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Breaking the Chains of Victimhood When You’ve Been Abused

Original post from: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/tinybuddha/~3/6bMZxZTNp4g/

“Toxically shamed people tend to become more and more stagnant as life goes on. They live in a guarded, secretive, and defensive way. They try to be more than human (perfect and controlling) or less than human (losing interest in life or stagnated in some addictive behavior).” ~John Bradshaw- Healing the Shame That Binds You

Do you feel like a victim? Are those around you suggesting that you are acting like a victim? Are these same people telling you to get over it and move on? Do these judgments and statements feel harmful or helpful for you? !

Most people making these harmful statements and suggestions do so with very little understanding or experience with being a victim. They have not taken the time to really listen to your story of what has happened in your life. They make their judgments from the place of never being a victim or not being willing to accept that they were.

People with a history of victimization do not need tough love, harsh words, or anyone’s reality check. Those things are most likely part of what happened to them. They need love, support, empathy, and compassion. If you are unable to give these things to them, the best thing you can do for them is to please stay out of it!

With that said, how do we break the chains that our victimization has had us bound in for so long? I know that many of the people I’ve worked with, like me, never totally allowed themselves to be a victim. We have lived our lives from the perspective that our victimization was somehow how our fault. It is this thought process that keeps us stuck.

I was sexually abused at the age of five by my mother. At that age, I didn’t have the cognitive ability to understand that my mother was at fault or that she could ever hurt me. I only had the ability blame myself; I must have done something wrong or been bad.

In order for us to break the chains, we must be willing to give the responsibility, shame, and guilt of what happened to us back to our victimizer. When we hold on to these feelings we are kept in limbo. It keeps us trapped between the pain of our victimization and the feeling that we were responsible for what happened to us. It’s no wonder we feel trapped.

In my case I unconsciously chose to bury the feelings from my abuse as deep and hidden in my psyche as I could. Of course, today I know that they never went anywhere except out of my conscious thoughts. Those feelings continued to work in my life like background programs running on a computer. Not seen, but affecting every area of my life.

“I think the first step is to understand that forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator. Forgiveness liberates the victim. It’s a gift you give yourself.” ~T. D. Jakes

Forgiveness is the last link in our binding chain. But, how do we get there? The most important thing to understand about forgiveness is that it comes at the end of a process. Very often we stay stuck because we misunderstand this process and think that it starts with forgiveness.

That may work for a while, but it’s like cleaning a room by throwing everything in the closet and closing the door. It’s merely an illusion, and a temporary fix at best. Forgiveness is more than a cerebral action. To be complete it must include our soul, heart, emotions, and our physical body.

I know for myself it had to start with the complete acceptance of the fact that I was victimized. No more minimizing what happened or making excuses for my victimizer. No more false macho pride telling me I was a punk to admit I had been taken advantage of and that it hurt.

My start was sitting alone with myself. No music, phone, TV, or reading material. Just me, myself, and I. You would think that this wouldn’t be very difficult. Well, it was for me, and after about ten minutes I thought I was going to rip out of my skin. The difficulty with it was that I was forced out my fantasy world and into reality. I was no longer running, ducking, dodging, or sneaking away from my life.

It was too much for me to handle on my own, so I decided to seek professional help. I found a great therapist who worked with me one on one and in a group setting. I always suggest to people to err on the side of caution and do this work with a professional.

I was stepping into a part of my emotional world that I had spent a great deal of time and energy avoiding at all costs. I knew that the way to forgiveness was through my abuse and its emotions, not over or around it. To do that, I needed an experienced guide.  

In therapy, we talk a lot about recovery by discovery. The peeling back layers of the onion. This describes my journey through my emotional quagmire to a T. As with most things, the first layer was the hardest. That was because my first layer was composed of anger, which has always been the hardest emotion for me.

I had been told all my life that it was not okay for me to be angry. I was too big and I might hurt someone.

When my siblings maliciously teased me and I did not have the words to stop them, my only resolve was to beat them up. In my parent’s eyes, I was then the one acting inappropriately and was punished. By making me the perpetrator in the situation, they basically were shaming my anger.

So a great deal of work was needed for me to be all right with tapping into my anger. Once I became comfortable with feeling angry, the next obstacle was to be able to tap into my anger while working in a session with my therapist and closing the lid on it when I was done.

My anger had been bottled up and pressurized for so long it was like a blast furnace. I had to learn to cap it off so I did not leave with it raging and blast those around me like a flamethrower.

Once that work was done, I learned that the anger was covering my pain. So my process became one of removing layers. Finding and releasing the anger, then feeling and dealing with the pain. Over and over again until I reached its core, which was all pain.

I will always remember spending a whole session with my therapist on the floor sobbing and wailing as my body released waves and waves of pain and hurt.

Then a miracle occurred: I was done. It was over. Not like a faucet was turned off. It was like a vessel becoming empty.

It was shocking and I looked at my therapist expecting her to ask me why I closed down. She looked at me with the most beautiful and empathic look I have ever seen and all she said was “You are done.” Not with all the work that I needed to do but with being a victim of my sexual abuse.

