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The point when I truly started Living Happier and building anxiety resilience was when I started taking control of my life. As with most of the motivational sayings in life, “Stop Living Your Life for Everyone Else” is easy to say. But what does it mean? What does it really look like to run your life?
Here are some of my thoughts.
You are the captain of your own life.
Yes you have responsibilities, people who count on you, etc. But you decide how you react, what thoughts you choose and what action you take next. Stuck in a dead end job, but need the money? You might not have a choice about the job right now…but you can always start making an exit plan. You can always start adding activities and people to your life that you love. You are in control of your life.
The downside of being in control of your life is there is no one else to blame. The buck stops with you. So as the captain if you are feeling disenfranchised, disheartened or discouraged…you have to make choices to make it better. Similarly, if you are the captain, you are responsible for the joy and happiness in your life and the big and little ‘wins’.
You can stop chasing the carrot
The common belief is:
- I get the promotion, then I will be happy.
- I retire, then I will be happy.
- I find my passion then I will be happy.
- my kids graduate then I will be happy.
- I fix my partner then I will be happy.
There are 2 issues with endless carrot chasing.
One: the carrot, whatever it is will never make you less anxious. It will never make you relaxed or less stressed. Because the carrot keeps moving. The carrot, offers a convenient excuse for why we aren’t happier now. The logic goes, if I can’t be happy until I retire than I won’t be happy until then. It is an easy out to why I am not happy now. Inevitably what happiness is you achieve the carrot and you still aren’t happy. You are still anxious, stressed and exhausted. Because the key to being happier and living with less anxiety is to recognize that while it is wonderful to plan for the future, this moment, right now is all you have.
Two: The carrot might not be YOUR big dream. The carrot probably belongs to someone else. When you quest for something you have to be clear that it is what you want, it is your goal. And most times when the future goal aligns with your higher purpose you won’t have the belief that ‘once i get it I will be happier’ because half the fun is engaging in the quest. Whenever you find yourself saying ‘when I ___ then I will be ____’ ask yourself where is that belief coming from and is it really true?
You can stop going to committee
When you are stuck always trying to do what everyone else wants you to do you always have to go to committee to check in. Your committee can consist of friends, family, bosses, co-workers, mentors etc. Support people are amazing! There is no way you could live a life without support people. But a committee is a different beast. When you go to committee you are looking to them for the answer. When you go to your support people you are looking for support of your own wisdom.
So let’s say you have to make a decision about a new job at work:
Committee: You don’t pause to ask yourself. You don’t get quiet and curious. You run around asking your committee what to do. Your committee members give you feedback and you take the opinion of the majority or whoever you respect the most.
Support People: You take the time to pause and question and you come up with what you think will be the best choice for you. You decide if you want to take the job or not and you ask your support people for their thoughts or ideas. Then you DISCERN for yourself what is best.
The anxiety that comes from needing to poll everyone and constantly look outwards is 10 fold that of quietly looking inwards.
Being in control of your own life might appear scarier and more risky. But there is nothing as amazing as waking up each day knowing you have the choice in your own life.
I would love to hear from you in the comments: Do you agree? How does it feel when you stop living for other people’s expectations? Where do you get stuck in the belief ‘they’ know better?
Join me for more discussion and insight into this topic at the Live Happier Wine Night this Thursday from 7-9pm Grab a friend and your favorite adult beverage and join us. Register here.