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There are a lot of things in my industry lately that have just been rubbing me the wrong way, and so they’ve been making me feel kind of quiet and small. So instead of continuing on that quiet and small mantra, I wanted to air them and see if you guys agreed with me or felt the same way or were equally annoyed or maybe it’s just me.
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Hey, everyone. I am excited to be back. I initially wanted to say that I’m sorry because I said I was going to be here every week, and that hasn’t been happening lately. And then I remembered something I’d heard from Mel Robbins who wrote the 5 Second Rule, and if you haven’t checked out that book or heard her TED talk or any of her information, I highly recommend it. But she talks about how we need to stop saying we’re sorry so much and we need to say thank you.
So instead of saying I’m sorry, I haven’t been here for the past couple episodes, I’m going to say thank you for continuing to listen even though I haven’t been here as promised every week. So I appreciate that reframe in how to communicate because I think a lot of times we have heard the stop saying you’re sorry, stop saying you’re sorry, but the idea of stop saying you’re sorry and instead of that say thank you was a real aha for me. Because a lot of times we have a hard time changing based on how it affects us, so I know I shouldn’t say I’m sorry because it diminishes my power, blah, blah, blah. But in reality, I think it was more motivational for me to change that habit because when I say I’m sorry, it takes away from the gift I’m giving the other person.
So last week a friend of mine was hosting me at a book party and she had invited me to come over early for lunch. We both got there a little late, and we were both rushing around, and here she had to come up with lunch. My first reaction was to say, “Oh, I’m so sorry that you’re making my lunch. I should have brought my lunch.”
And then instead of saying, “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said, “Thank you so much for making my lunch. This was so nice to be able to have lunch with you.”
In saying thank you, I was able to give my appreciation. She was able to take my appreciation and feel good about herself that we were able to enjoy lunch. And had I said I’m sorry I would have been like, “Oh, I’m sorry that you had to make me lunch,” and then she would have jumped in to try to save me and make me feel better and the whole gratitude piece of I’m really thankful that you’re here and you made me lunch would have been lost in the sorries.
So I like that example. It took it home for me on how powerful this is. So that’s my tidbit. I want you to practice that this week. See if you can make that change and take that pause.
So in that spirit of being transparent on doing it every week, it’s probably not going to happen. So I need to be honest with you all that this podcast is going to be coming out twice a month and I’m going to be doing regular podcasts twice a month. And that is something I can commit to because I really want to get back into writing and doing more blog-type, long-form articles. So I’m going to be doing that and I’m also if you’re not familiar with the website medium.com, I suggest you check that out. I’m going to be over there, but also there are some great writers on that site. So if you are a reader and like blog-type articles, head on over to Medium and check that out because I highly recommend it as a thing that’s kind of cool.
Okay, so today the theme is things that annoy me. It’s an odd theme for me. I don’t like to tap into the things that annoy me. I don’t like to do that, and I’m finding that the reason I don’t like to do that is one of the things that annoy me is the phrase “be positive” and I’ve talked about that here on this podcast before.
There’s a lot of things in my industry lately that have just been rubbing me the wrong way, and so they’ve been making me feel kind of quiet and small. So instead of continuing on that quiet and small mantra, I wanted to air them and see if you guys agreed with me or felt the same way or were equally annoyed or maybe it’s just me. So it’s just throwing them out there and a way of clearing the air for myself and also just to get the feedback from the group to be like hey, yeah, I’m annoyed by this, too, or you’re overly sensitive, which I could own that. All that sort of stuff.
So lately what’s been annoying me, and I wrote down a list of all the things that have been annoying me, and that was cathartic in and of itself. So I’m not going to get to all the things on my list because there are quite a few, but I am going to get to some of the highlights. The main one that has been annoying me, well there are two that are tied for the top, and the first one is “this stuff is simple” and that if only you knew the quick fix and the easy way and the simple methodology, you would be fixed.
That idea I think keeps us stuck, and it keeps our mongers fired up because of Facebook and Instagram and all of those messages, even Medium that I just recommended to you has the “Seven Ways to Feel Happier.” Sometimes those are great and give us some ideas, but other times they just kind of trigger like, “Oh, I’m just supposed to be kind to myself. Poof! It’s so simple.”
And it’s not simple. If you take those articles that say these are the seven ways to be happier and you pick one of those, and you work on it every day for years, you will become closer to mastering it, but you won’t have mastered it. So that idea that we need to constantly be making these quick, easy changes and that there’s something wrong with us if we can’t is keeping us stuck in this anxiety and overwhelm.
You know, so much is coming at us on a day to day basis. I’ve been doing these book talks for my Happier Approach book and just watching these women that are coming that are exhausted and overwhelmed, and so much is coming at them from their kids to Facebook to Instagram to the PTA newsletter to where they need to volunteer to their jobs. I mean, it’s overwhelming hearing their stories. And then on top of that, it’s supposed to be simple for you to make changes in your life. And it’s not. This is very complex stuff.
So I even hesitated when I wrote my book. You know, I have this simple methodology. “It’s just ASK, and you just do these three simple steps, and it’ll be really easy.” And that is not how it works. It takes diligence and time and looking at it in different ways, and there’s complexity to it. So nothing in life is simple. We look at all the world’s problems and all the stuff that’s going on and racism and conflicts overseas and conflicts in our own country and say, “Oh, those would be simple to solve.”
No. They’re very complex because they involve human beings who are thinking and feeling and have stories and all kinds of stuff going on in their psyche. Same is true for the personal development stuff. It is not simple, and we need to stop this myth that it is because we use it to beat ourselves up even more. So that’s the number one.