I was now in a place where I could completely forgive my mother with no residual feelings of attachments. I have learned that what works best for me when I have made big shifts like this in my healing is to ground them in a ceremony.

So, I wrote my mother a letter and traveled to where her ashes were cast. I read the letter out loud and then burned it. The last thing I did was to say aloud that I forgave her and have a friend cleanse me with burning sage. I walked away feeling complete and resolved.

Did that mean that I was whole and complete? Of course not; I still had a lot of work to do. But I now knew that I had worked through the biggest and most painful victimization of my life. If I could do that, I could handle and was willing to do any other work needed to be done.

The greatest act of love I have ever given myself was the willingness to do what I needed to do to heal. It no longer feels like work but it is now a blessing I have been given. Every day I pray that all those who need to heal choose to do this work. My hope is that you do!

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About Paul Hellwig

Paul Hellwig is a Certified Spiritual Life Coach who empowers adult children of alcoholic and addicted families to live the life they have always dreamed of. He is an adult child of an alcoholic and a recovering addict with over twenty-seven years clean. He’s dedicated his life to helping others on their spiritual and healing journey. Visit him at  thejourneytohealing.org.

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How to Stop Daydreaming: 2 Small Ways to Start Living the Life You Truly Want

Original post from: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ThePositivityblog-PutSomePersonalDevelopmentAndPositivityIntoYourLife/~3/2OZD6J3VBK4/

“The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult.”
Madame Marie du Deffand

“What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
Earl Nightingale

Maybe the most common issue people have with personal development and making a positive change is that it stays a daydream. That they get excited and inspired.

But then as those positive emotions fade nothing really happens.

Life continues as usual. Your health, finances or your relationship with yourself stays the same.

It’s very frustrating. I know.

I used to read about personal development in pretty much all important areas of life. But it probably took me months or years to get going with making any of those positive changes.

Why?

It was uncomfortable. Making the changes felt so big that is was easier to just kept dreaming about it as frustration built up within.

So what can you do if you get stuck in daydreams? The best solution I’ve found for starting to make your dreams into reality is to go smaller.

Because grand changes and huge ambitions sound so inspiring and motivating. But they’re also scary.

So the most important step to get started and to keep going, especially when you are new to personal development, is to remove as much pressure and expectations as you can.

That’s at least what has worked and still works best for me. And in this article I’ll share how to do that in two simple ways.

1. Go for just taking a small step.

I have mentioned this many times. With good reason. It’s one of the most effective ways to reduce the pressure and the expectations you may put on yourself and to start moving out of standing still or procrastination.

Now, taking just one small step and focusing on that is for instance a great way to become productive at school or at work.

But it can be used in just about any area in life. If you want to become:

Kinder and improve your relationships then just take one small step by giving someone a genuine compliment.
A better listener then have just one conversation today where you focus as much effort as you can on learning more about the person in front of you. And truly be there as best as you can and nowhere else in your mind.
Someone with a less cluttered home then start by taking 5 minutes to unclutter one shelf in your bookcase or a drawer in your desk.

If you like, then tomorrow you can take the same small action and just focus on that.

If you want to take a first step and get started with something then do it today. Someday so easily becomes never or at least a day several months or years into the future. Don’t make that mistake.

And if the first small step you come up with still seems too big to take then think of an even smaller step. Be kind to yourself in this way and make the start as easy on yourself as you can.

2. Go for just taking care of today.

When you feel overwhelmed, tired and just want to quit or relapse into your old and more negative habits then sit down for a minute.

Breathe.

Then narrow your focus greatly. Don’t look forward because then you’ll see all the things you have to do to reach your goal or to create a new habit.

Instead, go smaller and focus on just taking care of today.

Nothing more. Tomorrow will come in time. And then you will take care of that today too.

I highly recommend keeping this narrow focus a daily thing. Sure, you may have to do some planning. Do that early in the week or day. Then shrink your focus again to make your work and life lighter and more effortless.

Focus on just the small steps and on today and soon you will have traveled quite a distance.

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A 7-Step Plan for Finding Love After a Devastating Breakup

Original post from: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/tinybuddha/~3/SfFbHafukIc/

“Resilience in love means finding strength from within that you can share with others.” ~Sheryl Sandberg

It took me a couple months to start repairing my broken heart after the toughest breakup of my life. I thought we were going to spend our lives together, but the gods of love had other plans.

After I’d grieved in healthy (and not-so-healthy ways) I knew I could take two paths: stay stuck in my misery or pick myself up, dust off my sadness, and make a plan to move on.

And now it’s time for you to move on and find love again, too.

I know it’s not easy. For years I believed my ex was “the one” and the thought of finding someone new after our breakup was terrifying.

But I got back on my horse and kept riding. I felt the fear of rejection, putting myself out there again, playing the “dating game,” trusting someone new, and wasting my time with people I didn’t connect with.

But finding love doesn’t have to be complicated and scary if you follow a plan, just like anything else in life.

You want to start your own business, take a vacation, or get out of debt? Make a plan.

You want to find love? You’ve got to make a plan for that, too.

