Do you really prefer to suffer and be unhappy than change?
Don’t settle for mediocrity or unhappiness – discover how to restart you life.
Walking past the CBD boutiques, I noticed a sign in one of the women’s fashion stores that read: “If you can’t change your mind – you are not using it.” Perhaps they were referring to their refund and exchange policy, but in this case it made me think about how we use or don’t use our minds.
“Why do we hang on to some of unhelpful thinking patterns and beliefs that no longer serve us well?”
Why are we so focused on some of our unhelpful thinking patterns – and suffering as a result – rather than working towards changing them? We are often so stuck in our own way of living, without even questioning if our circumstances could be different, that we limit ourselves with our beliefs before we even try. We might not apply for a better job because we are focusing on potential barriers, we might not end a toxic relationship because of our fear that the next one will be even worse, and so we simply continue our life the way it is.
I know that it is not easy to take steps to change your life, but at the same time you owe it to yourself, at the very least, to get up and try. Start with something small, so if it is too risky to quit your job today and to follow your dream you can still begin creating healthier boundaries. Decide that you would like to have a different, more positive relationships, or to have a better self-care routine. Start with these three steps to give yourself more flexibility and decide how you want your life to be different – or better.
- What are you afraid of?
There is a theory that people are more likely to be motivated to avoid pain rather than gain pleasure. I think this might be true for many people, so what is it that you are afraid of? What do you think will cause you pain if you attempt to question the status quo?
Are you so afraid that the disappointment of rejection following an attempt to apply for a new job is going to cause such emotional pain that you choose to stay in the same job – even though you feel unappreciated there and that you are stagnating?
Are you so afraid of loneliness that you would rather be in a bad relationship rather than have no partner at all – even if he is not always emotionally and physically available and you don’t really feel loved or respected by him?
Don’t misunderstand the advice, I know that breakups and separations are often difficult and loneliness can be overwhelming. But at the same time, not giving yourself a chance could be more devastating in the long run. Be honest: what is the story you tell yourself again and again? How do you choose to stay in the same unhappy position?
- Communicate to others how you wish to be treated.
If you are not fully ready for drastic changes, start small. Look at your life right now and check if you are treated the way you want to be treated by the people in your life or if you would like to change anything. For example, your good friend, whom you love dearly, might have a tendency to cancel on you at the last minute, and because you are such a good friend you understand and let it slide. But what if you really would like your friend to honour commitments and not cancel on you? Why wouldn’t you want her to know about it?
Some people might find it convenient that you are accommodating, kind, caring and never say no. So when you start saying the occasional “No” – they might even take it personally and find it difficult to deal with, but that is okay.
You need to let people know what you expect from them and from the relationship. Your boundary can be around respect, reciprocity, kindness and care. For example, you expect that both of you will make attempts to organise outings, that both of you will contribute more or less equally to the relationship and that both of you will aim to be there for each other.
The clearer you are in your expectations the easier it will be for other people, if they value a good relationship with you, to meet them. It does not mean being nit-picking and demanding, but if something bothers you greatly your friends should prefer to know about it. If you are constantly compromising yourself for some people, you might find that you resent seeing them or simply do not enjoy a relationship with them any longer.
- Give yourself permission to change your mind.
Purchasing a pretty dress that just isn’t the right fit is not the only reason to change your mind. You can make a change if you notice that some of your previous decisions no longer serve you well and you suffer more than you benefit as a result of your commitment to them. Today you are wiser and more experienced, so your values and preferences might be different to the ones you had ten years ago.
Try putting yourself first and start creating healthy boundaries in your life. You can choose to get rid of toxic relationships, change your job, start a new hobby, be healthier and travel more. We are often shamed wrongly and made to believe that once we make a decision we have to stick with it for the rest of our lives, but that is simply not true. You have a choice to change your mind and you definitely owe it to yourself to tackle unhelpful thinking and find a way to the better life you deserve.
PS: If you struggle or don’t know where to start, call us on 0426 263 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and together we will find a way.