Benefits Of Unhappiness

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I had a client, Sara, who has been married a few times and was in a long term relationship.

She felt that she left her marriages prematurely, so she was determined to stick with this dysfunctional relationship until the end.

Her sessions would start off with a rant about her mate. She rattled off situations, which irritated her and focus on his glaring shortcomings, so I would seek to understand her point, by asking questions.

Questions such as:

  1. So, what you’re saying is, he takes no responsibility and blames you for the issues in your relationship?
  2. Okay, he doesn’t validate your feelings? Or he invalidates what you think and feel?
  3. Oh, so what you’re saying is everything is his fault and you’re the victim?
  4. Um, so you do or you don’t want to leave him?
  5. Huh, alright…so what you’re saying is everything is really okay?

Venting?

Complaining?

What did she really want?

She wanted to remain in her unhappiness, because it’s where she knew how to function.

She wasn’t looking for change;¬†she operated by¬†talking in circles, because changing her circumstances, meant having¬†to look inside and take responsibility for her misery. Instead it was easier to play the victim in her life story.

Sara¬†never saw herself as a victim, she’s tough! She’ll kick ass!

She defended her disempowerment and her life with a mate who didn’t really get her….one where she felt stifled, misunderstood, apathy, unhappy and not thriving.

She didn’t want it to change.

At the end of her tirade, I’d ask a¬†simple¬†question, again,¬†so I understood where she was coming from, and she’d launch into a litany of reasons to defend¬†her circumstances. ¬†She ALWAYS had an answer for all the issues she blew up about in her rant, those¬†problems were OKAY–she’d say, “it’s just the way it is and nothing will change!” It was all a big ‘whatever’ or ‘okay’ or ‘who cares’ whenever I’d ask¬†if she planned on¬†staying disempowered and miserable.

She liked being stuck right where she was, it served her.

Another thing Sara would do to show she wasn’t a victim in her eyes, is she could predict his behavior or what would happen in the future.

When people tell me¬†the details¬†about what another person is going to do, I don’t congratulate them. Instead, I point out three things:

  1. The focus is on the other person, not YOU, yourself–where it needs to be.
  2. You, me and everyone else¬†are¬†the creators of our¬†own lives;¬†it’s not really a prediction you’re making¬†about your mate, it’s what you¬†help to create, because of how YOU¬†show up in the relationship too.
  3. When you¬†predict your¬†mate’s words or actions in a negative light, and you¬†feel angry, you’ve¬†given them YOUR¬†power–you’re¬†a victim.

Not pretty, but choosing to live in a constant state of strategy, so you’re ‘perception’ is proven right¬†by your predictions, its a way of numbing out the pain.

The benefit is to remain in this comfort zone.

No change will happen.

In Sara’s case, she could predict it all, be angry or apathetic, because¬†deep down inside she feared nothing better was out there.

No one stays unhappy unless there’s a benefit. Having¬†no interest in looking inside of yourself, as to why you’re not happy and being willing to do¬†something about it…means the benefit of misery outweighs the desire for¬†change.

It’s not about changing other people.

I’ve had¬†many people like Sara, pissed off and feeling motivated¬†to do something, until they see the ‘something’ they must¬†do takes them out of the ‘control’ position (comfort zone).

The¬†drama¬†they complain about keeps them¬†in control of their shitty situation.¬†If they released¬†their partner from being responsible for their¬†unhappiness,¬†they’d be face to face with their fear.

The benefit to being unhappy outweighs the fear of change when you do the following:

  1. Make excuses.
  2. Argue and defend your position.
  3. Bitch about your circumstances, but eschew any new solution.
  4. Control through manipulation (most people do not see how they do this)
  5. Resistance inside and outside is familiar and where you live most of the time.

How do you switch gears and take into account your delight in your misery, so you can let go, move through and find your inner happiness?

To start with….

  1. Stop¬†excuses–when you hear them come up in your mind, QUESTION THEM. Ask yourself what the truth is under the excuse.
  2. Feel the fear of losing an argument, of being wrong and see that its a perception, not an absolute truth. When you stop defending, and realize you CANNOT convince someone else or yourself of your position…you may feel a loss of control, allow it…and feel the freedom from the perspective underneath it.
  3. Stop the complaining. It is a merry go round of energy in your mind–a loop–stop it and ask it’s purpose? All it does is distract you from you and what your real cause of unhappiness is at the moment.
  4. Stop focusing on other people and what they do or don’t do, and figure out what you’re doing and WHY. Not because someone is causing you to do something, but what is YOUR real motivation?
  5. Resistance….it persists, until you move yourself out of that position. Why do you you feel it must be the way you see it? Is there another way?

 

 

Why sound like you‚Äôre offering me a choice, when you‚Äôre going to do what you want anyway?

