel that. That’s a silly thing to feel.
We rush through our day piling all this stuff on and the sadness is still there, unacknowledged. It’s still there. We get to work, and it might dissipate because we have stuff happening or whatever, and we lose track of it. But, by the time we get home, we are so stressed and so overwhelmed because we’ve been running so hard from that sadness that we are grouchy with the kids. We snap at our husband. We lose it. That is why it’s so important to acknowledge it way back at the beginning. That acknowledgment piece that happened at the very point when you woke up eliminates all that drama and that conflict that happens when we ignore what we’re feeling. When we pretend it isn’t there, when our inner critic takes over and tells us that we’re stupid, or idiots, or wasting our time by feeling something.
It’s okay to feel the sadness. We don’t have to get stuck there. We don’t have to call all of our friends and tell them how sad we are, that it’s a terrible day and drama, drama, drama. No, we just have to own that it’s there and move on. Those were the two pushbacks I got: selfish and am I going to get stuck in it? You’re not going to get stuck in it if you acknowledge it and then just take a small action to express it: journaling, talking to a friend, listening to some music, dancing, working out, something that brings it to light. If you’re angry about something, figure out do I need to have a conversation with someone? Is there someone that I need to forgive? Is there something that needs to happen here that will release the anger? The idea of exploring it a little bit more.
I think the myth that we can control our feelings by thinking our way out of them is not valid. Our feelings are there. We can choose to get stuck in them. We can choose to ignore them, or we can choose to let them flow.
It’s the idea that our feelings are like the ball that bounces on top of the water, and it just bounces there all day long different feelings. We just need to own that they’re happening rather than continually try to force them down under water. This is the idea the more pressure I put on the ball to force it under the water, the more the feelings will bounce back, and we’ve wasted all of our energy keeping that sadness at bay rather than letting it bounce along the water as we go through our day. Or, we try to cheer ourselves up and get rid of the ball. Move the ball away. Move the ball away. No, the ball is part of life. We just need to learn how to own it and acknowledge it, and move forward.
Those were the two things, getting stuck, feeling selfish, that I want to address on owning it. If you have other feedback or other pushback on this concept, please send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to engage in a conversation with you about it because I think it’s a fascinating topic and it’s a great to hear the challenges and the issues and figure out new ways around them.
Weekly Ritual Segment:
One thing that has really helped me Live Happier is adding regular ritual practices to my daily life so each week I am going to be sharing a ritual with you and challenge you to complete it
Smiling can fire up the ‘happiness centers’ in your brain. It is also a great way to move you out of your mind and into your body because it naturally changes your perspective. Not to mention that it makes other people feel awesome too! So this week, when you are feeling stressed take a second and smile.
Check out my Instagram where I share my daily check in with the weekly ritual practice. It is a helpful way for both of us to stay accountable to the practice.
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