Have you ever heard of the Crab Effect? When live crabs are placed in a bucket, they will be in the bottom crawling around and inevitably, one crab will start crawling its way up out of the bucket to escape. As it does this, another crab will reach out to it and pull it back down. This happens over and over and over again - one crab starts trying to crawl itself up out of the bucket, and the next one will pull it down. If they just let the crab crawl itself out to freedom! But they don’t.
There is a theory that we, as a society, act similar to the crab effect. Depending on who we surround ourselves with, we will subconsciously stay at their level. Rather than pull each other up, we pull each other down. This is why it is so important to carefully select who we choose to spend our time with. Our fab five, or the fabulous five people that we are closest to, will influence us in ways we don’t even realize.
Take a look around at other people’s fab fives. What do you notice?
Successful people hang out with other successful people. Partiers hang out with other partiers. 9-5ers associate with other 9-5ers. CEOs play golf with other CEOs. We naturally gravitate towards people who are in a similar life stage and level of success that we are in.
So when we are frustrated with the lack of progress we have in our lives, we should look at our own fab five, at who we spend the most time with and ask ourselves some questions:
We may not even realize it, but over time, we start picking up on other people’s values, ways of thinking, and behaviors. Think about it. How much of what we believe was shaped by what our parents taught us? What we know about what is right or wrong, good or bad…where did that come from? How did we start thinking that way?
It’s been said that you are the average of the 5 people closest to you. Yikes! The AVERAGE.
So if we want more of something in our lives, we have to surround ourselves with people that have what we want. We have to force ourselves to get out of our comfort zone and reach out to the CEO, the banker, the home owner, the entrepreneur that we look up to and admire.
In the comments below, tell me , who is in your Fab Five?
Confidently Making Things Happen
I have heard it been said that there are two kinds of people in this world. Those who confidently believe they can make things happen. And those who confidently believe things happen to them.
Those that think they can make things happen are committed to the idea that the outcome of their lives is in their own hands. And they wouldn’t have it any other way.
The others take more of a sidelines / warming the bench approach—they sit around and wait for the Coach to notice them and call them up to play.
Psychologists have studied this and have learned that overwhelmingly, the people who are Confidently Making Things Happen feel that they control the events in their lives (more than the events control them) and are confident in their abilities. They end up doing better on nearly every important measure of performance in both their personal and professional lives.
In these studies, the individuals that were Confidently Making Things Happen were found to do the following:
For Better or for Worse
Of course, when things are going smoothly and sales are rolling in, nearly all of us believe we can take on the world. The difference is that the Confidently Making Things Happen group don’t get overwhelmed. No matter if they work on the production floor or in the C-suite – when s$%^ hits the fan, and it always will, they don’t get overwhelmed.
Just like us, the Confidently Making Things Happen group feel intense stress and anxiety when hard times come their way.
But they view this anxiety through a different lens.
Since the Confidently Making Things Happen group believe that they have control over the outcomes in their lives, their anxiety:
Whether the Confidently Making Things Happen group find themselves looking at a depleting bank account, being on the receiving end of a scathing performance review, or staring yet another college rejection letter in the face, they refuse to wave the white flag and give up. Instead, they redouble their efforts.
What is Happening?
Here’s the deal. Anxiety is a necessary emotion. Our brains are hard-wired such that it’s difficult to take action until we feel some level of anxiety (also called stress). Studies have proven that our performance peaks under moderate levels of anxiety.
Key word: moderate.
What the Confidently Making Things Happen people do is keep their anxiety within optimal levels in order to achieve top performance.
Intellectually we all know too much stress is bad for us. Our emotional health suffers because we have complete meltdowns which impact our self esteem and the relationships around us. Our physical health suffers because our bodies are tense, uptight, rigid. We hold on and hold on and hold on to all that stress. Meanwhile, our immune systems decline and we find ourselves getting frequent colds or worse.
