For a better life, Inspiration

Are you a people-pleaser?

People pleasing is something that many of us struggle with. And so many of us don’t even realize that it is a bad thing.

People pleasers want everyone to be happy. They often think that if they can make other people happy, then others will like them. They bend over backward to do what everyone else wants them to do (or really what they think everyone else wants them to do), even if it means sacrificing their own desires.

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So what is wrong with this?

  1. You can’t make everyone happy. It just isn’t possible 99.9999 percent of the time.
  2. You are often lying to please everyone else. What do I mean? When you agree to do something that you don’t actually want to do just to make someone else happy, you are essentially lying to them. “I’d love to make cupcakes for the class party!” And then later you are resentful and angry because you “have to make cupcakes.”
  3. Other people can’t tell what you want unless you speak your truth. They will continue to take advantage of you because that’s what you are teaching them to do with your willingness to do what they want. In the meantime you might be a seething, resentful, passive-aggressive person toward them.
  4. The praise you get when you have pleased someone else boosts your self-esteem. Essentially you are giving other people the power to make you feel good. Which also means you give them the power to make you feel bad if they don’t respond in the way you hope. Who wants to give someone else that much power over their feelings?
  5. You are never happy. You are so busy making everyone else happy that you lose sight of what truly makes YOU happy. It often comes to a screeching halt when you’ve had enough, but then there is only yourself to blame for allowing it to go too far.

So…. are you a people pleaser? And how do you quit? What’s the difference between people-pleasing and just being kind? I’ll talk about people pleasing more next time. Stay tuned!

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For a better life, Inspiration

Control is just a feeling

I’ve come to the conclusion that we would all live much happier, more fulfilled lives if we let go of control.

Let it go, let it go….

Because what really can we control in this life?

We can only control ourselves: what we say, what we do, what we feel (maybe) and sometimes what we think.

We can’t completely control the circumstance we are in.

We can’t control what other people think.

We can’t control what other people feel.

We can’t control the weather.

There is so much that is outside of our control, and very little that is within it.

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When we start working with the control we do have and let go of the control we don’t have, we become happier people.

I have a teenaged daughter. Boy would I love to be able to control her sometimes. And sometimes I feel like she has control of me. When I recognize that she is her own person and I have very little control over her, I am happier with my relationship with her. When she makes a poor choice, I can be sad or disappointed but I don’t have to let it completely hijack my emotional life. I can show up as the person I want to be and let her be the one she wants to be. Sure, it might not turn out how I envisioned it, but perhaps it’ll be even better.

When we release control, we can relax and not feel pressure to make “it” right. Then we can enjoy life more, despite it’s difficulties.

It what ways do you like to control your life? Can you practice letting it go? Remember, control is just a feeling. 

Inspiration

The Model

Circumstances trigger a thought in your brain. Thoughts cause a feeling to arise. You will act based on how you feel, and your actions will determine the results in your life. This is what we call “The Model.”

I learned The Model from Jody Moore’s podcast Better Than Happy (which used to be Bold New Mom), who learned it from Brooke Castillo. Brooke Castillo also has a podcast, which I listen to every episode. Brooke’s podcast is called The Life Coach School podcast. Brooke Castillo developed The Model, based on her experience with self-help books and study. So clearly, I recommend these two resources. All credit goes to these amazing ladies, I just want to be clear on that.

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The Model has helped me tremendously in my life. Just understanding that circumstance–>thought–> feeling–> action–> result, helps me identify where I am going “wrong.” Understanding that I have the power to actively choose my thoughts makes me really aware of what I am thinking so that I can get the result in my life that I want! It is also so powerful that I can choose a desired result and work backward to figure out what thought I need to have to get that result.

Again, it seems so simple, which makes it also seem easy. But simple does not always equate to easy. It’s a lot of work, but I wish more people would do that work! I think they would be much more content with their lives.

I hope you will give The Model a chance and that it works for you as much as it works for me!

Tell me if you have any questions; I would love to help you out!

Inspiration

Personal Happiness Hack #2

You can only control yourself.

You can’t control your kids, or your spouse, or your co-workers, or boss, or that annoying neighbor. Ultimately, they can do what they want. There may be consequences to their actions, but they get to choose the actions.

You get to control your actions. In one way, not being able to control anyone but yourself can seem limiting. But if you think about it, it’s actually quite freeing. You can’t control anyone except yourself, so why even spend energy trying? Do what you do. Focus on you. Be the best version of yourself. Always look for ways to be better.

