“Happiness is directly related to the amount we are growing.” Lewis Howes
What would your mood be like if you woke tomorrow to learn that you’ve accomplished everything you’re going to accomplish, that you’ve had all the experiences you’re going to have, that you won’t be learning anything new about yourself or the world we live in? Sure, you might have an initial burst of relief to think: “ah, no more hardships, no more struggle!” However, after spending some time lying in bed watching netflix, then what? You’ll get up and move forward in your days in a semi-depressed state, as if in a fog.
Huh….come to think of it, that might be where many of us are now. We get to mid-life, and think: “Is this it? I have done what I’ve set out to do in life: the house, the kids, even the dog! Yet I feel flat. What’s going on?” I’ll tell you what’s going on. You’ve fallen into the “Good Enough Trap”.
What’s the “Good Enough Trap”? It’s whenever you tell yourself some piece of your life is “good enough” and then proceed to “should” on yourself. Here are some examples of the “Good Enough Trap”
->My mariage is good enough. I should be happy to have a husband who makes dinner and picks the kids up from soccer.
->My job is good enough. I should be happy to have a job in this economy and make the salary I make.
->My relationship with my kids is good enough. I should be happy that they’re healthy and doing well in school.
…..well, are you happy? Are you happy in that job? With the current state of your marriage? In your relationship with your kids? If you are, great! If you aren’t happy, then no amount of ‘should’ing’ on yourself will make you happy. Once we feel a feeling (disappointment, unhappiness, ennui), that feeling doesn’t go away until processed and action takes place. If you are walking around mildly disappointed with the way your life is currently playing out, throw out the thought: “My life is good enough.” Step back and look at the big picture. You are here for a reason. You have unique gifts that you can lend to this world. If you tell yourself things are good enough and ignore that inner rumbling in you saying that there’s more to this life than what you are currently experiencing, you’ll never share those unique pieces of you.
There is more and you have a responsibility to go get it. Yep, this isn’t all about changing those around us .This is about us. When you settle for good enough, you keep your awesomeness from the rest of us, from that job, from that marriage, from those kids. If our ancestors chose to think “life is good enough”, we wouldn’t have evolved to where we are today. We wouldn’t have the technology, the comforts, the knowledge that we do today. Try asking yourself: “Who are you NOT to grow?” Why do we reach an arbitrary point in life and decide that, that’s it; that’s ‘good enough’; that we don’t deserve better? There are many reasons and they are a bit different for each person but they stem from three main areas:
-beliefs we’ve been taught by our family,
-what our current friends say and do
-the media or news we listen to.
But hey, just because your mother or your BFF wants to run around stressed and in a fog doesn’t mean you have to. Sure, it is socially acceptable to run around saying we are anxious and too busy to take care of ourselves. However, while it is not as socially acceptable to stop to examine why we are stressed, why we are anxious, it feels a lot better to choose to do something about it.
“If we’re not growing, we’re slowly dying. Our happiness is related to our growth; and that’s related to our willingness to be afraid and step into our discomfort zone. If I’m not willing to be afraid, then I can’t grow. True courage then, would be the warrior feeling fear and going forward anyways.” JP Sears
In order to evolve as a species and for you to evolve as a person, we get to do hard things. Hard doesn’t mean massive or drastic. In fact, it’s better if you start small.
- If you want to feel more connected to your kids, put your phone down when they’re home and look them in the eyes as much as often as you can.
- If you want to feel more energized, turn off the TV and get your butt to bed.
- If you’re unhappy with the way your marriage is right now, send a daily text to your husband telling him what you love about him.
This isn’t about changing the behavior of others; it’s about you. You must take action for your life to change. Why? Happiness comes from inside. Emotional Intelligence 101: Events don’t create feelings. Our thoughts do. Consider the following situation/event and what three different women think about it:
Event: A husband comes home with flowers
Wife One: “Yay! He brought me my favorite lilies, what a compassionate man.”
Wife Two: “Idiot! I asked him to bring flowers yesterday for our dinner guests. He can’t get anything right”.
Wife Three: “Oh crap, guilty gift alert! What did he do this time?”
Take responsibility for how your thoughts shape your life. It is not what others are or aren’t doing that make you feel a certain way. It’s you. This is actually great news. You don’t have to accept stress, overwhelm, or anxiety as your normal state of being. Look at what is and isn’t working in your life and choose to do something.
It’s time my dear Warrior.
This is what Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Coaching is – teaching myself and others that our thoughts create our feelings which shape our reality. Realizing I get to choose which thoughts to focus on to feel a certain way. Do I sometimes find myself thinking thoughts that have me feel like crap and like a victim? For sure! The good news is, the more I practice and step into that discomfort, the less I blame others and the better I feel. Adulthood is work and I work on my thoughts and behavior every single day. Sometimes I’d rather not but when I don’t, I end up feeling as I described at the beginning of this blog. Why not start now?
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