So, we know all of this, but we STILL don’t do a great job of reducing our stress levels. What gives? How is it that we know stress is bad but we don’t do anything about it?!?!
As it turns out, researchers know why. What they found is that intense stress actually reduces the volume of gray matter in the areas of the brain responsible for self-control. As we deplete our self-control, we stop being able to cope with stress.
We are more likely to create stressful situations in our lives (such as overreacting to people). This has a tornado like effect, and as we experience greater and greater levels of stress, we can completely burn out (depression, obesity, dropping dead from a heart attack).
So What to Do?
The Confidently Making Things Happen people know that if we don’t have the tools in place to keep our anxiety in check, we will never realize our full potential.
So what do these people do? They know that stress and anxiety is going to happen. Instead of avoiding it, they get better at managing it. It’s inevitable that we will feel stress when facing difficult and uncertain situations.
We just need to follow the things that Confidently Making Things Happen do to keep their anxiety from taking over.
BRACE FOR CHANGE
FOCUS ON OUR FREEDOMS
THOUGHTS ARE NOT FACTS
ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Now I would love to hear from YOU! In the comments below, tell me, how will you start or have you been Confidently Making Things Happen?
I was hanging out on the beach one day, doing my usual thing. Packed my bag of books, water, sunscreen, and towels and headed out. I set up my chair and sat down to settle in for some much needed R&R. Then I took a look around. I started soaking it all in: the sun, the waves, the people. Kids burying their sisters in the sand, bros throwing footballs at each other, Moms & Dads telling their kids not to bury their sisters.
Ahhh, what a life.
As I sat there, I started thinking about why I noticed the things I was paying attention to. Here I was, just chilling on the beach with literally a thousand things I could look at and notice. Clouds, sailboats, seagulls, seaweed, sand. The opportunities were endless! There were so many things to pay attention to, but I was only looking at certain things and people.
So I decided to play a little game with myself. I wanted to see if I could direct my focus and concentration. I counted the number of things I saw that were red. I took a few minutes and really noticed and counted them all. Then I looked down at my book and tried to think of everything around me that was blue. There was probably a ton of blue, but I didn’t see it at all!
That is how our minds work, what we choose to focus on becomes our reality.
There are an infinite number of things that are all around us that we don’t see. Just like my game, what we choose to pay attention to is how we experience our life. We become totally oblivious to anything other than what we are focused on.
We could be surrounded by glitter, sunshine, and rainbows, but if we are only looking for red, then red is all we will see.
That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to what we think about. If we are only thinking of the things we don’t want, then that is all we will see and experience.
Take my friend Jamie. She loves her husband, but is totally annoyed by some of his habits. She hates that he plays video games. He sees it as a way to relax and unwind. So she tells herself, “yep, there goes Matt again, playing video games instead of helping me around the house.” Even if he had spent 2 hours that day cleaning out the garage or sweeping the floors, she is focused on his stupid video games. That is all she sees because that is all she is focused on.
Or my friend Jake, the real estate agent. Jake is so concerned with the lack of high paying clients in his area that he is convinced he will never make a sale. He’ll tell himself, “Another day, 5 showings and no one is biting. Once again, no closings.” Meanwhile, his colleague Mary is killing it with her eighth sale this month! What is the difference? Jake is focused on what he doesn’t want. Even though he had 5 showings in one day, which is awesome, he is convinced he won’t make a sale.
The universe will respond to what we focus on. We have to keep our eye on the prize.
If we keep paying attention to how we can’t find a job, we may overlook the awesome job opportunity that was posted because we are so convinced we can’t find a job. When we close ourselves off by focusing on what we don’t want, the universe responds.
Meanwhile, we are surrounded by countless amazing opportunities. If we choose to keep our eye on the prize we want, and believe that we have it, our thoughts and actions will lead us to it.
Sooo….why would we think about anything other than what we want? Keeping our eye on the prize is the key to getting what it is we really want in life.
Now I would love to hear from you! In the comments below, tell me, what is the prize you have your eye set on?
it gives you something to do, but never gets you anywhere.
