Are you sick and tired of experiencing the same negative feelings, situations and thoughts? At times do you feel bitter and resentful for giving more than you want to? Remember that you are not only entirely capable, but in complete control of your life, even if you don’t realise it.
- Say No
Humans are great at supporting others on the whole; we love to help because it makes us feel good! If you say no, perhaps you worry it’ll upset or offend someone. God forbid! Saying yes to everything is the most power-sucking thing you can do. Take back your power and learn to say no, without assuming how the other person will react or feel. Say no to others and yes to yourself!
- Take back control of your thoughts
You have all the power you need at your fingertips, you just probably don’t believe it. It’s true that your life experiences impact on your behaviours and how you feel, as well as your beliefs and values. However they can change! Nothing in life is static and what was once helpful to you may no longer serve you.
First you need to pay attention to what thoughts come up; it’s a conscious process initially. Notice what you feel in your body and play around with that. How big is the sensation? Are there colours attached? How near or far is it from you? For unpleasant feelings, reduce the size, make it further away, change the sound or the colour – whatever you need to. This will help you discover more about what’s going on in your head and how you’re seeing the situation at present.
- Gain clarity and accuracy
We’re all great at making assumptions about life: what people think, what they will do, how they’ll react. Get clarity, and ask rather than assume. Yes I know you know certain people really well! But avoid making assumptions, people will often surprise you.
Asking questions is a great way to start. Saying things like “she won’t want to do that”, “he’ll leave me if I say that”, “she won’t be happy with me”, “I’ll hurt her feelings if I say I don’t want to go” won’t help you. Ask or simply say what you need to – respect yourself.
If someone doesn’t like your response, that’s for them to own, not you. Stop taking on responsibility for others, it’s not your job. Otherwise what you’re saying is, ‘what I want doesn’t matter and I’m going to compromise myself for you because I don’t care enough about myself’. You are worthy and you deserve to have your needs met and to make your own decisions without justification.
- Know your boundaries
So many of us do things out of habit, without thought or consideration for ourselves. Often we care far too much about what others think of us. If we think about that logically, do you really want someone in your life that walks all over you, doesn’t appreciate who you are or respect your wants and needs? If yes, then I’d say you have some deeper work to do.
What makes you compromise yourself and what is the benefit of doing that? Someone may like you for it, but if you are compromising who you are then that isn’t the real you. The implications of doing that over a long period of time are not positive.
Think about the people that do respect you and want to be your friend, partner or colleague even with all your boundaries in place. Surely that’s more desirable? Demonstrating what is and isn’t acceptable to you shows that you have respect for yourself. Write down what your boundaries are and be comfortable with implementing them – you’re worth it!
- Get perspective
Sometimes we make a small issue into something it’s not. We’re human, and when panic and anxiety set in, our thoughts get the better of us. I suggest finding something that makes sense to you and helps you get perspective (this may be different for each situation). For example, you are required to do a presentation to a group of people, perhaps thinking about your health and that of your family will help put the presentation into perspective. Perhaps it helps to think of people that are worse off than you. Whatever it is, get some perspective to reduce any fear or over-reaction. In no way are you undervaluing the importance of the presentation by getting perspective, just taking away any additional stress and worry that won’t help. Unnecessary fear and anxiety can make it hard to see things clearly.
- Know what’s out of your control
We all like an element of control in our lives, it helps us feel we have things in order and life is good. However, certain situations are out of our control. Look at what’s reasonable for you to achieve and then let go of how it will happen. For example, you need a job, you’ve registered with agencies, looked online, been to interviews but still nothing. You can continue with your searches but ultimately you can’t force someone to give you a job. Let go, and trust it will all happen as it’s meant to. Your need to know how is what will send you into a spiral of control and cause needless stress and anxiety, which of course you want to avoid. This takes practice and time but simply being mindful of this can be helpful. Find the best ways for you to let go and feel calm, whether that’s meditation, yoga, singing, boxing, deep breathing or something else.
- Look after yourself
People often say, “Take care of yourself”. What does that really mean? It means put yourself first (and no that isn’t selfish!). Take time, have a massage, invest in an interest or hobby. Whatever you need, schedule time in the calendar for you. These things aren’t rocket science but you need to understand what it is that’s stopping you doing it. Is it because you feel guilty? Saying you don’t have time isn’t a good enough reason. When we truly want something, we can achieve it. I highly recommend looking at what’s stopping you taking care of yourself. You deserve to be the very best you can be!
This is a big one, but it will free you! In all areas of your life, accepting what you cannot change will free you from pain and anguish. If you’re feeling anger, sadness or frustration, then accept it, all feelings are normal. To try to ignore them or bury them is naive and won’t help you in the long run. You will cope! With the right support around you, you’ll get through it. The funny thing is that it is so easy to make this less of an issue if you get our head around the fact that certain things happen in life. When we fight it, that’s when it can all go wrong. There is a reason for everything, berating yourself only adds to the already existing pain. If doing what you have always done is not serving you anymore, choose to change, and watch things unfold gracefully and turn out exactly as they should.
Jo Huey is a motivational speaker, author and healer who specialises in helping women that are or have been affected by someone else’s drinking. Jo is an adult child of an alcoholic, she offers products and services to raise awareness, inspire and motivate women for change.
Photograph provided by Jo Huey, credited to Berno Vierbergen