A Quest for Sanity

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On a regular basis I live in complete contrast of my own Self, but lately I have really tried hard to combine my polarity into one body/mind/spirit.  It hasn’t been easy, but I have found that it has really set people on edge a bit.  We get used to others acting a certain way and it comforts us when we know we can count on them to behave just as we expected them to act.  But for me, lately, I’ve really delved into a ‘minimalist’ belief system, which makes compartmentalizing myself (myselves?) is too much work. 

For instance, recently my significant other asked me if he should buy something that was fairly expensive.  I totally appreciate the fact that he let me in on the entire process instead of running out a spending the money, and when I told him I was fine with his decision to make the purchase, I was surprised at what happened next.  He kept asking me if I thought he should do it.  “Did I not say ‘Go for it!'”?

I was faced with the same type of dilemma twice this week – one from a coworker, another from my mother.  I simply listened and didn’t extract an opinion or offer any advice.  I know I annoyed both with my constant answer of “What do you want to do?” when they asked “What do you think I should do?”

The point is…a step I’m taking to minimize the drama factor in my life, as well as simplify it, is to not own what isn’t mine to own.  This is why therapy is so helpful 🙂  I have learned I do not have to take responsibility for someone else’s actions…nor do I constantly have to repeat myself to be heard.  One of the above mentioned people said “You don’t seem to be very supportive” while another one just got pissed and stopped really speaking to me.  When I questioned the first one on why it seemed I wasn’t supportive the answer I got really comes down, translated by me,  to the fact that all these people are used to me being a control freak and telling everyone what to do.  But stepping back, not owning their issue, and refusing to accept responsibility for decisions that aren’t mine to make…I felt more in control than ever.  The point is…they didn’t know how to handle my lack of bossiness, even though, in reality, I was totally being more supportive than ever.  In fact, by not making the decisions for them or giving them advise or using the dreaded ‘should’ word (You SHOULD blah blah blah which really translate into “Live your life like I live mine and all will be well.”)…I could sleep at night.

So the point of today’s post is to relay what I’ve done so far on my quest to regain my sanity as I relate to my true Self.  I hope you can learn from the following:

1)  Don’t take it personally.  I couldn’t understand why someone I love and support would say “You don’t seem very supportive” but when I stepped back and ‘wore’ that statement for a while I realized 1) That’s ludicrous.  I’m extremely supportive…which led to…2) Don’t take that personally – its them, not me.

2)  Don’t own someone else’s issue.  Probably the most beneficial statement I learned to say outloud – and actually believe – is “That sounds like your issue, not mine.”  I’ve used it twice with my S.O. – quickly gaining an apology – and I say it under my breath every damn day at work.  Recently someone said to me “I bet you wish I’d just die” which made me think “Wow!  If you knew me at all you’d know thats the last thing I’d wish on anyone…so that sounds like an issue you have to deal with, not one that’s my problem.”  God…how wonderfully freeing.

3) Silence is not to be feared.  This is probably the hardest for me.  To not say anything at all, or worse, to say “What do you want to do?” when asked “What should I do?” is HARD for a type A virgo problem solver control freak.  But I felt sooooo good after I said it that I’m going to keep saying it.  Get used to it.

In retrospect, maybe I should have told these people I was making a change.  But that’s the beauty in change.  You never realize its taking place until one day you hop out of the cocoon believing you are dirt bound and sudddenly, you can fly.  It’s so much better than crawling, wormlike, on the ground.  Trust me, its also a lot more humorous.



Life at the speed of light…

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I’ve been reading a lot lately about how a fast paced lifestyle is actually very unproductive (Thank you, Leo).  With my background and education in business, I find it interesting how much emphasis hiring managers place on the  ‘ability to multi-task’ as if it is some magical skill one must possess in order to be effective.  Actually, research has determined those who multi-task continuously are LESS productive than someone who can focus on one task at a time.

I admit, I can manage multiple projects and even multiple lifestyles effectively.  I am a massage therapist, a life coach, and a data manager at a local hospital.  I find I get bored very easily with one project so I move to another and I am more fulfilled throughout the day.  I could NEVER sit and do data entry all day long for 8 hours every day of my life.  I would die from boredom.  But, I used to be exhausted after work and still feel like I accomplished absolutely nothing in a 10 hour period of time.

But recently, I have not been multi-tasking, even when I am managing multiple projects.  I have been creating task lists every day, and working a task until I’m finished, or just can’t do it anymore that day.  And you know what…they are right.  I’m getting more done and I’m doing a better job.

I invite you to stop.  Breathe.  Pick one thing you want to accomplish today and work on that until it is finished.  Today, I’m just going to go get a haircut.  That’s all I’m going to do.  Everything else is a bonus, if I do something productive at all.  Normally, my weekend to do list would have, like, 15 things on it…and I’d accomplish a little of everything, but nothing would really get done.  So, today I get a haircut.  I may even take a little nap-a-roo. Tomorrow I vacuum the floors and sofas.  That’s my weekend.  What does yours look like??