Our Monger (that nasty inner voice) keeps us stuck in myths that make us feel more stressed and overwhelmed. Today I am unraveling 2 more of those myths: The Myth that THEY have it figured out The Myth that there is a Right Way
Hi, and welcome. You are listening to the Happiness Hacks podcast, and I am 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. This is episode 63, Even More, Myths of the Monger.
I’m very excited this week to be back talking about More Myths of the Monger. A couple of weeks ago, I started out talking about the biggest myth of the monger, and that is that we need the monger. And then two weeks ago, in episode 61, I talked about, started out the myths of the monger, and I talked about that there is the myth of the finish line and the myth of being vigilant and worrying. This week, we’re going to be talking about two myths, and that is the myth that they have it figured out and the myth that there is a right way.
I briefly wanna touch on, for those of you that don’t know and haven’t listened to my stuff, what it is, when I say monger, what I’m talking about. A monger is that nasty voice in your head that kind of tells you how you failed, how you didn’t hit the mark, how you weren’t quite up to snuff, how you shouldn’t risk anything or get out of your comfort zone. It’s kind of that voice that constantly keeps us in check and constantly is there. My theory and I found it in my life and my client’s life, that the more we keep our mongers unchecked, the more it doubles and triples and quadruples our stress loads. We’re already stressed out, and then we have this voice in our heads telling us how much we failed and how terrible we are and it isn’t helping things.
The insidiousness of the monger is that it keeps us stuck in these myths. These myths kind of keep it going, keep it alive, and we spend a lot of time trying to fulfill the myth that the monger is telling us. This week, the two myths are the myth that they have it figured out and the myth that there is a right way. Let’s go into the myth that they have it figured out first. This one has just gotten tenfold with social media. We live in a world where everyone else’s beautiful, manicured outsides are there for us to observe. People can curate photos and have them looked at through Facebook or Instagram, and then we immediately think, “Oh my gosh. They have it so together. Their life is perfect. I am a failure.”
My favorite saying is, “Stop comparing your insides to other people’s outsides.” We see these beautiful photos, these beautiful images that people are putting out into the world and we assume that’s how they live their lives ’cause we see our insides and we just naturally assume that they are better than us. The idea that everyone else has it figured out is such an incredible, incredible myth because no one has it figured out. No one has it together. When you look at those Instagram posts, they probably took 7, 8 to 10 pictures to get it to look that beautiful.
They’re not sending you pictures of their kids yelling at them and their husband coming home and the craziness of cooking dinner, they’re sending you date night photos, or they’re showing you what it’s like to go on the family vacation. It’s little tidbits of people’s life. It is not the ultimate. And so to watch how often you compare your insides to other people’s outsides, because it leaves us feeling lost and sad and that we can’t measure up. When in reality, what we’re measuring ourselves against is not actually reality.
One of my favorite examples of this is my cousin. In the first year of her daughter’s life, she was doing the monthly photos, like, “Here’s three months. Here’s four months.” I don’t remember what month it was, it might have been five months, and she shows a picture of my second cousin with her little five-month plaque, and there’s my second cousin looking so gorgeous and beautiful and calm. She takes that photo and then she takes the photo of what’s happening in the house. And there, her son is jumping on her partner, and they’re wrestling, and the house is a mess, and all this craziness is happening. I was like, “Yes that it was life is really like.” Here’s the perfectly curated photo of the four-month-old, and here’s what’s happening in our lives.
The mongers keep us from authenticity, and authenticity is where happiness lives. The more we can live authentically, the happier we’re gonna be. So I’m encouraging you to pay attention to how often you get stuck in that myth of, oh my gosh, they have it figured out. They know what they’re doing. They, they, they, they, they. They don’t have it anymore figured out than you do. So the wonderful analogy of staying in your car, being responsible for your stuff, and figuring out what’s going on in your life instead of worrying about them, because that keeps us stuck in time wasting and anxiety and all that stuff that is not helpful to us.
Okay. The second myth that I wanted to talk about is one of my personal favorites. I’ve talked about it a lot. I might have even have done another podcast on it, but the idea that there is a right way. Our mongers love that there is a right way. They send us on this wild goose chase, trying to find the right way. When you think about it, it’s just so absurd, the idea that there is a right way. For me, this is one of my triggers, like I can get obsessed with trying to find the right way. What I mean by that is there a right way to drive. There’s a right way to make the bed. There’s a right way to do laundry. There’s a right way to cook a meal. There’s the right way to be a mom. There’s the right way to run a meeting. We have a million of them.
To pay attention to how often you get stuck in, “There’s a right way,” and I literally will have to say to myself, when I’m going to the grocery store, “There is no right way to do this.” Or when I get in the car to drive home, and I’m trying to find the best route to avoid traffic, to remind myself, “There is no right way.” There’s no perfect way to get home. You will not get an award at the end of the time. When you pull into your garage, there isn’t a little man standing there saying, “Yay, you did it the right way.” That doesn’t exist. So to pay attention to how often you get stuck in that idea of the right way, the right way, it gets insidious when you start paying attention to it.
I remember when I started noticing this in my life. My husband would point out to me every time I was triggered with the right way. I mean, I would get upset about not doing the right way to make a sandwich, like it had to be the most efficient way and it had to be the most together way. It kept me stuck in my anxiety and my worry. As I’ve talked about before, that monger keeps us stuck in the black-and-white thinking. There’s a right way, and there’s a wrong way, and it doesn’t allow us any wiggle room so being able to expand beyond that wiggle room and be like, “Oh my gosh, there are a lot of ways to do it.”
That’s what’s so insidious about this monger thing if you could see me, I’m like shaking my head in madness, is that it keeps us stuck in the right way and the right way changes for each person. I may have, “This is the right way to make a bed,” and you may have a “This is the right way to make the bed,” and both of them are completely different. We get so stuck in this absurd, undefined right and we spend our lives hunting it down when it doesn’t exist. That’s the thing about all these myths have in common, the end game never exists. We never get there. We never measure up to them and what they are doing. We never find the right way and get the reward. We always are struggling to get there. That is the ultimate part about mongers and why it is so important that we work on them because they keep us stuck in these loops. We get stuck on the treadmill, and we can’t get off, so bringing awareness to our mongers and the myths that they’re keeping us stuck in is powerful.
One thing that has 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.
Our Mongers keep us stuck in limited thinking where we don’t see a lot of options. So this week we are going to try to play with our peripheral vision to help our minds expand and see other options.
Extend your arms to your side in a T-formation and wiggle your fingers. Then slowly bring your arms forward until the fingers are in sight, and then extend them out again.
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 for another Happiness Hacks podcast, and I hope to see you then If you have questions or thoughts or anything, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can follow me on Instagram, @nancyjane_livehappier. Until next time here’s to living happier.
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