A Simple Way to Remind Yourself It’s Okay

HeartDo you ever wake up thinking it’s going to be a good day and quickly realizing you’d rather be anywhere — anywhere — else, doing anything else, being anyone else … than where you are, what you’re doing, who you are? Like, you thought you’d just get some work done then take a nice walk … and instead you’re scraping soggy vegetables out of the bottom of the dishwasher and on hold for two hours with the insurance company, dreaming about mainlining a stiff cocktail?

No. Me neither. That’s why I’ve started using HiFutureSelf, an awesome app that helps me out of my funks and keeps me in the present.

Deep thought coming here, people: life isn’t always easy. It could be the baby. It could be the man we love, or the woman. It could be our home, our work, our friends, our hormones. We respond to these periodic feelings of irritation/anger/sadness/totaleverlastingdespair in various ways, sometimes with determination, sometimes with tears. (Sometimes with that cocktail.)

Recently I’ve come to recognize that something I’ve relied upon for a long time, willpower, won’t always save me. It isn’t always enough to just tell yourself, Buck up! The reasons for this are good: if you are already stressed and tired, you’re low on the very substance — glucose — upon which willpower relies. My hubby and I like to tease each other about our glucose levels, but the fact remains that when you don’t got it, you don’t got it.

So what’s the answer? If you can’t cheer yourself up, and there’s no one else around to do it, what should you do?

Well, sometimes nothing works. But sometimes a relatively tiny boost will really do the trick. The app really helps, actually. I can send myself positive affirmations for the future, and strategically schedule them for times I know I’ll be a little bummed out, or even times I’m happy. For instance, I just scheduled a text to arrive a week after I move this month, asking “Do you love it as much as you thought you would??” I know receiving that text — probably out of the blue, as far as my no-brained future self is concerned — is going to make me think about how much I longed to be done, set up, decorated, and how grateful I am to be in a new, bigger, better home. I also scheduled a text for Monday, when my daughter is home with me, at noon. This is when she melts down completely and I start to have second thoughts about the whole idea of parenthood. The text?

“You had her on purpose.”

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I’m Still Married Because I Admit When It Sucks

HWClub_BlogButnA_400x100This post is part of the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with hundreds of inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! 

That’s right. You heard me. I’m still married because when it sucks, I call it for what it is:

Pure, unadulterated suckiness.

People are often impressed to hear that I’ve been with my husband for 10 years, since I was 19. That doesn’t happen as often as it used to, and a lot of my friends are still searching for the perfect someone. So I’m proud to call this marriage my own. But, then, being with one person can be trying. It has its ups and downs, highs and lows, peaks and valleys. If you will.

Most of the time, of course, I’m very, very, very happy with my husband. Deliriously happy. Crazy happy. He is a dream I’ve achieved, and that’s a good feeling.

But I’ve been with him for a long time, and things start to add up, so all told a lot of that time has been sucky. Not actively sucky, necessarily. Maybe sometimes a little sad, sometimes a little boring, sometimes a little more compromise-y than I’d like. Sometimes terrible, too.

And when that happens, I try not to hide from it. I don’t tell myself it’s a phase, because it isn’t. I don’t pretend not be be angry (though I bet he wishes I would).

It sounds strange to say this is a secret of marriage, admitting when things are really, really lame, but it is. Danielle LaPorte said it better than I ever could when she wrote that there is euphoria in admitting what sucks. What isn’t working.

“Don’t worry about how you’re going to fix what’s broke,” she writes. “Just notice what sucks with ruthless honesty.”

And that’s great advice. In her view, this often leads to breakthroughs where people realize, Oh my goodness, this life is totally wrong for me. I don’t want to be in this business. I don’t need a storefront to sell my merchandise, I don’t want to hate Sunday nights any longer.

“Quitting is a form of enlightenment, I tell ya.” To me, this doesn’t mean quitting my marriage, but rather quitting what breaks it. Quitting bad behaviors. Quitting my tendency to pretend things are alright when they aren’t, or that I’m behaving well when I’m not. Either way, I call it when it sucks. That way I avoid the pitfall of, as Danielle says, “planting misery seeds today and [expecting] to get a juicy crop next season.”

Because that ain’t never gonna work.

Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club wrote a book about the best marriage secrets the world has to offer. They say the book is like “Eat, Pray, Love meets The 5 Love Languages.” I say the book is inspiring. You can grab a copy HERE.

Tip Day: 5 Reasons To Let Yourself Be Intimidated

Bashful-DogSo much of what we read tells us about how to avoid intimidation, overcome intimidation or meet intimidation head on. Classes about speaking less fearfully, where we’re supposed to imagine the audience naked. Books, articles, blog posts about the psychology of feeling small, feeling big. Empowerment movements. Uplifting weekend retreats. Motivational Jazzercise seminars. Whatever.

And none of these are bad. They’re all great, in fact. But I’ve learned the hard way that avoiding intimidation, trying to step around it or feel bigger than it or say, like a little kid in the dark, “You don’t scare me!” isn’t what makes me be my best self. In fact, when I’m actively feeling intimidated is when I often shine. Not convinced? Consider:

1. Easy Things Don’t Motivate Us

They don’t. If something is simple, we might do it, but it doesn’t make us want to do better, prove anything, overcome, reach for the stars. Easy things feel comfortable, and so they’re reserved for comfortable places, comfortable times. They’re security blankets, and who wants to reinvent the security blanket? NO ONE. Because it’s perfect as it is. But wrapped around you so snuggly and warm, it probably isn’t doing much to amp up your dreams.

2. We Think About Intimidating Things

As a card-carrying insomniac, I can tell you that fear will really, really make you think about things. If you’re intimidated by something, you dwell. You see it from all angles. You think it through. You get to know it subtly, artfully, deliberately, fully … sometimes frighteningly. Feel the intimidation, ask why, probe it, see what makes it go away. But don’t pretend it isn’t there, or “rise above” and just move on.

3. Fear Gives You Options

If you’re afraid, your brain goes into overdrive. This isn’t a manifesto for being afraid all the time, but I have found that when I let myself actually soak in intimidation for a short amount of time — maybe only a few minutes — I often come out knowing more about myself, my options and which of them meet the standards I’ve set for my life.

4. Intimidation Won’t Kill You

Think about it. Intimidation is a leftover biological mechanism from when we can down out of the trees. Lions and jaguars would end your hopes right there, but you know what? Pursuing the perfect souffle won’t. Asking her out won’t. Learning to use Pinterest won’t. So instead of shutting down that fear, allowing it to rule you, or even imagining it naked, thank it. If you’re intimidated, it means something is important to you. We don’t fear what we don’t care about.

5. Feeling Daunted Leads to Courage

It’s true. Donuts don’t lead to courage. Lying in bed doesn’t lead to courage. The easy, the trite, the mundane and the comfortable lead to lots of nice things, but they do not lead to bravery or a willingness to stand up for what’s right, positive or beautiful. Intimidation, on the other hand, instills courage in us when we allow ourselves to feel it and respond by saying, Yes, I’ll do it anyway.

Make Delayed Gratification Your Goal

LollipopI am all about the instant gratification. The sooner, the better. In fact, I often abandon dreams when they take too long to accomplish. I’ve got better things to do! I’m a busy woman!

After years of this kind of thinking, though, I’m starting to wonder … Do I? Am I?

But I’ve started to notice a pattern over the years. Broadly: that my mother was right. More narrowly: that anything worth having is worth waiting for. In fact, I’ve begun to notice that the things I wait for are much, much better than the things I get instantly. A quick comparison.

Things I’ve Waited For:

* Degrees

* Marriage

* Children

Things I’ve Received Instantly:

* Donuts

* Clothes

* Many types of regret

Therefore I’m aiming for a major attitude shift. Any time something is taking a long time to come to fruition or I want right away what I could very reasonably wait for, I try to remind myself: This is what I want. This is my goal. I want to wait for this. I am suspicious of easy things. These types of reminder help me to plug away at the daily grind, to keep going after my dreams, to get going when the going gets tough. This isn’t only a trick of work and career, of course. It’s an important strategy for many types of self-improvement: impulse control, money management, healthy eating. There isn’t much in this world I have to have right away, especially when I keep telling myself how fun it is to wait, how nice it is to anticipate, how much better things will be later.

And you know what? It’s starting to work.