What if things could be easier?

I have this belief about the people that we meet.

I believe that sometimes we meet people who may be in our lives for a few days, a few months or maybe for years and years but we meet them and they become reminders. They remind us of the way that things can be.

Maybe there is something in your life that is challenging, frustrating, difficult or stressful, the total opposite of easeful. Chances are, within your mind you know that things could or even should be different but you’re so used to the way that things are that you just allow them to remain.

Then all of a sudden you meet a person that shows you a different way. It can be shocking or surprising because you’re not used to it. Maybe you even judge it as being wrong or not the way that things should be because you’re so used to them being otherwise. Sometimes the ease of the situation is the very thing that you’ve been longing for but when you get it, you almost resist because you’ve gotten used to things being difficult .

I think that’s something a lot of people struggle with. So many people are used to things being difficult that they almost get hesitant when things become easier. Sometimes we unknowingly use the challenge and the difficulty to justify getting the thing we want. You end up feeling as though if you didn’t have to struggle to achieve something then you didn’t really deserve it. I think it’s healthy to let go of that mindset, not everything has to be difficult.

The mindset for starting over

When your life isn’t quite going how you anticipated. You might have the thought to start over. Often this takes a while to actually begin.

Starting over goes from being something scary that you choose to avoid (because you’d rather be unhappy with what you know than risk things being any worse if you try something new) to being something that is worth the risk.

The mindset goes from I’d rather stick with what I know and be miserable than venture out into the unknown to I’d rather venture out into the unknown than stick with what I know and be miserable.

As time passes, the value we place on familiarity in situations when we’re unhappy often decreases. It’s no longer considered worth it to stay in your current circumstances because if you’re unhappy now, the worst case scenario is starting over and still being unhappy. However, often things turn out significantly better.

Growth points

It could be difficult, challenging and uncomfortable. But it also serves as an opportunity to learn and grow, if you’re willing to be open.

If you’re a regular reader then growth points is a term you’ll have seen me use every now and then in posts such as Bravery and uncontrollable outcomes, Day 183, It’s okay to be you and Unexpected and interesting.

However, I recently realised that I’ve never really explained the term or idea in great detail. I made the term up for myself and to be honest it’s just an alternative to the word challenge. However, the focus is on growth and overcoming rather than the difficulty of the situation.

When you face a situation that perhaps in the moment you wish wasn’t happening, it’s easy to just think that ‘it’s the most terrible thing in the world’. You then might find yourself getting caught in a downward spiral of unhelpful thoughts that leave you feeling stuck.

That mindset or perspective that you find yourself in never leads to growth. You have to find a way to get through it and see things differently.

I think the getting through it part is most challenging because it can be easy to stay stuck. A moment of sadness can turn into hours or days of wallowing.

One thing that helps is to be very conscious in how you think about the situations that come up in your life instead if just getting caught up. Acknowledge it as a challenging situation rather than blowing it out of proportion and allowing one situation to become your entire life.

And from that perspective you can begin to think about how you can grow from it. The great thing is that once you grow from it, you can now take that lesson forward with you for as long as it serves you well. Then next time something happens you can fall back that all that you’ve previously experienced, learnt and grown from.

If you have to ask…

…you probably already know the answer.

Sometimes when you ask questions, you’re not looking for an answer, you’re looking for confirmation on what you’ve already decided or you want someone to tell you what you want to hear. This is why you end up frustrated with how the person responds, you didn’t get the answer that you wanted.

For the person on the other end they’re simply being honest. As much as you may favour a particular response, there’s not much point in asking a question if you’ll only be satisfied when things go your way.

You have to learn to ask the question and accept that things could go either way. You can begin implementing this by learning to give people the space to be open without judgement and then placing honesty above things going your way.

Getting unstuck

Often when we feel stuck or stagnant in life it’s because we aren’t doing the thing that we know we should be doing.

We’re living in a particular place when that we’ve now outgrown, we’re going to places out of habit doing things that we once enjoyed even though we’re no longer having fun or we’re eating things that don’t make us feel good even when we know better.

Often when we’re in these situations we’re unable to see what the issue is or what may be worth changing. It’s also much easier to complain about how you feel than it is to take active steps to make your life better. You might be bored, unfulfilled and feel empty yet you do nothing about it and sometimes that’s because you haven’t even figured out what needs to change.