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Standards, boundaries, rules…whatever we wanna call them. Ever notice when we are trying to uphold some new ways of being, allowing and saying okay to certain things, that a backlash occurs?

Our relationships where we’ve been a doormat, accommodating or not having a strong sense of sticking to what feels good to us, all of a sudden are put to the test.

We have someone who wants us to do it their way, for their good, but try to dress it up, as though there is a choice in there for us,¬†when there’s none!

It happens.

This person is used to getting their way, once we have shown some vulnerability. Let’s say Joe Shmoe (or Julie Shmoe) has turned up on our doorstep. They pledge their undying love, saying things will be different and proposing a future filled with candy hearts and chocolate boxes!

We still have feelings for this person, we’re hearing words we wanted to for so long, but¬†we look to¬†the past, when it was¬†more like we received an empty box of chocolates.

We look to how we’ve grown, we’ve set some standards in our life and we’re really starting to embrace them. There’s some self-esteem, some confidence, some self-love and all sorts of other self-caring goodies there….and it is all at risk.

Risk is good when it is related to taking a chance on being open, vulnerable, changing the stale status quo, etc. But what about when it comes to something that has been a proven disaster, which has more than likely not changed?

If this Joe or Julie, shows up in the same way–pleading their undying love that they have 20 other times in the past, do we really think, anything besides their words have changed? And if they have changed, how do we proceed?

It’s a tough one, but if we look at the giving and receiving part of the past….how much of a flow was it? How many blockades stood in the way?

So, when the puppy dog eyes are offering a new proposal…and we cave in, saying, “Okay, I feel the same way too.” What happens next?

If Joe or Julie are the same, we can be assured that they’ll now not be in fear of losing us….no. They’re back in the driver’s seat. And when we approach them to discuss how things will proceed, they can sound like we have a choice, but in actuality we don’t. They are still doing what they want anyway, which means running over our boundaries and having a relationship based solely on their terms.

All the work we have put in, we can see it being overtaken by anxiety. We don’t know what to do, but depending on how strongly we feel about how we want our life to look, we will try to hang onto our self-respect and please this runaway partner.

I speak to both men and women who experience partners such as this in their lives. It’s a hit and run, once they know they have us back where they want us, they bring out the big guns and aim it at us, knowing in the past they would get it their way.

The key in a situation where we are threatened with losing our esteem for ourselves, is to take a step back.

Stop all action, all momentum, all words and go within.

Spend as much time as is necessary there.

Getting clear on how our lives look, what we truly want and may feel we don’t deserve (a really great relationship with someone who respects our boundaries in a positive and loving way) is pivotal to understanding why we lose our power to this person who wants to give us no choice.

We can love someone, but we don’t have to make a choice to lose ourselves. We don’t have to give up on us, to not be alone or to keep someone around who can’t give us what we need.¬†We can maintain and observe. We can watch and learn. When we feel educated enough, we can make a decision, which feels right, “to us.”

 

Should, must and have to

It’s been a very busy past few days and I haven’t been able to sit down and write here. I will be posting about my “believing project” later on today. I have one participant and am hoping for another….and now we are at 362 days on the belief project (YAY!). And believing has already shown up as manifesting for the two of us.

Anywho— this post is about ¬†“should, must and have to”, just a few words really. I do my best in keeping those words out of my vocabulary, thoughts or expectations in life.

“Should, must and have to”, have me stop in my tracks and ask the following: What do I want to do? Why am I feeling I should do “fill in the blank”? What will happen if I don’t do what I should do, think or feel?¬† What happens if I am honest with myself or others?

There are so few things that actually qualify as “must do’s”, unless they are truly for “me”. I matter. I hope most people in my life “want” me to show up, not show up because I “have to”…seems a lousy way to “appear” to get your way.

Now when it comes to a goal I have whether it is cleaning my house, building a business or going out with someone…those still come from a “want”. When someone tells me I MUST believe something, the buck stops right there—reality is based on “one’s” own perception, not someone else’s idea.

I MUST earn a living, true….yet, can’t it be enjoyable and something I LOVE and WANT to do? Heck yeah!!! I feel blessed to wake up and do both coaching and marketing most days of the week. I feel like a kid in a candy store!

If you are doing a job you abhor, it is your own fear and limitation which keep you in that place. Not to be blunt or unkind, but that is a choice you make to stay stuck. The comfort of what you know (even if you are unhappy) vs. the unknown and the discomfort which comes with it….many people would rather keep the music inside of them, then to go through the fear and live it! Whatever you let hold you in a “should”, is something to be examined.

Oftentimes people do what another expects of them, because they fear hurting that person’s feelings or because they are afraid of being judged as a bad person or some other negative judgment. Take the whole judgment out of the equation and be honest, you may find the other party respects you for it! Most people don’t want to feel they have forced someone to do something, we want to believe they show up in a genuine way.

