Do you have dreams and aspirations, that you know you can achieve, but feel like something is holding you back? Do you know that you can “win” in life if just certain people, places, and things were different?
If you have been racking your brain about things you need to change, this article will not only help you define and articulate what is keeping you down, but what you can do about removing those roadblocks.
Most of the time the thing that keeps you complacent, in your comfort zone is fear. That giant, abstract, indescribable beast whose sole purpose is to keep you doing exactly what you have been doing. Keeping you small, and caged ensures that you don’t grow into a stronger, more resilient person.
But there are also those times when fear isn’t the only culprit. Sometimes you are immersed in a dim, swampy bog of hopelessness, and slugging out feels harder than trying to breathe underwater. You don’t really know how you got there, but all you know is that you’re in it, and it sucks.
If you’re feeling the later more intensely then you probably need to take a good long hard look at what things you are giving your time and attention. The small innocuous tasks, that by themselves aren’t that bad. But when you stack them all up against each other, they turn into a giant roadblock that feels insurmountable.
Some of the tasks include; social media, trash tv, gossip magazines, gossiping at the office, and apathetic/toxic people. By themselves, they aren’t that bad and certainly, moderation with each is necessary.
It’s borderline impossible to not be on social media, or avoid television. And often there are toxic people you are forced to be around; teachers, bosses, co-workers, family members, etc. Some of those situations you can’t control, but what you can control is how you interact with each one.
Let’s say you have a boss that is a grade A micromanager. He is always up in your grill, questioning every decision you make and belittling your work. It’s easy to feel completely deflated and to want to defend your work, but chances are it’s draining your mental energy, more than moving the discussion toward an amenable outcome. How do you react? Easy. Respond with just what he is asking, or telling you to do. Don’t try to justify your work, unless specifically asked. Chances are he is not going anywhere, and putting up constant resistance is just draining your energy and attention. Keep things to business, direct, short answers and avoid everything else like the plague. This will help you keep your attention focused on what you need to do and reduce frustration and fatigue.
Now, when it comes to removing toxic friends or family members it’s actually easier to do, but harder to execute. If you have a bestie that you have loved commiserating with for years, it will be hard to start cutting them out of your life. They are an emotional support system that you cherish, but I want you to ask yourself “is my mental health worth continuing this relationship?”
I had someone in my life for years that I labeled as my best friend. We were constantly by each other’s side and held tightly each other’s deepest secrets. Then one day I started doing a lot of personal development work and my perspective of the world changed. It was not so tainted with negativity and things were getting a lot better. When I tried to share this with my best friend they kept shooting my pink cloud down with negativity and cynicism. They didn’t do it intentionally, but they didn’t want anything different for their life, and by proxy that meant keeping me in that negativity. I asked myself “is this relationship worth me sacrificing my happiness?”
The answer I got was no.
As hard as it was, I distanced myself from that person, and eventually, we lost contact. I still love them, very much, but I had to do what was best for me, and you have to do the same thing for yourself.
That’s what I’m really asking you to do. Take a look at your life and see what is holding you back.
Do the following exercise. Get a piece of paper and write down the biggest negative influences in your life today. It can be excessive tv, social media, friend, family member, anything. Make a list of your top 5 and a write-down steps you can take to limit your interaction with each.
Don’t go to extremes and try to cut off the influences cold turkey, especially one of them is a person who is a large part of your social support. Figure out how you can spend 30 minutes less with them this week.
If it is a boss, take your lunch out of the office, put your headphones in at work, avoid eye contact with them. Whatever it is, make sure you can commit to.
After one week of doing this journal about the experience. Notice how those extra 30 minutes of toxic freeness feels. Describe it in extreme detail and cling to it. The happier you find yourself to be, the easier it will be to increase that time to 45 minutes next week.
Bit by bit, you will eliminate that toxic time taker completely, and you will be a happier, healthier person.
If this gets uncomfortable remember, you are worth having a happy life and you are the only person that has the power to make it that way.