This is not selfish. This is simply preservation of energy, a way to focus on what is important in your life. Doing what you do and focusing on yourself can mean figuring out your meaning and purpose in life and then doing it, actually following through. That could be a very unselfish thing. All I am saying is to not spend time worrying or stressing about what everyone else around you is doing or not doing when you have no control over them.

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If you want something– go make it happen. Don’t wait for someone else to give it to you. Don’t relinquish your control to someone else. Use what you can control to your advantage.

Your life can be much happier if you can truly understand and internalize this idea. And you know what else? The people around you will probably be happier too, which might make you even happier!

 

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What situation or person in your life have you decided to stop wasting energy trying to control?

Baby-making years, Background, Germany, Homeschooling years

In Retrospect

My husband says I am never happy. Of course that’s not entirely true, but what he really means is that I am never content. I am always looking to the next thing. After we were married and still newlyweds, I really wanted a baby. Even though we were young and both finishing college, it seemed like the thing that would make my life perfect. Later, when our beautiful little girl came along, the transition to full-time motherhood was really hard. I had spent my entire life getting good grades and proving myself to others through academic performance and all of a sudden there was no one giving me that A+. That combined with my ingrained desire to be The Best was the perfect storm for a huge hit to my self-esteem. Looking back, I think that was the beginning of me feeling really lost in my life.

Of course raising a baby keeps you pretty busy, so I didn’t really think about it all that much. It’s only now in retrospect that I can see what was happening. And I do think I was a pretty good mom, but one with really low self-esteem. The things of life took over: we bought and sold a house, we moved states, bought another house, had another baby, and then a third right on the heels of the second. Those years are still a blur in my mind. My second and third children are only 21 months apart and there are days (or weeks?) that I just don’t remember at all. The status of BUSY kept me from figuring out why I didn’t ever feel content.

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When that third baby came along, my oldest was starting kindergarten and there is a huge learning curve in that whole rigamarole. When she went to first grade, it all just felt wrong. I loved the preschool years, but sending my kid off to school for 7 hours a day only for her to return home hungry, tired and grumpy left a bad taste in my mouth. So, for that reason and many others, I started down the path of homeschooling my kids.

This seemed to be an almost-thriving part of my life. I had always pretended to be a teacher as a kid, and it just came naturally to me. It was still really difficult, especially with a preschooler and a baby underfoot as well as a second grader. But I liked it! It gave me a sense of doing good and spending my time well the way nothing else since becoming a mom had.

Five years of that went by and suddenly our family was faced with an opportunity to move to Germany temporarily. What homeschooling family doesn’t take advantage of that? “It’ll be a grand adventure! We can learn another language! What a great bonding time!” we said. The pickle was that homeschooling is illegal in Germany. We are not a military family so if we took that plunge, it would shift our lifestyle tremendously. “But it is only temporary, two years max.”

And here we are, seven months into our stint in Germany. The kids, especially the oldest who was more than ready to dive back into public school already, are doing well and love their school. It keeps them busy.

But me? Well, not so much.  I get up with the kids and get them off to school, making them breakfast and lunches before they stampede out the door at 7:15 am. While my husband goes off to work all day supporting teams both here in Germany and in the U.S. eight time zones away, I am home.

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Because I am not accountable to anyone for how I spend my time, I have gotten really lazy. This makes me feel very guilty. I have a hard time not being productive with every minute of my time. And since the dust has settled on our international move, the silence of my days has been very loud. I am not busy. I don’t have friends or extended family vying for my time. We rent a house so we are not responsible for home improvement projects. I am involved in some church responsibilities, but it doesn’t take much of my time. I don’t work because I don’t speak the language. I actually thought I would spend this time getting some years-in-the-making projects done, but I don’t work on them.

Why not? I am living someone else’s dream life– seems like I should be able to write a novel or something. But instead I sleep a lot and pretty much just figure out what is for dinner and make sure all the dishes and laundry are getting done. I don’t even watch TV or movies; they make me feel like I am wasting my time- oh the irony! And I just feel…. lost. It’s like all the silence has made me realize that my soul hungers for something more. I am missing the passion and purpose in my life.

I have wondered if I am suffering from depression. It is a thought that has come up in my mind regularly over the years. I have lost my ability to feel happy for more than a fleeting moment. I am often angry. I remind myself of my mother and in many ways that scares me. I have no doubt that she was depressed.

I don’t want mental health issues to be a part of my story, but sometimes we don’t get a say in how the story of our lives unfold. And sometimes the protagonist in the story only has their own demons to overcome. I am certain there will be a time when this chapter is  behind me. Today I am trying to make it so.