You don't have to live stressed out and exhausted.
Our Monger (that nasty inner voice) keeps us stuck in myths that make us feel more stressed and overwhelmed.
Today I am unraveling some more of those myths.
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Hi, and welcome. You are listening to the Happiness Hacks podcast, and I’m your host Nancy Jane Smith. I’m a licensed professional counselor, and in this podcast, I share my stories, lessons, and hacks I’ve learned, and I continue to learn on my quest to live happier. The show notes and a complete transcript can be found at live-happier.com\podcast. This is episode 61 called, “More Myths of the Monger.”
Hey, everyone. I am back. I apologize. I kind of just fell off the face of the earth. I realize I didn’t let you all know that I was taking July off from podcasting, and so, I took July off. And here I am back on a Monday, recording a new podcast. So, what I’ve been doing in my time off is I’ve been writing a book. Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe it. There is a big difference between writing a blog and writing a book. So, it has been a major undertaking, but I’m making big headway.
I’m excited about the topic, which is more about mongers and biggest fan, and how we can stop hustling so much and still be happier, because I think a lot of us are struggling with that concept that we have to be hustling, hustling, hustling, to be happier. And I have found in my life and in working with my clients that that is not the case. So, one of the chapters of my book, I talk about the myths of the monger, and how the monger keeps us stuck intentionally.
In the last episode, back in June, I talked about the main myth of the monger, which is that you need the monger. So, I’m going to continue that. That’s why this episode is called, “More Myths of the Monger.” So, I’m going to continue that and talk about what you can do to be aware of those myths and work against them. So, this week, I’m going to talk about two main mongers, and then next week, I’ll pick up and talk about a couple more.
But the biggest myth that the monger keeps us stuck in is the actual idea of the myth of the finish line. The idea that at some point, we will be done. At some point, we will be happier. At some point, we will have checked everything off the list, and we will have arrived at this amazing place, and we can stop. We can stop working; we can stop hustling, we can stop pushing so hard. Once we get to that magical place, then everything will be okay.
And that is a dangerous myth because there is no place. There is no end. The end is when we die. That’s the bluntness. There is no magical place where we can sustain happiness, and it sticks around forever, and we never experience pain again. That place does not exist, and so the myth is that if we keep pushing we can find that we’re more worthy, if we’re better people, if we are perfectionists, if we do it right, then we’ll get to that magical place.
So, the key is to keep reminding yourself when you hear that and you find yourself hustling, hustling, hustling, for that magical place, to lovingly remind yourself this is it. There is no place. So, right now, today, that’s what we have. So, today, I can be hustling, hustling, hustling. I got up early to do this podcast because I promised myself I would start back up. And here I am between clients. I have to run to the grocery store. We have family coming to town. There’s a lot of stuff on the list today. It’s also a beautiful day. I’m sitting here with my cat.
There are pluses and minuses to everything. The day is the day. So, the idea that if I do today perfectly, then I can end the day feeling better, is a myth because I’ve missed the whole day trying to do it perfectly. So really be aware of how often your monger convinces you in little ways in how you do the day, too big ways in how you do your life. So the myth shows up a lot. The myth of the finish line. Once I arrive, wherever that may be, then I’m going to be happier, and you’re not. You have to make a choice every day to show up and embrace the mess that is our lives. And in that mess, there are positives and negatives and in-betweens, and we need to learn how to just live there instead of constantly be striving for what’s next.
So, that’s the first myth I want to talk about, the myth of the finish line. The second myth is a really strong one for those of us that struggle with anxiety, and I am one of them, and that is the myth of worry and vigilance. So, the mongers keep us stuck in these myths to keep us trapped and safe. The theory is that the monger wants to keep us safe, and so to keep us safe, we really can’t do much of anything because anything outside of the normal zone is unsafe, and therefore scary, and something bad might happen to us.
So, in the idea, the monger is kind of like an abusive parent that wants us to be trapped in the house all the time. So, it keeps us kidnapped and captured. So, the myth of worry and vigilance is kind of the idea that if we spend all of our time in this worrying place, and if we think, “Oh, if … as long as I’m vigilant and I plan, I can make sure that everything is okay,” we don’t really do a lot. My former therapist used to call it, and I hate this name, but she used to call it mental masturbation.
Because it is, the idea that we get stuck in mental masturbation, so we’re just going off on this worry and this vigilance and trying to make sure all of our ducks in a row and, “What if this happens, and what if that happens?” By doing that, we miss our lives, and so we don’t show up in our lives. And the monger is happy about that because if we don’t show up in our lives, nothing bad can happen to us.
