When was the last time you thought about the reasons you’re successful and happy? When was the last time you thought about the reasons you aren’t successful and happy? If you’re like most women, the times you obsess on why you’re not happy far outweigh your thoughts of success.
Imagine this inner dialogue as gerbils on a Habitrail. They keep going around in your mind, running faster and faster. They never get anywhere, but that doesn’t stop them from running. That is like the thoughts in your mind – they aren’t productive and they don’t lead to any conclusion, but they’re so deafening that you begin to believe they are truths when, in reality, they are merely ideas that prevent you from realizing true happiness and success.
I’ll do “it” after the kids leave – Whether it’s going back to school to get a degree, travelling or getting a divorce, too often women put their own dreams and desires on the back burner. They tell themselves that they need to focus on the kids when, in reality, it’s the fear of the unknown. As the mom of three young kids and two step-kids, I understand all too well the desire and need to be there for your kids.
But, staying in an unhappy marriage or postponing your dreams will eventually leave you resentful. Take small steps now and have your long term goal in sight. Some steps you can take immediately would be to sign up for one evening class or online course, take small weekend trips to new places or set up a bank account in your own name to begin establishing credit.
I’m completely overwhelmed with everything I have to do – Again, as the mom of young kids, I completely understand that there are just so many hours in a day to get everything done. But, I’ve dealt with many clients who finally acknowledge that they’ve piled on additional responsibilities in order to avoid looking at their current unhappy situation.
Look at all of the “extras” you’ve created – volunteering at your child’s school, sitting on the board of a charity, signing up to work on a local politician’s campaign. If the gerbils in your brain keep telling you to run faster, chances are they’re trying to get you to run away from what you need to look at.
It’s not great, but I don’t have a choice – It’s so much easier for us to play the victim and blame the circumstances rather than to take an active role in changing them. Almost all limitations are self-imposed. When my husband was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis three weeks after we were married it rocked my world.
No it wasn’t great but yes, I did have a choice as to how we would move forward in our relationship. I am and will be a caregiver for him, but he also is an emotional caregiver for me. We can participate in adaptive ski programs, enjoy walking and biking with him in an electric scooter and me on my bicycle and take any vacation we can imagine. When faced with a situation that seems unmanageable, take out a notebook and write down three positive, proactive steps you can take to improve the situation.
No one can do it, but me – There’s not a doubt that women are the ultimate multi-taskers. We can pack lunches, participate in a conference call and schedule a playdate at the same time. Men are definitely more linear in their thinking and delegating to our kids often takes three or four reminders. The gerbils in our minds tell us that it must be us doing everything in order for it to be done properly.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that it’s just easier to do it ourselves, but it ends up being our downfall, preventing us from having the time to do what makes us happy. Yes, your spouse can do the laundry and make dinner. It might not be exactly the way you would have done it but IT’S OK! And your kids can pack their own lunches and empty the dishwasher.
If I lose weight/get a boob job/work out, everything will be fine – Everywhere we turn, we see celebrities and self-proclaimed celebs (Kim K.) nipping and tucking their way to happiness. The media and companies tell us that if we buy their product, follow their steps for a make-over or visit their gym, all our dreams will come true.
And yes, while it’s important to exercise and eat right, the quick fixes of plastic surgery, crazy workouts and fad diets will not solve your problems. The fixes need to start within you before any real change will happen.