I realize we all ask for advice at different times. Sometimes for¬†corroboration of what we believe or cuz we feel stuck or we just can’t see the light. A person who has a well-developed sense of themselves, will consider what is stated and see how the advice fits into their world.

On the other hand, a person who doesn’t feel good about themselves, feels they make bad decisions AND will feel even worse about themselves if they don’t take the advice given; creates an inner judge.

In turn, the words¬†“should, must or have to” are grasped onto as to feel okay, liked or believe you are finally doing the right thing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t buy you the ticket to happiness. It brings guilt, a feeling of helplessness, being conflicted and confused, ¬†and questioning your own ability to make good decisions, you feel worse. There is not another person on the planet who’s advice you “should” take, unless you “want” to, because it feels right for you. That is a choice. A person giving the advice, doesn’t wake up and put your shoes on everyday, only you do.

Learning to trust your own knowledge of what you “should” do plays into a much bigger picture, again it comes from what you want for your goals in life.

If I want to buy a new car and I know saving money will help me to achieve that goal, then I may¬†say: “I should save this money instead of splurging on this pair of shoes.” In light of the bigger goal, the overall “want”, may create a “should” toward the bigger picture.

Of course, if you constantly state what you “want” in your life and do the opposite, then one has to ask what is really wanted and why the self sabotage in getting to the goal?

Letting go of the ties that bind us to the “shoulds” creates a space, it gives freedom. Freedom of choice, freedom to live and breathe as one wishes to do so in this fantastic journey called life.

PAIN equals JOY equals LIFE equals FUN equals LAUGHTER

There is a formula to the topic of this post.
 

All parts of life experiences equal one another in magnitude of the ability to feel one emotion and its direct opposite.

Sometimes you may feel all emotions at once; moving from laughing to crying to anger to laughing to joy to sadness and so on.

If you try to squelch feelings of sadness or anger, you equally minimize your joy and happiness. We don’t get to select the emotions we want to feel and forget the rest of em’. Nope it doesn’t work that way. As a living being, you get to experience all of it by either allowing it, looking at it directly in the mirror or denying a feeling and having it come out inappropriately or in a way that doesn’t speak the truth of ¬†who you are or what you feel.

Hey, at least you have a choice.

And pain, no one likes to feel pain either as a simple¬†inconvenience¬†or harshly as a total loss and heartbreak. In my last post about suffering, it was mentioned that it is a choice. We always have a choice about how we deal with the pain. Personalize it; suffer and make it “our” story, so we can victimize ourselves and not have to move on in our lives. Or feel the pain, let it speak to you and teach you; grow with it; see it and know that we are healing as we are feeling. And that we can still continue to participate in life, there is still the opportunity as long as we are living and breathing to experience the joy.

I remember a couple of years ago, as I was sitting in the emergency room with my adult child thinking about how long it was taking (my kid was fine, by the way) and how I had so much to do at home. And then I looked around the room and thought of a relative who had passed. I thought, “Wow, this person doesn’t get to be inconvenienced anymore or feel anything anymore, they don’t get to experience anything!”¬† I am lucky, because I am alive and I am here with my kid, who I love and am thankful is doing just fine. I completely and totally realized how great it was to be sitting in a hospital room waiting to go home. Lucky me, I got to go home!! When I’m six feet under, I won’t be going anywhere. Talk about a real reality check and heavy doses of joy and happiness to accompany my appreciation for life. Many moments before and since then have followed…and thankfully there did not need to be a tragedy attached to feel gratitude. It was the simple fact that I get to “feel”, period.

The fact is many times life doesn’t look like its going in the direction we want it to either for a few minutes or for years. ¬†This can create a lot of pain, a feeling of battling with life. A resistance to what is your reality. At times like this, I ask myself where is the “joy” can I find it and the answer is “yes”. It is always there in equal parts to the pain. The laughter is there in equal parts to the tears. One day I will no longer be here to allow those moments to come and go, like the ebb of the tide and so, to feel it all on the shore as it washes over me is what I prefer; its a gift.

Next time you have to go to the doctor to get an immunization, find some joy in it or when you have your car break down, think of how lucky you are to be here on this planet experiencing the entire realm of emotions. Even a break up as heart-wrenching as it is, there is a sense of excitement and joy–the freedom to explore and watch as the untold future unfolds in that moment of pain! ¬†Your present need not wait for the hoped for joy of the future, you can experience it now. How exciting can that be!?

Look around and see every other human being, we all have to endure less than pleasant experiences that create pain large and small. It is in how we decide to go through it! Rather than around it, under it or bury it…allow it and find the joy. Or laugh, find the funny absurdity in your situation. It’s ALL there, I promise.¬†

If you have any stories to share that are examples of finding the joy in pain, please either post a comment or email it to me at Tracy@13degreez.com and I will post on this blog.