If you don’t have a plan you’ll continue stumbling around in the dark hoping you’ll miraculously find true love. So if you’re struggling to find love and tired of the same old patterns leading you into the arms of the wrong people, then listen up…

Step 1: Let go of your ex.

Have you really let go of your ex and moved on from your breakup?

If you haven’t let go, you’re not going to find love. Period.

On the first date I went on after my breakup I talked about my ex. A lot. I knew I was breaking the sacred rules of first dates, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t about to hide my true feelings. Because the fact was I was still sad about it. It was clear to me that I wasn’t yet over the breakup.

But I also understood that if I had my ex and my breakup on my mind there was never going to be room for new love to enter.

Do you still have negative feelings around your breakup? Are you holding onto anger, shame, or resentment?

If you want to find a new partner and true love, you’ve got to let that stuff go.

Whether you’re getting over a recent breakup or a breakup that happened months or even years ago, you have to let go.

How?

First, stop avoiding and suppressing your negative feelings. We avoid dealing with our feelings in all sorts of ways: binge-watching television, eating, sex, alcohol, drugs, and telling people, “Everything is fine,” when we’re actually a hot mess.

Instead of avoiding and suppressing, let your feelings flow through you and get comfortable with the discomfort. Don’t chastise yourself for the feelings. Ask yourself, “Where is this coming from?” and, “Why is this coming up NOW?” Getting curious is always healthier than suppression.

Second, get back to doing things you love. Sometimes when we’re in a long-term relationship, we lose ourselves. Go do things that light you up inside and bring you joy. Go take that hip-hop dance class, join a new gym, or write the book you’ve been putting off.

And finally, make sure you have someone who listens to you without judgment and will let you vent when you need to. You think you don’t have someone to talk to? Think harder. You might be surprised of how willing people are to help and listen when you tell them how much you’re hurting. Exploring solutions is always easier when we have someone who listens instead of feeding us useless clichés like, “Time will heal.”

Other solutions to exploring our feelings are support groups in your community, online forums, or starting a journaling practice. Get the stuff out and you’ll be surprised how much easier it becomes to let it go.

Step 2: Believe that you have more than one soul mate.

“But Eric,” you say, “I already found my soul mate and now they’re gone!”

It’s okay. All is not lost.

Because there’s no such thing as having only one soul mate on this planet. If you’ve already found one, good for you! But guess what? There are more out there!

How do I know that for sure? I don’t. But if you want to go on staying stuck in your breakup and feeling sad about losing your soul mate, I can guarantee you won’t find a new person who brings out the light inside of you, who makes you feel special, wanted, and supported.

Believing you have only one soul mate is nothing more than a limiting belief—and limiting beliefs are meant to be overcome.

If you haven’t yet found a soul mate, this is still an important point to understand. If you convince yourself there’s only one soul mate for you out there, you’re going to put too much pressure on every new relationship you enter into.Remember, there are multiple soul mates out there for you. But I promise, if you’re lying on the couch watching Netflix, you’re not going to find them.

Step 3: Don’t date people just because they’re the exact opposite of your ex.

When you go through a devastating breakup you convince yourself that you’ll never date someone like your ex ever again! “That’s it!” you scream, “I’m going for someone totally different than my ex!”

Your ex hated spontaneity and adventure? You’re going after a rock-climbing, world-traveling, adrenaline-seeker.

Your ex had blonde hair? Only brunettes from now on!

Your ex didn’t like reading, cats, Star Wars, trying new restaurants, the opera, camping, people-watching, or road trips? You get the idea.

But the problem with this approach is that it’s a knee-jerk reaction. Instead of thinking about what you really, truly want in a relationship, you jump in blindly. Dating someone just because they’re not like your ex probably won’t end well.

The solution?

Go to Step 4.

Step 4: Get clear on your values.

Our values are the guiding lights in our lives.

If you’re not clear on what you value, how can you find someone who shares your values? Because if you’re dating people who don’t share the same values as you, it’ll never work.

Think about your past relationships. Remember those times when you first started dating someone and you discovered something that didn’t jive with your values? And remember how you brushed it to the side and said, “It’s probably not that big of a deal. Maybe I’ll change….or maybe they’ll change.”

Sound familiar?

Fast-forward to your breakup. I’ll bet some of those old clashes in values came up throughout the breakup process, didn’t they?

Get clear on your values and don’t negotiate, undermine, or reduce them. Stay true to them and find a partner who shares your values. If you do this, you’ll be taking a huge step towards finding love again.

Step 5: Say “no” to relationships that are a waste of your time.

It’s hard to say “no.” We don’t like hurting people’s feelings, so we say “yes” to things we shouldn’t. Then we kick ourselves for not having had the guts to say “no.”

When we delay our “nos” we’re wasting our time and the other person’s time. We go on third, fourth, and fifth dates with people who we’re really not interested in, but we just can’t tell them the words, “I’m sorry, I just don’t want to be with you.” Instead, we draw it out into a painful process of indecision, stress, and fear.

How do you say “no” to someone you’re not interested in continuing dating?

