Thursday, September 17, 2015

Five Lies We Tell Ourselves

 
I have noticed a few lies we sometimes embrace as truths. I have noticed them in conversations, in actions, and sometimes in my own thoughts. I’m calling out these five lies:

1. Everyone has to get us. It’s really nice when people get us and the decisions we make. It’s lovely to receive validation and approval. But is that always realistic? I don’t always get why people make the decisions they do. I don’t get why someone would climb Mount Everest (don’t they realize there are freezing temperatures and low oxygen?); or why our beloved neighbors moved three hours away (something to do with a better job, but whatever – I don’t want to hear it). But here is the exciting thing about people: different things in life capture our attention, move us and motivate us in unique ways. So of course we will all make distinct decisions that suit us best. Sometimes not getting each other doesn’t mean we don’t love and support each other, it just means we would do it differently. And different can be good.

2. Worry means we are doing something. I am a champion at worrying. Why? If I worry really hard about something out of my control, then it makes me feel like I am doing something to fix the situation. But in our hearts, we all know this isn’t true. I mean really, do we ever encourage each other with, “Well, why don’t you worry a little more about that?”  We say things like, “Let’s pray,” “Let’s hope,” “Let’s have faith,” but never, “Let’s worry.” Worry really is futile.

3. We always have to explain ourselves. When we say no (especially if we feel like we are letting someone down), we tend to start explaining. We might dive into every aspect of our decision including our family circumstances – which are undoubtedly leading us to say no in this situation; our childhood – which might or might not have something to do with the no, but we go there anyway; and what we had for breakfast – which might seem important too because it fills the uncomfortable silence. But here’s the thing: people respect a solid no. They have said no themselves before. It’s okay to say, “You know, I thought about it, and it just doesn’t work for me right now. Thanks for asking.” Less can be more. 

4. Adding one more commitment is no big deal. It actually can be a big deal. Can you put the time and energy into the new commitment that it deserves? Will it take away from family time, current commitments, and important things in your life? We live life once. I am all about living big and not missing out on opportunities to contribute our talents, but there are only so many hours in a day and we only have so much energy. We quickly say yes because we feel obligated, rather than considering if it is best. Being busy does not always mean we are more successful. Sometimes it just means we are more tired. It’s okay to turn down additional commitments. 

5.  We should always follow the formula. Sometimes following the formula we see others embrace to achieve success is helpful. We can be grateful for the people who have shown us how to get where we want to be. Learning from people ahead of us is good, but doing something completely our own way can be good too. You don’t have to follow the same career path as your colleagues, or parent the same as your friend…you get the idea. Don’t be afraid to listen to that feeling you get deep in your gut that tells you to do it your way. Who knows, your actions just might inspire someone else to choose their own path.

Yes, sometimes these lies work for us. For example, there are times when we should say yes to a new commitment. But when we think of these statements as absolutes, it can cause us stress and make us hesitate to do what we know in our hearts is best. In our conversations, actions, and thoughts, let’s know this truth: we are capable of making good decisions and being resourceful, discerning, and wise. When we need to, let’s call out the lies, embrace the truths, and move forward with confidence.

This article  also published on the Huffington Post Women.

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