I was chatting with a friend the other day about the concept of worrying. As a reformed self-diagnosed compulsive worrier myself, I am intimately aware of the thoughts, feelings, and actions that worry can bring to our lives.
I am sure we can all guess the negative effects of worrying: it creates tension, poor sleep, irritability, fatigue, problems concentrating, and general unhappiness. The ironic thing is that if we are to look back over our lives, most of the things we worried about 10 years ago NEVER EVER EVEN HAPPENED.
What the heck? If worrying is so friggin’ unhealthy, then why do we do it?
From an evolutionary perspective, it is pretty easy to see WHY we worry. In order for us to survive as a species, we were consumed with things that we today take for granted. From finding food to finding cures for our diseases, we have solved most of our major survival problems for the most part.
But our brains haven’t caught up. We still have the inherent flight or fight mode and we also have more luxurious lives, leaving us time to sit around and worry about things that will never even happen or that may have already happened in the past.
Then there has to be SOME benefit to worry if so many of us do it, right? Yes. There are positive consequences. It helps you feel that you can plan for potential problems. It gives you a sense of control over the outcome of situations in your life. When our futures look uncertain to us, we think worrying can prevent something terrible from happening.
We think worrying helps us make sure that we don’t miss a flight, a work deadline, a friend’s birthday. We think worrying prevents us from getting sick, losing someone we care about, or screwing up at work.
The truth is that we can worry but we still don’t have control over whether these things might happen! We can’t deal with this uncertainty. So we worry. And we worry. And we worry. We use our crazy imaginations to make up every possible outcome – we get a sore throat and think we will die of cancer. We don’t hear from our children and we think they died in a car accident.
We worry because we think we can control something that is uncontrollable! Then it compounds itself when bad things DON’T happen when we DID worry. So we think “it’s a good thing I worried, because it didn’t happen. If I hadn’t worried, the bad thing might have happened!”
So it becomes a fun worry loop that perpetuates itself. And goes around and around.
How can we change this worry loop? There are 4 things that we can do to get off the rocking chair worry loop:
Worrying is just a bad habit. It will take practice to worry less but you can do it. It will require commitment. Just when we are determined to leave our worries behind, our mind will almost certainly return to the worry cycle. Our thoughts will return to our worries, just as our minds will wander from the breath when we meditate. We can set an intention, and then return to it when we notice our mind has drifted. We can't eliminate all worries, but we can choose where we direct our attention.
So now I ask you, command joy community – what do you find yourself worrying about and what steps can you make to change? I look forward to reading your comments below!
It was a hopeful Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago and I had no plans, no commitments, no obligations for the day. Since this rarely happens, I thought “hmmm…what do I want to do today?”
I decided to take a trip to the zoo. While I expected to walk around, see some cool elephants and monkeys, gain some stories and take some pictures, what I gained was much different. Very different. What I didn’t expect to gain was the lesson the animals were about to teach me around the importance of play.
As I wandered around the zoo, from one site to the next, I watched the animals interact with one another. At the gorilla exhibit, I watched as one gorilla was wrestling with another gorilla. As they were chasing after each other, running around in circles and then playfully grabbing at each other, the entire crowd burst out laughing. It was hilarious and loving to watch how they socialized. Then, I headed over to the lion exhibit, and I couldn’t believe it but the same thing was happening there! The lions were playing around with each other too! One lion was a total instigator. He would sneak up behind another lion and when that lion turned around, he would run away. They would eventually catch each other and start wrestling. It was hilarious.
That’s when I thought, what happens to us as adults? We start out playing with each other as kids, we live for our recesses, then what happens? Why do so many of us stop playing and goofing around?
We need to take a note from the animal kingdom.
More and more research suggests that healthy playtime leads to healthy adulthood. Scientists are finding that play is important to adults as a way of reducing stress and contributing to our overall well-being. Research has shown that we are all wired to play. In fact, we actually need it in our lives.