That’s not like you

We grow up carrying around certain beliefs, ideas and perspectives. We have things that we tell ourselves we wouldn’t do. It could be anything from playing sports to wearing false nails, hiring a cleaner to watching stand up comedy.

These aspects help shape the kind of people we end up becoming.

However, sometimes we reach a crossing where we want to explore other aspects of ourselves without the limitations we had previously used to form our identities.

Perhaps you now want to try something that conflicts with the ideas or beliefs of your past.

It could be something that appears small to others yet for you this change almost feels like a betrayal. It means you’re no longer the person you thought you were/would be.

It’s especially difficult when you start becoming or experimenting with things that you associate with the kind of person you used to judge and make negative assumptions about.

The importance of introspection

Sometimes taking the time to understand yourself can help you start to understand others.

In particular when it comes to interactions and exchanges not turning out how you’d hoped or think they should. The disclaimer for what is to follow is that of course you don’t need to internalise and understand someone treating you poorly. This is more about having unrealistic expectations based on a false perception of reality.

If you find yourself caught up in thinking about the way a person should have acted in a situation or what they should have said, question it, where are the expectations coming from.

You may find that you’re so focused on the way that things should be, that you’re missing on what is actually happening.

An example could be that someone didn’t ask for your advice on something you had spoken to them about. Your initial reaction may be to feel hurt or annoyed because you feel like they should have spoken to you. But as important as it is to acknowledge your feelings, it’s important to acknowledge the feelings of others.

Ask yourself, why would this person not come to me? It could simply be that they went to someone else instead but you have a habit of berating their choices or trying to make them do what you think is best rather than trust their own judgment.

It’s so easy to just look at things on the surface and get annoyed at the other person but making a little time for introspection might help you see things differently.

Then you can decide how or if you want to change. For example, you could decide to work on telling people what you think is best without pressuring them to do what you think is right.

On the other hand, you could decide to do nothing at all, to stay just as you are. But you can’t continue to get annoyed at people when the problem is you.

And it’s not about getting caught in a spiral of blame, it’s about being aware of your interactions with other people and then figuring out how you can improve them.

Avoidance

Avoidance is temporary.

You might feel like you’ve managed to escape when you put it off for another day. However, that’s not quite how it works, it hasn’t gone away.

What you don’t do today will still be there tomorrow. It’ll be there until you decided to face it, or it faces you.

And so you’d be much better off preparing yourself as best as you can instead of putting it off.

Delays and daydreams

I believe that it is possible to attain the things you want in you life, the kind of things that you daydream about. I believe this because it’s happened in my own life. However, what I often find is that there’s a delay but the delay isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Sometimes we need to give ourselves time to grow and develop before our daydreams become reality.

And in that time of growth and development and it can be easy to start to beleive that what you want won’t happen or you may end up just forgetting about it altogther.

Then at some point after months or years have gone by, you suddenly realise that something currently happening in your life used to be part of your daydreams.

Rewriting the memory

When we have negative experiences associated with certain events we tend to avoid those experiences moving forward. I think that’s a totally normal reaction because of course you don’t want to keep having bad experiences.

However, what can end up happening is that you limit yourself in the future. You avoid things that will help you grow and develop as a person.

Let’s say growing up you had a bad experience with public speaking. You didn’t feel confident, stumbled over your words, forgot what you wanted you say and ended up feeling really embarrassed. Based on that experience you decided that you’d never do public speaking again. You now associate it with feeling uncomfortable and you don’t think it’s something you could ever be good at so you actively avoid it.

It’s gotten to the point that now just the thought of speaking in public is enough to fill you with anxiety.

A whole decade could have passed by yet you’re still deeply impacted by the feelings associated with a past memory.

In this situation, I think the only way to overcome it is to do the thing that scares you. Of course it might not go swimmingly but being embarrassed or forgetting your words isn’t the worst possible thing that could happen you . It’s not good but it could be so much worse. I think changing the way you think about a situation not turning out perfectly is so important.

Focus on just being able to do it and get through it without all the extra pressure of being perfect. Try, try and try again even if it means feeling a bit uncomfortable and being a little awkward.

In time, you go from associating public speaking with being fear and embarrassment to it being a way to express yourself.

Doing this allows you to eventually rewrite the memory associated with that experience.