Are you at a point in your life where you’re constantly frazzled, burning the candle at both ends and can barely fire two synapses together because you are on emotional overload? You’re being pulled from all sides….the boss has you on an impossible deadline and so far the only thing that you’ve managed to produce is a case of the heebie jeebies (but who can afford to be out of work in this economy?). Your kids are convinced that you have tentacles that can extend and retract at will. Your significant other (an otherwise bright and intelligent person) becomes befuddled when it’s time to load a dishwasher and the mere mention of housework makes them apoplectic.
The irony of it all, is that you are stressing because of someone else. Don’t get me wrong we all have obligations, both professional and familial. While your hands may be somewhat tied when it comes to your livelihood, it does not have to be the case anywhere else. Unless that’s how YOU want it to be. A lot of the pressures that we feel come from external forces. We’re supposed to have an immaculate home, perfect robotic children, run the daily car pool like clockwork and fix seven dinners a week that would make Wolfgang Puck jealous. We are too busy living the life that others expect, in fact, demand of us.
Luckily, there is a way to get off of the crazy train. By giving yourself permission to orchestrate your life in a way that is meaningful to you, you can reclaim your sanity. Here are a few tips to get you closer to that goal.
Ok, maybe it’s not as dramatic as it sounds, but some of us give our undying devotion to a job that will easily be given to another drone as soon as you’re gone. Sometimes, we sacrifice so much to get ahead without much thought as to where that might lead.
It may be worth the trouble to take a step back and decide what it is that you truly want or need from your employer or employment. Is it really worth working 15 hour days when you can’t even find the time to enjoy your earnings? There’s a reason why it’s lonely at the top; most people realize the price that you have to pay to get there.
Let go of control
No one likes to feel as if they are puppets and have no say regarding matters that directly impact them. But sometimes, to coin a phrase, you have to pick your battles. You have to decide what is worth fighting for and what you must let go because you can no longer allow it to have power over you.
You can’t go through life getting pissed off about everything that doesn’t happen to go your way. If you do, you will end up spending years, literally, being angry at the world because guess what? Not everything is within the realm of your control. Stuff happens. Deal with it or it will deal with you and not in a healthy way either.
A little dirt can wait until tomorrow, it will not cause the world to end
Oh, I remember it well. I used to pride myself in having a spotless home. My greatest avocation was in keeping it clean and immaculate. In retrospect, I believe that I did it for others more than myself. My ears would delight in hearing the various compliments from friends and family who would rave about my Suzy Homemaker skills. I would never go to bed with anything out of place. Can you imagine what a barrel of laughs I must have been to live with?
Eventually, I learned that a little dirt never hurt anyone. My house looks more lived in these days. It is no longer a museum for germaphobes, it’s a home…a well used home that serves me…not the other way around.
Stop being a people pleaser and give up your disease to please
If I could recapture the years that I’ve spent worrying about what others thought of me and added them to the end of my life expectancy, it would be extended by a few decades. I won’t go into all of the useless meanderings about how stupid I was to care about people who probably wouldn’t spit on me if I were on fire, I will just say, if you are doing it now. Stop. It never leads to anything good. You are wasting precious time, that could extrapolate into years, if you let it.
Truth be told, people are probably too busy trying to live their own lives to care about what you are doing with yours. So, spending inordinate amounts of time ruminating, worrying or wondering what they think about you is such an exercise in futility. Focus on rebuilding or start to build self-esteem. The more you care about yourself, the less you care about how others perceive you and you will suddenly find that you have more time to be concerned about things that actually matter. Perhaps, you will begin to stop trying to live up to the expectations of others.
You want to be an artist in a village of doctors
Family expectations can be a %&@!*. If there is a historical lineage that traces your bloodline back to several generations of the same profession, don’t be surprised that the folks will be expecting you to follow suit.
If you share a similar goal…….Yay! But if your heart isn’t in it, don’t fake it just to appease others. The worst thing that you can do with your life is to allow yourself to become a carbon copy of someone else. Now, I can understand how declaring your independence could literally start another world war in the family, but ask yourself what sense it would make to utilize your higher ed to prepare for something you have no desire to do?
Even if it means that you will have to fund your education yourself, it will be money well spent it if means you get to determine your own fate. Remember: you don’t have to stifle your dreams to please others.
Discover the life-saving properties of the word, “No”
Contrary to popular belief, saying the word ‘no’ will not condemn your screaming soul into the bowels of hell. Whenever someone attempts to use guilt to get you to give in, they are playing dirty. That means all bets are off. You have the right to decide what is worthy of your time and attention and there is no shame in deciding to limit the number of activities or causes to get involved in. We all get the same 24 hours and good news for you, you get to decide how to spend it.
Now, it’s your turn. What sticky situations have you gotten yourself out of in order to reclaim your life? Please share your travails in the comment section.