Play is a basic human need as essential to our well-being as sleep. When we’re low on play, our minds and bodies notice. The lack of play shows up: we get cranky, rigid, complacent, stuck in a rut. We may even start to feel like victims of life.
We can turn this around by starting to bring play into our daily lives.
So, what exactly is play?
By definition, play is " a particular act or maneuver in a game." Like when a game is “in play.” It is further defined as "recreational activity; the spontaneous activity of children," as well as "the absence of serious or harmful intent" and "a move or series of moves calculated to arouse friendly feelings."
Play has been found to help us out at work. When we are working, playfulness speeds up learning, enhances productivity, and increases job satisfaction. Team building events, joking around with one another, even making a game of your mundane to do list by trying to see how quickly you can get it done. This all leads your brain to think healthier and happier which translates to higher productivity.
Good news, it helps us out at home too! When we are at home, playing together can enhance bonding and communication. From playing board games with one another to watching movies, being together in a playful state can ease tension and stress, enhancing longevity of our lives.
And of course, physical activities equal play to our brains. From joining a tennis club, kickball team, or dance class, any sort of group exercise can release dopamine and have long term healthy impacts.
From the boardroom to the board games, play helps us maintain our well-being.
Now I would love to hear from you! In the comments below, tell me…in what ways are you going to play today?
A lot us live out our lives in the day to day, completely oblivious to the power that lies within each of us. If we are lucky enough to work or go to school, we may experience our day’s routines almost like we are on autopilot, going through the same motions day after day after day after day.
Like a balloon that has been let go in the air, we are just floating through our lives.
Some of us may be totally content with the way our lives are. Others may be frustrated by our lack of progress. Maybe we haven’t experienced the level of financial, relationship, or professional success that we want.
Little do we know, we can change.
Most of us don’t realize that we have power within our minds that, if channeled and released, like letting go of a balloon, could change our lives completely. If we are poor and sick all the time, we dream of being wealthy and healthy. When we are unhappy, we hope and pray for happiness to find us. The majority of us live lives of hopes, wishes and dreams, without knowing that we are in control of an inner power that is far greater than all of these things!
It makes sense why so many of us think it would be really, really hard to think positively when we are up against one problem after another. There are times when we are in a circumstance that is outside of our control. It is easy to see how we become depressed and sad when we keep coming up short, again and again and again. It is all very well meaning when people tell us “Oh, just think positively! Just be positive and your life will turn around!” But let’s say we are at a financial breaking point. Let’s say we have to live with 2 other people in a one room apartment and are working 12 hour shifts a day to keep our kids fed, coming home physically exhausted and emotionally drained. It’s not that easy to tell us to just “think happy.” We are barely scraping by!
Similar to a balloon filling up with helium, the pressure and the stress gets bigger and bigger until we are just about to burst.
When we lack confidence, we are unable to think anything good about our lives. If we have lived a lifetime of ups and downs, of unstable or abusive home environments that created instability and fear within us, it can be insulting to hear that we should just think our way into happiness. When we have spent years or decades living with negativity, and that is all we’ve ever known, it is a different kind of conversation.
Here’s the deal. Changing the negative habits of a lifetime is extremely difficult, but it is certainly not impossible. We can teach ourselves to release the balloons.
When we are in the middle of our mental self-created despair and panic, there is a way to free ourselves. We have to realize that it is a lot like letting go of a balloon, these dark emotions have no real connection with our problems other than the connection we make with them.
The way out of this mess is to create balloons in our mind and set them free, floating off into the sky. Here’s how it works:
So now I want to hear from YOU! In the comments below, let me know, what balloons are you going to release today?
The secret to living a life full of purpose is to find our very own sweet spot. It is surprisingly easy to do.
A few years ago, I visited the city of Bakersfield, CA. My purpose in being there was to interview local entrepreneurs for a piece titled “The True Spirit of the West” that I was writing in a local news journal. The first person I was meeting with was a 35 year old woman named Lyndsey. She had just launched a new business and I was planning to talk to her about it. I was interested in understanding how she found the courage to go out on her own. Walking in, I expected it to go like most of my interviews. I would hear her story, get a better understanding of who she was, and learn when her tipping point happened.