You say, “I’m sorry, but I know what I’m looking for in a partner and you’re not that person.”

Sounds harsh?

Get used to it. Because if you’re clear on your values after Step 4, there’s no reason to waste your time with people who don’t align with what you’re looking for.

And really, what’s so bad about saying, “You’re not the partner for me?” Shouldn’t people appreciate honesty?

Yes, they should. But people aren’t like that and they might feel hurt. But that’s their problem, not yours. Ultimately, that honesty is going to help both of you move forward in a more healthy way.

Stay true and honest to yourself and be as compassionate as possible when you say “no.” After that, it’s up to the other person to accept it.

Step 6: Improve yourself.

No matter how many self-help books and articles on Tiny Buddha that you’ve read, we all have blind spots and weaknesses.

After my latest breakup, I realized I needed to work on some things. I reflected on my fear of commitment. I got clear on my core values. I worked on my ability to communicate my feelings around tough subjects like sex, money, and having children.

I read new books, worked with a coach, and traveled by myself. I met new people and shared life experiences with them in a vulnerable way.

It’s really hard to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves, “Where have I been going wrong? What can I do to make myself better?” It’s so much easier to point a finger and say, “It’s your fault! Not mine!”

But true growth can only happen when we look inside ourselves. When you grow and become a better version of yourself you’ll develop more confidence—and we all know confident people are a lot more likely to find true love.

Step 7: Work it!

If you’re ready to find someone new, you have to go out and find them.

It drives me a tad crazy when people say, “I want to find love, but if it happens it happens. I’m not going to go out looking for it! I’ll let the universe do its thing.”

Are you kidding me? When is the last time something that made your life better came to you while you were sitting around doing nothing?

If you want to find love, go out there and look for it!

When we put ourselves out there, get out of our comfort zones, and face our fears, amazing things start to happen.

Go to social gatherings with new people. Find common interest groups in your community. Talk to a stranger on the bus or metro. Hell, give online dating a try!

If you want to find love, you have to get out there and meet new people. Sure, each time isn’t going to be a fruitful experience, but that’s what it’s about. When good things start to happen (which they will) you’ll look back and understand all the effort was worth it.

Now, this seventh step isn’t about obsessing over finding love to the point that it’s unhealthy. If you’ve followed the steps above this shouldn’t be a concern because you’re now feeling more confident in your own skin. If you get better at saying “no,” get clear on your values, and improve yourself, then you’re ready to find love.

But if you’re afraid of being alone for the rest of your life and desperate to find a partner no matter how wrong they are for you, you’re not ready for Step 7. Go back and work through Steps 1 to 6 until you’re ready to find love for the right reasons.

Don’t forget…

Finding love isn’t easy. This plan can take a long time to master.

But when you find that special person you’ll know that all the effort, struggle, rejection, failure, and time-investment was worth it.

True love is a beautiful thing. It shouldn’t be degraded to a pipe dream for the lonely-hearts-club. True love is something that everyone should strive for because life is a lot more fun when we can share it with a person who brings out the light inside of us.

If you haven’t found love yet, please don’t give up. It’s out there. And if you follow the right plan, I know you’re going to find it.

About Eric Ibey

Eric Ibey is a Breakup Coach and member of the International Coach Federation. He’s on a mission to help people move on from tough breakups and find more confidence, happiness, and peace faster than they imagined possible. Join his Free 3-Week Breakup Challenge TODAY and start reframing your breakup into an opportunity for self-growth.

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You Can be Positive in a Negative Experience

Original post from: https://bethandlee.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/you-can-be-positive-in-a-negative-experience/

When you have a negative experience, you don’t have to get all wrapped up in how bad it was or how upset you are.  You can see that it doesn’t feel the best, but that is as far as you have to take the negative.  You can see it, feel it, and then let go […]

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Why We Push Ourselves Too Hard and How to Work Less

Original post from: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/tinybuddha/~3/nIcEVzyrTlo/

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” ~Unknown

I was sitting on the beach with my wonderful girlfriend, trying to relax on our vacation in Florida, yet I was racked with anxiety.

We were lying under a large umbrella, taking in the beautiful waves and swaying palm trees, attempting to recover from the past months (and years) of overwork and overstress. But all I could think about was a marketing initiative I was working on for a client.

The more I tried to chill, the more nervous I became. My girlfriend lay peacefully, dozing off occasionally, while I was busy fending off a full-blown panic attack.

Did I hurry back from our beach session to get back to work? That would be crazy, right? Well, it was worse. I pulled out my laptop and went to work right there on the beach.

I was so addicted to my computer and so stretched thin with commitments that I couldn’t even enjoy this highly anticipated vacation with the love of my life. In fact, the only thing I can remember when I look back on this trip is my stress. I don’t remember enjoying the beach or ever feeling present.

When, I got back from Florida, I didn’t feel refreshed at all. I more desperately need a vacation after it than I did before it. Not only had my over-commitment to work prevented me from enjoying my vacation, it led me to operating at below my best for many months following.

Why did I do this to myself? It was a combination of things. I was insecure and using money to mask it. I was correlating my self-worth with the amount of money I had in the bank. I worked more to distract myself from my own anxieties. But most of all, I was working myself to death because of how the human brain works.