And number one A, so the close second, is the phrase “change your story,” and that idea is that if I have a story that I’m telling myself over and over again, so a lot of us have money stories. So I’m never going to have enough money for retirement could be a story you’re telling yourself, and it’s a phrase you repeat over and over again. I’m just never going to have enough money for retirement. I’m always going to have to be hustling and working. I’m never going to have enough money.
And so that idea, and if you go to certain life coaches or therapists, even, or read any personal development they’ll say, “Well, change that story. That story isn’t serving you. Move on.” And that sounds great, and at the moment I probably can move past that and be like wait, that’s a story, and I need to move past it.
But I think we need to unpack those stories. Your brain is not a switch you flip. There’s a lot more to it. So where did the idea of I’m never going to have enough money for retirement come from, and what’s underneath that? I don’t deserve money. What are my issues with money? What did I have money growing up? What did that look like?
There’s a lot more to it than just change the story, flip that script, that it’s going to be something else because it’s not that simple. So again, when we can’t change the story, or when that story comes back and we’re like, “No, no, no. Last week I changed that story. Last week I told myself to stop thinking that, so why am I thinking it this week?” ‘Cause you’re human, and that’s what happens.
The overarching theme of my work, of the happier approach of the live happier philosophy, is that we need to figure out how to trust ourselves, and the idea of it’s simple or change your story pulls us out of our trusting of ourselves. It stops us from trusting ourselves because I can’t trust myself if I have these freaky stories I’m telling myself.
So to recognize, know, I do have these stories, and they are a part of me, and I need to figure out how to do the world with this story. How do I do the world thinking I’m not going to have enough for retirement? I’ve got to figure out how that story’s serving me, how that story’s not serving me, and how I can move beyond the story. But it’s not just flipping the switch and changing the story. It’s moving beyond it, and that takes a little unpacking.
So those two go together because they both run in the same vein of oh, it’s simple. Now you’ve heard me talk about to be grateful and think positive, and how those drive me crazy and I think I’ve devoted a whole podcast to those two, so I won’t go into that.
The last one that I want to say is a phrase that I find myself saying a lot, to myself and also to other people, and I even know the damage of the phrase, and it’s the phrase “at least.” It kind of goes with the be grateful and think positive because it’s a way to keep us out of our thoughts is the idea of “at least.”
So I can go to someone, or I’ll say to myself, “Oh, I don’t want to go to work today.” Or, “I don’t want to go to this event tonight,” and it’ll be like, “Well, at least you can drive.” Or, “At least you have a job you can go to.” “At least you get to come home and do nothing for the rest of the weekend.” Or, “At least you have the finances to be able to do this. Quit your complaining. Suck it up, buttercup, let’s keep going.”
So that idea of “at least” keeps us stuck in, again, not trusting ourselves. ‘Cause I have to cut off the rest of the sentence when I’m like, “Well, at least …” It’s like a hard stop, and so it’s telling me that whatever I’m thinking is wrong. Whatever I’m doing is incorrect, instead of saying, “Wow, I don’t want to go to work today, but this and this and this is going to happen at work, and that’s pretty cool.” Or, “I don’t want to go to work today because I’m really scared about this meeting with my boss. Wow, let me look at that. What’s underneath that? What can I do to make that meeting less scary?” Not, “Well, at least you have a job, so don’t even thing about the fact you have this uncomfortable meeting. Just keep plowing through.”
See how the phrase “at least” keeps us from trusting our experience and trusting what’s going on, and I think that is the main reason that the monger takes control is if we don’t trust what we’re feeling, then we can let this voice kind of run the show. And when we start trusting of, “No, wait a minute, I’m scared, and that’s okay,” or, “I don’t want to go to work today, and that’s okay.” That doesn’t mean I’m a miserable person who hates my job. I just would rather stay home on the couch today. It’s raining; it’s gross, I want to stay home. That’s fine. We don’t need to be judging everything all the time.
So that idea of making sure that we’re giving ourselves the full experience of what’s happening and not trapping it with “at least.” And we do it to our friends, too. They’ll come to us with a problem, and in the spirit of trying to make them feel better, we’ll say, “Well, at least your husband loves you.” Or, “At least you have two great kids,” or whatever we’re saying is in a way to be like what you’re feeling isn’t valid because you have this other good stuff. Let’s look over here at the good stuff.
So that’s what we do anytime we’re pulling ourselves out of the process of what we’re experiencing is we’re like, “Look over here. This is going to be great.” And we skip over the stuff that’s uncomfortable, and that gets us into trouble.
So those are some of the things that have been annoying me lately in my industry. I want to be talking more about that stuff because I think it’s a danger in preventing people from really being able to move past some of their patterns. The stuff that I talk about is more complex, and it is heavier and harder and more challenging to do. Absolutely. But it does make real change. It does work, and I think that the “change your story” and “oh, it’s so simple” really keeps us stuck in these ideas that this is easy to do, and it keeps us cut off from ourselves.
The whole point, I think, of personal development and self-help is that if I’m more connected with myself and I can trust my process, I spend less time spinning out on my process and I can better serve the world. And I think that’s the whole point.
When we’re stuck in “it’s simple” and “just flip the script” we get more mired down in our crap. And when we do the work, we can then better serve the world.
So with that, I will step off the soapbox. I appreciated you guys listening. It feels good to kind of share that stuff and I would love to get your comments whether you send me an email, email@example.com, or comment on Facebook or Instagram. I would love to hear from you on your thoughts, or things that have been annoying you, too, in the self-help world would be great to hear from you.
So, that’s the show. Thanks for listening. The Happiness Hacks podcast comes out every other week. Questions? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on Instagram at nancyjane_livehappier. And until next time here’s to living happier.
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