I want to live the richest life possible. Too often, though, my thoughts, actions and reactions keep me from achieving that objective. These behaviors have become so ingrained in my everyday life that I sometimes think they are just part of my personality. But I know they aren’t. They are unwanted habits that aren’t good for my soul or lead to a rich life.
Lately I have been working on decreasing negative thinking and behaviors with some success, though it’s still very much a work in progress and always will be. Today, I’d like to share a handful of things I am working on with the hope that, if you’re experiencing the same, my suggestions will help you as they have me.
Here are the 5 things to stop doing today!
1. Stop saying sorry when you’ve done nothing wrong.
Have you ever had someone bump into you and you say, “Sorry!” Or you’re in the middle of a sentence, someone interrupts you and you react by apologizing, as though you’re the one who has done something impolite.
Sorry indicates fault, responsibility and wrongness. There are many instances in which we say sorry that don’t even apply to the situation, let alone warrant an apology. This week, start noticing how often you say the S word. If you’re like me, you’ll be shocked by how often you blurt it out*. Reserve apologies to use only when applicable.
2. Stop Seeking Problems.
Humans are natural problem seekers. We are programmed to look for and anticipate trouble for our survival. Our cave-dwelling ancestors had to be constantly on the lookout for potential threats of the life-or-death variety, such as predatory animals, lack of water and shelter and enemy tribes. But a friend not returning your text in a timely manner, getting a frozen margarita when you specifically ordered rocks, slow wi-fi and a bad hair day are not life-or-death problems, or even problems at all. They’re small inconveniences.
Enough real problems will occur in your lifetime. You don’t need to seek out more. Put your problems in perspective and look at the big picture. Be grateful for all the problems you don’t have.
3. Stop Speaking Ill of Yourself.
Just about every woman I know, myself included, speaks ill of themselves in public from time to time.
“I look tired.”
“I‘m too old.”
“I need to lose this pudge.”
“My hair/skin/outfit/makeup looks terrible.”
Let’s stop doing that! First of all, it actively feeds your inner critic with a toxic dose of negativity. Secondly, it ruins convivial conversation. Thirdly, it turns the attention to you and not in a good way. And lastly, it makes the other person feel obliged to give you an ego boost. While I do have close friends I feel comfortable sharing these personal woes and struggles with privately, I strive to not make them part of everyday conversation.
If I can’t say something positive about myself in conversation, I avoid the topic.
4. Stop Being Mean to Yourself
How do you speak to your significant other? Your best friend? Your children? Your pets? The guy ringing you up at Whole Foods? I’ll bet you’re respectful to all and even kind, gentle and loving with some of them.
I sweet-talk my pets all day long. I tell my husband and my stepkids I love them frequently. I say please and thank you and am always aware of how I treat others – loved ones and strangers alike. But when it comes to talking to myself – in my head – it’s a totally different story. The things I say to me I would never say to someone I care about, respect and love.
While I am gentler to myself than I was when I was a young adult, I still don’t allow ME the same kindness that I give to others. Lately when I notice I’m being overly critical and even mean to myself, I stop and ask, “Would I say this to my husband, my friends or my dogs?” and the answer is almost always NO! Be just as kind and respectful to you as you are to others.
5. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
It’s true what they say about comparison. It’s the thief of joy. It’s also the squasher of dreams and the extinguisher of creativity. And it’s a complete and total waste of time.
Comparison brings with it lots of assuming. Assumptions about how hard someone worked for what they have, what risks they took, and what opportunities they were given. What I finally realized is it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. I’m going to do my personal best and be grateful that success in my area of interest is possible!
I found by simply paying attention to these thoughts and behaviors, I was able to curb and even stop some of them. Soon they held far less value and weight, which in turn made my life more rich.
Do you identify with any of these 5 things?
Which ones stand out the most for you?
Make it a rich day!
* Watch this thought-provoking video about saying sorry. It’ll make you think!