The Psychology of Over-Working

The benefits of working less are counterintuitive, but well documented. There are the obvious benefits—such as having more time for hobbies, friends, family, health, or even working on bigger and better projects—and then there are the less obvious benefits, such as improving creativity and productivity.

Tim Ferriss’ proposition of a “four-hour work week” is attractive to our rational thinking brains, but in practice, it’s surprisingly difficult to work less.

The reason we work more than we need to—sometimes to the extent of actually hurting our productivity, health, or personal relationships—may lie in how humans have evolved.

In their book Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters: From Dating, Shopping, and Praying to Going to War and Becoming a Billionaire – Two Evolutionary Psychologists Explain Why We Do What We Do, Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa postulate that our brains are shaped by evolutionary pressures to survive and reproduce. We’ve adapted to recurring problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

“Our human nature is the cumulative product of the experience of our ancestors in the past, and it affects how we think, feel, and behave today,” Miller and Kanazawa write. People who showed no anxiety to threats would not have taken the appropriate steps to solve the problems and therefore may not have survived.

In his book Evolutionary Psychology: Neuroscience Perspectives Concerning Human Behavior and Experience, William J. Ray, describes how these evolutionary adaptations can actually hinder us from properly interpreting reality:

“Consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg; most of what goes on in your mind is hidden from you. As a result, your conscious experience can mislead you into thinking that our circuitry is simpler than it really is…our modern skulls house a Stone Age mind.”

In the context of work-life balance, our brains didn’t evolve to determine exactly how much we need to work. Our brains simply want us to survive and reproduce, and working more seems to contribute to those end goals. Our brain’s anxiety about survival and reproduction motivates us to work more, even though it’s not usually in our best interest over the long-term.

Similarly, our brains crave sugar because in the past, calories were scarce and we needed to eat as much as possible to account for extended periods without food.

Sugar has a high calorie density, so it was very economical for our ancestors. As a result, many people today have a tendency to overeat unhealthy foods, even though we don’t face a problem of the scarcity of food like we did before the agricultural revolution. Unfortunately, sugar contributes to a number of health problems over the long-term, but our brains don’t understand that.

Our brains think working excessively to gather resources contributes to survival and reproduction. But it doesn’t know how to moderate. More work doesn’t always lead to more money, let alone a more fulfilling life. At it’s worst, excessive work can lead to burnout, depression, panic attacks, and a lack of meaningful relationships.

Here are four signs you may be working to the point of your own demise:

Working far beyond what is needed despite the risk of negative consequences
After reaching a goal, you immediately set another more ambitious one
Refusing to delegate work, despite the opportunity cost of doing the work yourself
Creating more work that doesn’t add value in order to avoid feelings of guilt, anxiety, insecurity, or depression

To be clear, there are benefits to working hard. Working more can help you get more done, and, assuming you are doing the right work, that can help you make more money. And there are times when anxiety is rational and you legitimately need to work more in order to survive. But more often than not, working too much can do more harm than good.

The counterintuitive reality is that working more does not always mean working productively if it means you’re going to burn out.

Simple But Hard Choices

We have a choice about how to deal with working too much. Like so many other challenges, there is the simple but hard solution, and a complex but easy solution.

For your health, the simple but hard solution is to eat more healthy food and less unhealthy food. This solution requires discipline, but it doesn’t cost money, and it’s proven to work. The complex but easy solution is to pay for the latest diet products.

The simple but hard solution to workaholism is to work less. This means saying “no” to unnecessary projects and responsibilities. However, I call this the hard solution for a reason. First, it would be a bruise to your ego to admit you can’t handle something. Second, it requires introspection and change in order to address underlying anxieties or insecurities that may be the impetus for pathological working habits.

Fear or frustration with executing on the simple solution incentivizes us to change course. So we add complexity.

These complex but easy solutions include productivity apps, time management processes, or even prescription drugs. They can help us eek out a couple more units of productivity on a given day, but they often have negative side effects over the long term, and more notably, they enable us to avoid blaming ourselves or putting in the hard work of conquering our anxieties and insecurities.

These solutions are like playing whack-a-mole—they only solve the surface level symptoms. James Altucher provided an apt analogy in writing about the power of saying “no” to bad opportunities:

“When you have a tiny tiny piece of sh*t in the soup it doesn’t matter how much more water you pour in and how many more spices you put on top. There’s sh*t in the soup.”

Often times, continuing to work excessively, even while using the latest and greatest productivity apps, only leads to burnout, which results in an extended period of low productivity, or, worse, an unfulfilling life, void of meaningful relationships or even physical and mental health problems.

How to Work Less, Survive, and Prosper

Your brain doesn’t know or care that working less won’t prevent you from surviving or reproducing in modern times.

It doesn’t know how much money you have in your bank account or how many hours you need to work in order to retire in thirty years.

It definitely doesn’t care about helping you achieve higher ambitions like finding love or having fun on weekends.

You feel anxious about working less because your brain only cares about surviving and reproducing.