I was curious to understand at what point she had her “that’s it, I’ve had enough” moment that gave her the courage to walk away from her current situation and boldly go out on her own.
Instead of getting the story, something unexpected happened. I walked away with a new, brilliant, actionable idea of what it means to follow your path.
As Lyndsey started talking, she shared how she was feeling. She was scared. Two months prior, she had quit her longstanding, stable job as an elementary school teacher. She had worked for the school district for over a decade and it was the only type of work she had ever known.
But, in the last couple of years as a teacher, something changed. She noticed a shift in her attitude. Instead of being excited and eager to go to work, she found herself starting to dread it. She was waking up in the middle of the night feeling anxious.
A typical evening for her would go like this:
She would wake up in a cold sweat, heart racing, with an overwhelming feeling of anxiety. She would jolt up quickly, shaking uncontrollably. She found that during these episodes, she couldn’t go back to sleep. She would lie awake for hours, trying to clear her mind of all the racing thoughts. Lyndsey would try to understand the source of the abrupt startle in the middle of the night. When she took a closer look, she found herself ruminating. There were endless thoughts that were pouring through her mind:
Night after night, she couldn’t understand why this was happening. Why was it so freaking hard for Lyndsey to just get a good night’s sleep? The loss of sleep always meant that the next day she was a total wreck. Exhausted, tired, cranky. She couldn’t perform her best at work when she was like this and she was no fun to be around. Lyndsey didn’t understand why she couldn’t be like every other normal person in the world and just sleep through the night?!?!
Finally, she had enough. She was so over this.
So, she decided to do something. She went to her doctor. Telling him the situation, he thought she might be depressed and may be suffering from a chemical imbalance in her brain. He recommended that she see a psychiatrist. “This is insane” she thought to herself. As she was telling me the story, she said that she had always been a happy, sweet, outgoing woman! She wasn’t depressed. This couldn’t be what was happening!
It had to be something else.
Wanting to learn more, she went to the psychiatrist. He diagnosed her with anxiety and depression. What?!? Anxiety? But I am not anxious, Lyndsey thought. This isn’t me, this isn’t the way I am wired. I am a content, calm, peaceful individual. This isn’t right and it isn’t me.
He prescribed her anti-anxiety medication that would help her get through the night. But this was not what she wanted. She didn’t think that drugging herself out into a numb state was the answer. She said no to the medicine and instead endured more sleepless nights.
The next thing that happened changed the course of her life forever.
She picked up a book a friend recommended about depression and anxiety. The book talked about exactly what she was going through. It explained that people often overlook their jobs as the source of their discontent. It mentioned how being unhappy at work was caused by three key things:
As she read the book, she started to think that maybe there was something there. There had been quite a few changes in the last couple of years at work. She had a new boss that she didn’t exactly love. Her school curriculum had changed dramatically. It was no longer about educating children but instead it was about making sure they passed their standardized tests. That was now how teachers were evaluated and she didn’t agree with it.
The cause of her problem, she realized, was based on her unhappiness at work. Her job no longer aligned with her values or beliefs.
So now what?!?! That’s great and everything, but it’s not like she could just stop working! Lyndsey had bills to pay!
In the book she was reading, it talked about the concept of finding out your reason to live. The idea was that to have a fulfilled life, you ask yourself 3 key questions. Use the answer to those 3 questions as the direction to your reason to live.
The trick is to understand where there is overlap – the sweet spot is where the reason to live is.
Lyndsey did this exercise and learned what her sweet spot was. She loved to teach and to educate. This came really easy for her and she really enjoyed working with children. So she wanted to do that but in a way that she could be in control. So she set up an after school program for kids to help them in the areas of math & science. She is still getting to teach, she is still getting to interact with kids, but she is in control.