So, the monger keeps us stuck in the idea of worry and vigilance, and worry and vigilance isn’t helping anything. You hear the news that, like for me, example. The family’s coming into town. So, there’s a lot of things that could go wrong with family coming into town. A lot of things could go right with that too, but there are a lot of things that can go wrong. So, I can get caught up in trying to plan out everything and pace everything and make sure everything’s okay, and worry about all the different relationships and all the different dynamics, and try to take control of the whole thing.
But in reality, I have no control. These are all adults. We’re all trying to figure it out. There is no way of making sure everyone is perfect and happy and having a great time. I can only take care of myself, and the things that I can control. And those things are like making sure everyone has food and making sure everyone has a clean place to stay, and making sure that I show up and I’m present, and I’m not overly tired. And if I am tired, I take a break, which I take care of myself.
My brother and I used to spend hours on the phone talking about my dad when he was sick, and what we would do and what would happen and what if this and what if that, and going through various scenarios, and trying to figure out the best way. Because we had so much anxiety, and we were so worried about him. And then he died, and all of that time was wasted trying to figure out what’s best, what’s going to work because we didn’t know. And living in that “I don’t know what’s going to happen” place is really hard. So, we need to take control of that rather than just allowing ourselves to spin off on this mental masturbation piece.
So, I encourage you when you find yourself stuck in this worry and vigilance, to ask yourself, “What can I control here?” I could not control what was happening to my dad, the illness that was happening to him. And I knew the rules of the game. I knew he wanted to stay at home. I knew he didn’t want to leave the house. There were certain things in place that I couldn’t change. So, no matter how many times I talked about it with my brother about moving him into an assisted living or whatever, it was never going to happen because he didn’t want that to happen.
So, you have a friend who’s going in for surgery, and you’re really worried about them, that’s okay, but you can’t go into the operating room and make sure everything’s okay. And the worrying isn’t helping your friend. Showing up, being present, being there for them in the best ways possible, being there for yourself, that’s how you take care of yourself. What changed all this was remembering that the monger just wants me to stay stuck in worry and vigilance.
So, it became … “I’m not going to … ” My stubborn streak kicked in, and I was like, “I’m not going to give this to you, Mr. Monger.” I’m not going to give you my worry and vigilance. I’m not going to give you my time because I have better things to do. So, I’m going to be aware of when I get stuck in spinning out on worry and vigilance, and I’m going to start showing up for my life.”
It’s a choice. It’s a tough choice, and it’s a challenging choice to catch yourself in. So, again, go easy on yourself, because it takes a long time to unhook. I still get stuck in worry and vigilance. It is a genetic thing, and I learned it from my parents as well. So, paying attention to when it’s happening is the first step in letting go of that.
Okay, so those are my two myths that I want you to start paying attention to this week. One is the myth of the finish line, which does not exist, and you have to show up every day. The other is the myth of worry and vigilance, which again is about showing up for your life and, “What can I control, what can I take care of here?” So, as you start paying attention to these myths, you can start unraveling that monger and welcoming in the biggest fan.
Like I said, I’m working on a book. I’m hoping it’s going to come out later this year, early 2018. We’ll see how that goes. Cross our fingers. And all this information will be in there as well. I’m excited about talking more about this and having this be more of a theme as it has been, but taking it to a deeper level, because I think the idea of hustling for our happiness is keeping a lot of us stuck in depression and anxiety. There is no finish line.
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.
Massage Your Hand
This week’s challenge is simply to massage your hand. You can do this one when you’re stuck in a meeting, waiting for a pot to boil, standing in line, or just watching TV. Just take 20 seconds and massage your hand. Massage your hands my gently squeezing one hand with the other between the palm and fingers. Then using your thumb, stroke your palm gently from your fingers to your wrist. You can go up and down your fingers. You can do whatever it is.
Someone commented that they were going to, they … it would easily turn into wringing your hands. So, I want you to be aware of that, back to the theme of worry, that I don’t want you to be wringing your hands. I want you to be lovingly massaging your hands, because the hand [inaudible 00:11:42] massage is one of my favorite parts of a massage. So that’s what inspired me to use it this week to turn it into the weekly ritual challenge.
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.
I’ll be back next week on Monday for another Happiness Hacks podcast, and I hope to see you then If you have questions or thoughts or anything, please email me at email@example.com, or you can follow me on Instagram, @nancyjane_livehappier. Until next time, here’s to living happier.
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