But we’re not slaves to our lizard brains. The idea that working less can help you accomplish more requires some critical thinking. However, with awareness of how our brains work, we can make decisions that are healthier and more productive.

So, how you can you counteract your brain’s adaptive impulses? I’ll share two strategies that have worked for me.

First, know your priorities. Every time you say “yes” to more work you’re saying “no” to the other aspects of your life that you value. By taking inventory of your list of priorities, and where work lies on that list, you can make decisions that will help you live a more fulfilling life.

Second, address the underlying issues. Oftentimes we work to avoid thinking about our insecurities or shortcomings. Or, we think we need to have more money in order to be loved. I’ve been guilty of both of these.

Once I gained awareness of these issues, it was easier to make healthier decisions about my work. I worked to conquer my anxiety instead of making it worse by burying it in work, and I’ve dispelled the myth that I’m not worthy of love unless I have massive amounts of wealth.

Since doing this work, I’ve said no to many great opportunities in order to keep my life in balance. It’s difficult at the time, but I’m healthier and happier for it.

It may sound idealistic to work less, but if it can help your health, productivity, and life isn’t it worth a shot? If it doesn’t work for you, keep in mind that there will always be more work to do!

About Mike Fishbein

Mike Fishbein is a personal development writer living in New York City. His work has been published on Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Observer and The Next Web. You can read his best articles at mfishbein.com.

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When Everything Falls Apart: How to Start Moving Forward

Original post from: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/tinybuddha/~3/ywOTcHwRbqI/

“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Not too long ago, I had the worst week of my life.

Let me give you some background. Just over a year ago, I was diagnosed with a meningioma—a benign brain tumor. “It’s small,” I was told. “It won’t cause you any issues, at least not for several years.”

Fast forward to May 18, 2017. “It has grown. We need to start considering surgery or radiation.”

Whoa. Major brain surgery or radiation to my brain? What a fun way to spend my summer.

Then, on May 19, 2017, I walked in to work. I was ushered into a meeting. “Your position is being eliminated,” I was told. Hey, life! Way to kick me when I’m down!

I spent much of that morning crying. I reached out to family and friends, updating them on my news, all while eating cookies from my favorite coffee shop and gulping down a McDonald’s large Diet Coke.

In fact, I spent much of the next two weeks in the same manner.

Now I am sitting here, on my laptop, contemplating the significance of all of this, happening at once.

If I’m going to be honest, I have been in a downward slump for the past year. My migraines have gotten out of control. I have gained about twenty pounds because I can’t control my stress eating. My anxiety? Whoa—it requires a couple of medications to control it, and I still see a therapist weekly (who is awesome, I should add).

Suffice it to say, on May 19th, that morning, that moment, I hit rock bottom.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that we’ve all hit the proverbial rock bottom before. In fact, I would bet that some of you, dear readers, are sitting there right now, trying to figure out how to claw your way out.

Up until the end of June, I was there too. I was sitting there, at the bottom of a hole.

I realized I could sit there, cry, continue eating cookies, letting the weight pile on, and be unhappy. I could let my physician’s pile on more medications for my anxiety and my migraines. Or, I could envision everything I am going through as the beginning of something much bigger.

Something bigger. Freelance writing is my secondary income. I am in the midst of yoga teacher training. I am a certified diabetes educator and an RN. I have all of these skills; the question is, what should I do with them?

I have had the same best friend since we were twelve—well over half of our lives. When I texted her that I lost my job, she called me within the hour. “It’s hard to see it now,” she said, “but this just means that job wasn’t right for you. Something bigger is meant for you.”

When I think about the last year of my life, I think about how much I loved my job. But I also think about how poor my health has been because of my own actions. I think about how my anxiety has affected my family.

Although it is hard to see it right now, I am in a unique position. I get to start all over again. I get to figure out what I really want to do. What else do I know? This life I’ve lived for the past year. It isn’t working for me. I have been miserable. Health crises and job loss are traumatic, but for me, they may have been the figurative kick in the ass to see that I am on a precipice—all I have to do is jump.

So, dear readers, if you are also at the proverbial rock bottom, here’s my best advice at crawling your way out, coming from someone who was literally right there.

Step 1: Finish wallowing, then take an assessment.

 You read that right—I just told you to finish wallowing!

Why? Because if you’re not done grieving whatever situation kicked you into your hole—whether it be a major breakup, a health crisis, a job loss, or a death of a loved one—you’re not really ready to pull yourself out.

All of these big life issues? They’re huge. They’re astronomical. They’re so large that they put your life into a tailspin. You need to properly grieve the loss of your past life before you can move forward.

I am not an expert at grieving. If you need help, please seek it. And don’t be ashamed to seek help. Remember how I mentioned that I see a therapist weekly? I am unashamed.

Once you’re done grieving, take a long, hard look at your life. What caused you to sink into your hole? Where were you before you hit rock bottom? Most importantly, where do you want to go from here?

I want to add that this phase is hard. I mentioned that you need to finish wallowing. This means stay there as long as you need to, because you need to get over it before you can move on. However, have you ever heard the saying, “It’s okay to have a meltdown, but don’t unpack your bags and stay there”? This is step 1—don’t get stuck in regret and forget to move forward.