Now I’d love to hear from you. What is YOUR sweeeet spot and how did you find it? Share in the comments below!
When we expand our sense of time, we can create a hopeful future for ourselves.
In studying extremely depressed people, those with suicidal thoughts, there was a commonality. They had no vision for their future. Their sense of time was distorted. They could only see what was right in front of them and right behind them. They were filled with worry and obsession about what happened in the past and what was happening now. While they were feeling awful, they couldn’t see a way beyond the terrible thoughts or feelings they were having in the moment.
When asked where they saw themselves the next day, the next month, the next year, they answered “I have no idea.”
The depressed group couldn’t see who they, as individuals, were going to be years from now. It was like their future had disappeared. Their only sense of time was the pain and darkness they were currently experiencing.
Extremely depressed people lose their sense of time and their idea of a stable future. When we are feeling depressed or down, we think that we don’t have a future.
When depressed, we feel that we have no control over our lives. We isolate ourselves, we blame ourselves, we let the voice in our heads tell us that life has no meaning and there are no reasons to try.
We don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. We don’t see a way out.
When we are depressed, we may live in a constant state of anxiety that is fueled by this feeling that nothing is going to change. We lose all hope that we can expand our sense of time and get past our current drama. We go to our jobs and have the feeling that we may get fired at a moment’s notice. If we are in a relationship, we think that every disagreement means that the person is going to leave us. We can only see what is right in front of us, in these depressed moments. We lose our sense of time because we can’t see past today.
Healthy people may feel like crap some days, but they know it isn’t forever. They have a sense that it is only temporary.
Getting past our pain and understanding that it is temporary and not forever is the key to start feeling like things can get better.
If we spend our energy thinking about where we want to be a month, a year, or 10 years from now instead of focusing on what we don’t have today, we expand our sense of time by asking ourselves:
Feeling depressed doesn’t mean we are crazy. We aren’t broken. We aren’t defective.
Our societal expectations and norms show that everything is sunshine, perfect, and blissfully happy all of the time. Social media doesn’t help. People only post the good stuff. They could be dying on the inside, behind closed doors, but you wouldn’t even know.
We have to be careful with social media when we are feeling bad. It’s best to stay away.
Expanding our sense of time means looking forward to the future, past our present circumstances.
So tell us in the comments below, how are you going to expand your sense of time today?
We all use The Great Shield to protect ourselves. It is a veil that covers our deep secrets underneath. From the professional show we put on to cover up our true dislike for our jobs to the public image we project so that people will like us, we are all walking around with a certain lack of authenticity that is The Great Shield.
It’s not our fault.
It’s ingrained in us from an evolutionary standpoint. You see, humans, alone, by themselves, are relatively weak. We have to rely on other people in order to survive or we would die. We need one another to find food, to make shelter, to reproduce. That’s why we feel things like loneliness if we are alone for too long. It’s because we have learned that if we cooperate with each other and create social groups, we have a bigger chance of survival. In cooperative social environments, within a functioning society where we are contributing to the world and making connections to people, we thrive. Over time, we started to behave in certain ways within these groups that eventually formed our moral compasses.
This is when The Great Shield first showed up.
Through our understanding of what is right and wrong, we created acceptable ways to act. Our outward behaviors were The Great Shield that we didn’t necessarily believe in or agree with. The Great Shield was often re-enforced by rewards. We were told we were “good” or “bad” when we acted a certain way. We saw that the people who behaved the correct way and functioned well in such environments, survived. Eventually, we created a set of morals and social motives like empathy and shame.
The Great Shield became a permanent part of who we were.
The reason that we often feel like we aren’t being our true selves in our jobs, in our relationships, and in our friendships, is because we are living behind The Great Shield. We are acting out someone else’s definition of what is right and what is wrong.
Humans are extremely adaptable. We have figured out ways to use The Great Shield to show others that we can fit into our environment.
We put up The Great Shield by doing a few things:
We get used to putting up The Great Shield.