“Choices” the first post

We are a compendium of exquisite qualities that create the entire contents of each of us human beings.

Inside of us, we are well-done and rare; black and white, yin and yang, rough and smooth, pretty and ugly, light and dark–we are everything in this world and its opposite.

Yep, us humans are a contradiction in terms of what makes up the “whole” of us. You can’t pretend certain qualities of you can be ignored or disowned. It ¬†is a difficult feat to continually perform every night in the¬†crowd-pleaser revue¬†as the¬†lead actor , what do you do for an encore?

Many people are not even¬†conscious¬†of the energy involved in hiding the less appealing parts of themselves, so that they will be liked and accepted by others. It really doesn’t work for many reasons. In dismissing certain elements of yourself for ones that seem more positive, you aim for perfection, an impossible goal. And no matter how hard you try to possess only pristine characteristics, you probably won’t gain many fans. On top of it, you experience a lack of fulfillment and a deep degree of unhappiness. It would seem to be WAY, WAY easier to accept all of you–every nook and cranny of your being. Acceptance leads to falling deeper in love with yourself. It can be easier said than done when it comes to breaking old habits, which keep our authentic self from being seen by others.

As you may already know, we bond with people over their imperfections rather than their perfection. We share a common humanity and it is good to recognize in each other what exactly makes us so human.

I stopped making most of my choices based on what I thought would please other people a long time ago.

Once in a while, I catch myself making a choice having nothing to do with my happiness, in fact I may disregard my feelings entirely. But my perception requires me to believe in making this choice, because I will make another person happy. Funny, how setting out to make someone else happy, usually backfires–the other person doesn’t fully appreciate the effort or they aren’t doing anything to feed their own happy wagon, so its like feeding a black hole–its never enough! When I’ve made a choice that isn’t in my own truth, I try not to make myself feel worse by criticizing myself. I try to be kind to “myself” and realize I made an error or mistake in judging the personal cost to me. And usually, if given another opportunity, I will make a different choice, one that is from a more honest place inside of me. If I stay the course from my heart, my own truth, the part of me not attached to an outcome or manipulation…I am happier no matter what the result.

I know for me, it is a constant reminder to remain aware of my thoughts. I have to remain very cognizant of the words/actions that I take in making decisions, from big to small…they all count. It is a diligent effort with a HUGE payoff. Seems like hard work? Well, it is and it isn’t. Instead of giving that same amount of ¬†energy to repetitive or negative thoughts and patterns, which keep me stuck; I instead, take that same energy and apply it to awareness.

I pay attention to what I do and how I feel doing it! 

It allows me to change my mind about what I was intending to do, by making completely different choices.

Let’s say I am tired from working all week and I really wanna stay home, watch a movie and go to sleep. Sounds good, and it’s easy, right? Yeah, well I may as well call it a lifetime and take the next train out of here, especially if I do this every single week. Now, the new choice entails me stepping out of my comfort zone. Instead of staying home every Friday night, because it is easy, I decide to attend a party one night .The party includes many lovely people I really love and an opportunity to connect with them, laughing and having fun! It seems it would be an obvious decision to make, friends and love vs. staleness (although I’d be a well-rested curmudgeon), but not in this case. Why? Because I am conditioned to automatically say “no”, to stepping out of my comfort zone. “Me” go out when I prefer to just go to bed, that can be a hard habit to break, especially when I am not even¬†conscious¬†that I may be avoiding something by not going out and engaging with others. It’s one of my favorite quandaries. And the one which requires me to be very mindful, applying a deeper degree of awareness, because it is insidious….

It’s very clear that I’ve spent years saying “no” to something, because I know from a past experience what “may” happen. Even though, we can never be sure that the past would indicate what will take place in the present. I know that I prefer the safe and comfortable route, regardless if it makes me unhappy. That good ol’ tried and true is the path to staleness and boredom. Now when I catch myself saying “no” automatically to something; I stop myself and ask “why not?” What is the worst thing that may happen if I say “yes”? ¬† So, I blurt out a “yes” strap on my astro-pack, fasten my seatbelt , let go of the outcome and enjoy the ride. I’ve learned there are so many experiences I miss out on by saying “no” and the more I say “yes” and trust that all will be okay…the happier I am and the more I appreciate my growing ability to act in my own best interest! Plus–it OPENS up so many opportunities that I would have missed had I stuck to the standard answer of “no”. Another little goody is that I may have great fun in the “present”, which may alter my perception of the same “event” in the past that really sucked. Choices is where it is at…we always have em’ and we can always change our mind (at least 90% of the time).

My next post on choices will cover the times we believe we don’t have a choice in a situation….and like I said, we always have a choice.