Step 2: Start planning.

My life changed dramatically one month ago. I by no means have my plans figured out yet. I have a vague idea of where I want to go from here, but it is still in the air, so to speak. And that’s okay.

The important thing is that, after you’ve begun to desperately claw yourself out of the pit, you begin to make a plan.

For example, as both a writer and an RN, I am making plans to use both of my talents. I know, after ten years of nursing and working for a hospital that ultimately let me go, I don’t want to work in that capacity anymore.

I am not entirely sure what this means, but I do know that I still want to use my credentials as a diabetes educator. I want to somehow work as an RN. I also want to be a writer. That’s all I know so far.

My main focus, of course, is being healthy. With my surgery coming up quickly, I am focusing my energy on my health and subsequently my recovery. Once I have recovered from my meningioma removal surgery, I will start all over again.

It is important to note when you are planning, your goals don’t have to be huge. My goals are huge because what I am going through is pretty big. Even if your goals are huge, the steps that you take can be small—the important thing is that you are making a plan.

And another thing! Write that plan down. Tape it to your bathroom mirror, your kitchen cabinet, or the steering wheel of your car—somewhere that you’ll see it and read it over, and over, and over.

Step 3: Put your plan into action.

Planning is great. But a plan is only great if you actually do something with it.

The day I hit rock bottom, I actually started writing this article, thinking it would be published immediately. “It’s so great!” I thought.

Yes, but I hadn’t actually dragged myself out of the hole yet. I had basically written my narrative, but there was not a lot else about how I planned to dig my way out, so needless to say, it was turned down nicely.

Because I had no clue.

I spent the next couple weeks grieving. Then, I realized, I was done with grieving. I will always be just a little bit sad about losing my job, because I genuinely loved it. But I can’t grieve forever. And my brain tumor? Well, I just got back from Mayo Clinic and will have it removed in several weeks, and with any luck, it will never grow back.

Am I scared? Sure. I’m scared to lose another job. I’m scared of brain surgery. I’m scared that the tumor will grow back.

But I am also grateful. I am a creative person by nature—I can barely draw a stick figure, but I love to write; had I not lost my job, perhaps I would never have been given this opportunity to use this creative skill.

I am grateful that my tumor is benign. It is easily operable. I will have an easy recovery. I have an amazing support system in my husband, my friends, and my family.

After I realized these things, I started putting my plan into action. I started writing more—for my clients, for myself. I have slowly begun to apply for nursing and diabetes educator jobs that interest me, although I will be unable to start until after surgery. I am working to complete my 200-hour yoga teacher training.

Whatever thing you’re going through, that caused you to hit rock bottom? It sucks. I know it does. No one hits rock bottom without a reason. But don’t stay there. I know it’s going to take us a while, but I also know it’s better out of the hole. We’ll get there, I promise.

About Krysti Ostermeyer

Krysti Ostermeyer blogs at https://krystiwithak.wordpress.com/, where she writes about migraines and her son’s food allergies.  She is a nurse, a diabetes educator and a yoga enthusiast.

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Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

The post When Everything Falls Apart: How to Start Moving Forward appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

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Rock Bottom? How to Start Digging Your Way Out

Original post from: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/tinybuddha/~3/Z282AJJLuL0/

“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Not too long ago, I had the worst week of my life.

Let me give you some background. Just over a year ago, I was diagnosed with a meningioma—a benign brain tumor. “It’s small,” I was told. “It won’t cause you any issues, at least not for several years.”

Fast forward to May 18, 2017. “It has grown. We need to start considering surgery or radiation.”

Whoa. Major brain surgery or radiation to my brain? What a fun way to spend my summer.

Then, on May 19, 2017, I walked in to work. I was ushered into a meeting. “Your position is being eliminated,” I was told. Hey, life! Way to kick me when I’m down!

I spent much of that morning crying. I reached out to family and friends, updating them on my news, all while eating cookies from my favorite coffee shop and gulping down a McDonald’s large Diet Coke.

In fact, I spent much of the next two weeks in the same manner.

Now I am sitting here, on my laptop, contemplating the significance of all of this, happening at once.

If I’m going to be honest, I have been in a downward slump for the past year. My migraines have gotten out of control. I have gained about twenty pounds because I can’t control my stress eating. My anxiety? Whoa—it requires a couple of medications to control it, and I still see a therapist weekly (who is awesome, I should add).

Suffice it to say, on May 19th, that morning, that moment, I hit rock bottom.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that we’ve all hit the proverbial rock bottom before. In fact, I would bet that some of you, dear readers, are sitting there right now, trying to figure out how to claw your way out.

Up until the end of June, I was there too. I was sitting there, at the bottom of a hole.

I realized I could sit there, cry, continue eating cookies, letting the weight pile on, and be unhappy. I could let my physician’s pile on more medications for my anxiety and my migraines. Or, I could envision everything I am going through as the beginning of something much bigger.