Eventually, we become so attached to The Great Shield that we become completely unaware of our real beliefs and values. So we simply disengage from our own emotions. Behind The Great Shield, we no longer recognize our emotions when we feel them. We dismiss our true feelings as unimportant. We become incapable of expressing emotions that are outside the socially approved spectrum.
Not talking about what we are feeling is killing our relationships.
From my experience, I see that The Great Shield is responsible for a lot of breakups, divorces, and employee terminations. What happens is that one person in the relationship has put up The Great Shield and is not open to the emotional needs of the other person or they have trouble dealing with their own emotions.
So we don’t talk about it. We stay quiet. We let the tension build.
The Great Shield stays in place and we lie to ourselves that we have no problems, no difficult emotions to deal with. We would rather stay hidden behind The Great Shield than deal with the truth.
What is The Great Shield for you? Can you name what it is hiding?
Do you have the courage to take down The Great Shield and show the world the beautiful, wonderful, amazing person that hides behind it?
The truth is that you are strong enough to take down The Great Shield! You can feel the pain and sadness. You don’t have to ignore it. You can lower The Great Shield and let yourself be seen for who you really are.
We all need to express ourselves. This isn’t a luxury, this is an absolute necessity. To be fully free and completely ourselves, we must feel comfortable enough to outwardly express our emotions. Whatever form they may take.
When we deny our feelings, we are denying our truth. If we aren’t living truthfully, then what kind of life ARE we living?
Most of us grew up believing that expressing hurt, disappointment, frustration, or anger was wrong. When we are sad, our parents tell us to be happy. When we are negative, we are told to look on the bright side. If we cry, we are considered weak. If we get mad, we are ignored. When we are upset, we are told we aren’t supposed to feel that way. Our society only re-enforces this. Schools & companies ask us to be positive, play nice, and get along with everyone.
We are told that we can’t let other people control our emotions. Which is true, but that doesn’t stop the feelings from showing up! Social personas of being sweet and kind and friendly are everywhere and only work to reinforce the false appearance of having it all together. Families strive to show the world they have a perfect life with happy, healthy kids. Homes are built and made to look like the most beautiful on the block.
This can lead some of us to start internalizing our emotions. That’s where the problems come in. As we get older, we start to perfect the internalization of our emotions. We can start to feel resentment which is often covering up the fear we have of truly expressing ourselves.
We start denying our feelings, and telling ourselves that any negativity we feel or experience is bad. If someone does something that hurts us, we feel it deep inside our bodies, but we say nothing. We instead start to feel resentment toward that person, that thing, that whatever that evoked that emotion inside of us.
In some ways, ignoring our feelings has its advantages. If we keep our feelings hidden and unexpressed, then we don’t have to risk messing up our relationship with that person. We don’t have to deal with the confrontation, the misunderstandings that might arise. We can avoid, ignore, and keep moving. Not dealing with the confrontation is fear driven.
So what if we look past the fear? If we take a closer look, we may see that the fear is really us avoiding potential rejection. If we do decide to speak up, we may be faced with something that we think we can’t handle.
This fear can stop us in our tracks. It can prevent us from truly expressing ourselves. Our fear of rejection can act like fuel to a fire. Maybe one time in the past we found the courage to tell someone how we felt and let them know how they hurt us, and maybe it didn’t end well. A bad experience combined with social conditioning of having to always act happy teaches us to be quiet. To say nothing. So we don’t. We don’t want to hurt someone, we don’t want them to not accept us, so we suffer in silence. We become scared to express ourselves.
The thing is that everyone needs to express themselves! It must be done. To be fully free and completely ourselves, we must feel comfortable enough to say what we have to say. There are healthy ways we can learn to do this.
1)Feel the emotion
So yes, it is true that we can’t control what other people do and that the only control we do have is how we respond and react to it. When we decide to express ourselves fully, we become more confident, stronger, and more aware. With self-expression comes truthfulness. That is living our best lives.