Something bigger. Freelance writing is my secondary income. I am in the midst of yoga teacher training. I am a certified diabetes educator and an RN. I have all of these skills; the question is, what should I do with them?

I have had the same best friend since we were twelve—well over half of our lives. When I texted her that I lost my job, she called me within the hour. “It’s hard to see it now,” she said, “but this just means that job wasn’t right for you. Something bigger is meant for you.”

When I think about the last year of my life, I think about how much I loved my job. But I also think about how poor my health has been because of my own actions. I think about how my anxiety has affected my family.

Although it is hard to see it right now, I am in a unique position. I get to start all over again. I get to figure out what I really want to do. What else do I know? This life I’ve lived for the past year. It isn’t working for me. I have been miserable. Health crises and job loss are traumatic, but for me, they may have been the figurative kick in the ass to see that I am on a precipice—all I have to do is jump.

So, dear readers, if you are also at the proverbial rock bottom, here’s my best advice at crawling your way out, coming from someone who was literally right there.

Finish wallowing, then take an assessment.

 You read that right—I just told you to finish wallowing!

Why? Because if you’re not done grieving whatever situation kicked you into your hole—whether it be a major breakup, a health crisis, a job loss, or a death of a loved one—you’re not really ready to pull yourself out.

All of these big life issues? They’re huge. They’re astronomical. They’re so large that they put your life into a tailspin. You need to properly grieve the loss of your past life before you can move forward.

I am not an expert at grieving. If you need help, please seek it. And don’t be ashamed to seek help. Remember how I mentioned that I see a therapist weekly? I am unashamed.

Once you’re done grieving, take a long, hard look at your life. What caused you to sink into your hole? Where were you before you hit rock bottom? Most importantly, where do you want to go from here?

I want to add that this phase is hard. I mentioned that you need to finish wallowing. This means stay there as long as you need to, because you need to get over it before you can move on. However, have you ever heard the saying, “It’s okay to have a meltdown, but don’t unpack your bags and stay there”? This is step 1—don’t get stuck in regret and forget to move forward.

Start planning.

My life changed dramatically one month ago. I by no means have my plans figured out yet. I have a vague idea of where I want to go from here, but it is still in the air, so to speak. And that’s okay.

The important thing is that, after you’ve begun to desperately claw yourself out of the pit, you begin to make a plan.

For example, as both a writer and an RN, I am making plans to use both of my talents. I know, after ten years of nursing and working for a hospital that ultimately let me go, I don’t want to work in that capacity anymore.

I am not entirely sure what this means, but I do know that I still want to use my credentials as a diabetes educator. I want to somehow work as an RN. I also want to be a writer. That’s all I know so far.

My main focus, of course, is being healthy. With my surgery coming up quickly, I am focusing my energy on my health and subsequently my recovery. Once I have recovered from my meningioma removal surgery, I will start all over again.

It is important to note when you are planning, your goals don’t have to be huge. My goals are huge because what I am going through is pretty big. Even if your goals are huge, the steps that you take can be small—the important thing is that you are making a plan.

And another thing! Write that plan down. Tape it to your bathroom mirror, your kitchen cabinet, or the steering wheel of your car—somewhere that you’ll see it and read it over, and over, and over.

Put your plan into action.

Planning is great. But a plan is only great if you actually do something with it.

The day I hit rock bottom, I actually started writing this article, thinking it would be published immediately. “It’s so great!” I thought.

Yes, but I hadn’t actually dragged myself out of the hole yet. I had basically written my narrative, but there was not a lot else about how I planned to dig my way out, so needless to say, it was turned down nicely.

Because I had no clue.

I spent the next couple weeks grieving. Then, I realized, I was done with grieving. I will always be just a little bit sad about losing my job, because I genuinely loved it. But I can’t grieve forever. And my brain tumor? Well, I just got back from Mayo Clinic and will have it removed in several weeks, and with any luck, it will never grow back.

Am I scared? Sure. I’m scared to lose another job. I’m scared of brain surgery. I’m scared that the tumor will grow back.

But I am also grateful. I am a creative person by nature—I can barely draw a stick figure, but I love to write; had I not lost my job, perhaps I would never have been given this opportunity to use this creative skill.

I am grateful that my tumor is benign. It is easily operable. I will have an easy recovery. I have an amazing support system in my husband, my friends, and my family.

After I realized these things, I started putting my plan into action. I started writing more—for my clients, for myself. I have slowly begun to apply for nursing and diabetes educator jobs that interest me, although I will be unable to start until after surgery. I am working to complete my 200-hour yoga teacher training.

Whatever thing you’re going through, that caused you to hit rock bottom? It sucks. I know it does. No one hits rock bottom without a reason. But don’t stay there. I know it’s going to take us a while, but I also know it’s better out of the hole. We’ll get there, I promise.

SaveSave

About Krysti Ostermeyer

Krysti Ostermeyer blogs at https://krystiwithak.wordpress.com/, where she writes about migraines and her son’s food allergies.  She is a nurse, a diabetes educator and a yoga enthusiast.

Web | More Posts

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

The post Rock Bottom? How to Start Digging Your Way Out appeared first on Tiny Buddha.