You Don’t Have to Hold the World On Your Shoulders

You Don’t Have to Hold the World On Your Shoulders

Worried!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I find the idea of asking for help can leave a bad taste in my mouth–no matter how much I need it.

Our society teaches us that we should be super-human–able to hold down a full-time job (or two), raise a family, maintain a marriage, friendships and more–all while looking positively fabulous.

We’re always looking for new ways to save time, do more, be more–always trying to improve, find ways to just BE MORE than we are.

But here’s the thing. There are only so many hours in each day, and you’ve gotta spend a few of them sleeping. It’s a fact.

Another fact: a single person cannot possibly know everything, cannot possibly excel in every area–and most importantly, a single person cannot hold the world on his or her shoulders.

But don’t worry–there’s a simple solution. Just share the load, friends.

Read closely: It’s okay to ask for help. Repeat it to yourself: it’s okay to ask for help.

If you have confidence, think independently and make your own choices in life, you probably prefer to figure out things for yourself. And like me, because you’re so self-assured and/or driven, you might not like to ask for help, even if you could really use it.

Whether we like it or not, every one of us could benefit from time to time by accepting a hand from someone else.

And when you ask for assistance, other people also stand to benefit in ways you might not have considered.

Contemplate these reasons why you may want to ask someone to help you, even if you find it challenging:

  1. Accomplish your goal. For example, if you need to get to that job interview and your car is still in the shop, ask a friend to drive you. If you have a goal you want to achieve and you can accomplish it with a bit of help, then ask for and accept assistance.
  2. Prove you’re human. If you’re full of confidence and seem to always do everything right, people can easily put you on a pedestal. However, when you request aid from others, they realize that even someone like you falters once in a while as you’re trying to carve a path through life. This can be really inspirational.
  3. Set a good example. This applies to co-workers, friends, and family members. If you just go straight to the point and request a hand as soon as you recognize you’re going to need it, you help to de-stigmatize the whole idea of getting help.  When your friends and family face a challenge, they’ll think, “He didn’t hesitate to seek out some extra help right away when he needed it and that’s so smart. I’m going to do it, too.” And now, you’ve been helpful to them. Good Karma points.
  4. You give others a chance to help you. Most people feel very good about themselves when they are able to extend assistance to others. You’re allowing others to feel those rewarding emotions whenever you request a hand from them.
  5. The level of stress you’re experiencing will drop. It can be very stressful when something goes wrong. Anxieties and worries develop and persist. The longer you worry about the situation, the worse you feel. Getting help means you can avoid all that distress.
  6. Develop a true appreciation for others. You’ll love seeing concrete proof that others want to see you be successful in life.
  7. Enhance your relationships. When you request aid from a friend or relative, that person feels emotionally closer to you. After all, if you feel comfortable enough to reach out for help, that’s quite a compliment to the other person. Plus, when the person comes to your aid, you’ll recognize how much that person really cares about you.
  8. Reciprocation feels great. Doing something as thanks to the friend who helped you will bring pleasure to both of you.
  9. Be an efficient “manager” of your own life. You can either spend time, emotional energy, and hours of lost sleep trying to figure an issue out on your own or you can ask for help and get it quickly taken care of. Which method is more efficient?

My point? Giving and receiving assistance can enrich your life, in more ways than you  might have imagined. You’ll strengthen your relationships and be a better person for it, at the very least. So what are you waiting for?

Do you have trouble asking for help? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.

 

You Don’t Have to Hold the World On Your Shoulders

The Secret to Being Happy

These last 2 years have been ones of complete upheaval and change. I have failed, succeeded, conquered, lost, gained and

Pink happy

learned a lifetime’s worth in 24 short months. Throughout it all, the one thing that remained constant was my burning desire to be happy.

My whole life, I chased being happy. Always looking for that one thing or someone that will make everything better. I was convinced that if I could just find “the one” I would be okay. I went from relationship to relationship, even in my friendships. And all that pursuit got me was a whole heap of misery.

Because I was chasing the wrong relationship.

I spent all of my time trying to find the one person who would accept and love me for me, yet I wasn’t even willing to give that to myself. It was only when I stopped searching for anything outside of myself that I began to understand what it takes to be happy. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t need anyone else, humans are social creatures and we need friends and mates, however, my folly lay in needing someone else to make me happy.

That’s impossible.

As fallible beings, it is not possible for one person, or even a handful, to make you happy all of the time.  We fail one another, sometimes even in times of greatest need. We make mistakes and we have a very bad tendency to inadvertently hurt one another. So by seeking fulfillment in others, all I was doing was setting myself up for failure.

I wanted someone to accept me for me all while refusing to do just that for myself.

Imagine that you have a friend, and every time you see her, she criticizes your appearance. It starts off small like “You should do something different with your hair” or “You really need a pedicure.” As time goes on, it escalates into “Wow, you really need to lose weight!” or “You never seem to have a good hair day, you know that?” Next thing you know, your friend is pointing out every skin blemish, even the tiniest roll or dimple of fat, how your clothes don’t fit you just right, how those lines around your eyes are getting more noticeable, and how no one in their right mind would want to see you naked let alone love you after such a sight.

You wouldn’t remain her friend, would you?

No, of course not. You’d stop returning her calls. Stop hanging out with her and tell all your other friends what a bitch she is. You would be downright pissed at her, and you’d have every right to be. Yet, every day, we say all of those things to ourselves when we look in the mirror. How can you expect to be happy when you are in an abusive relationship with yourself?

I had to stop seeing myself how I thought others saw me. Learning to stand in front of the mirror and admire myself was one of the biggest steps for me. I’d been taught to hate my reflection from early on in life, and it took a lot for me to learn to love the mirror. I started small, by focusing on the good things, and pretty soon, it was difficult for me to see how any of my flaws really made that much of a difference.

I accepted myself. More importantly, I loved myself.

I finally realized that I am worth being happy. I deserve to be happy. And I will continue to make the choices necessary to remain happy. Which means, if there are unhealthy things and/or people around me, I will choose to remove them from my life. I will not grant another person the power to decide whether or not I’m happy.

Which is exactly what I was doing by searching for a relationship to give me my happiness.

I see it everywhere I look; people desperate to find “the one”. I understand, because I’ve been there. I’ve fallen in love too quickly before, simply because I was desperate to have what I thought was missing. I regret giving up so many years of peace because I was too stubborn to take a good, long look at myself.

It’s easy to treat yourself badly. How often do you eat junk food to feel better, or stay up too late because you’re trying to conquer some of that To Do list, or look at yourself with disgust every time you pass a mirror? Do you know the difference between your needs and your desires? How many times have you settled while dating because you’re so lonely and you “need” someone?

Decide that you are no longer going to let your deficiencies define your worth. Look in the mirror and stop the running commentary in your head of how much you hate your body. Replace it with something you like about yourself and add to that list daily. Stop looking for the next relationship to change things and fix the one you’re in with yourself. Attitude and behavior are choices, which means the power to change them lies completely within you. No one else has the power to make your life worth living, so stop giving it to them.

If you want to be happy, then be happy.

*Reprinted with permission from OwningPink.com.
*Visit TheAlphaPussy at Owning Pink.

You Don’t Have to Hold the World On Your Shoulders

Identifying Toxic Friendships


“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” ~ Albert Camus

What is a true friend, in your opinion?

Everyone has a slightly different definition–but bottom line, a true friend is someone who is there for you when you need him or her, someone you trust, someone who makes you feel good.

Probably you have great conversations, share interests and support one another in your every day lives.

But what happens when a friend turns out to be “not so good” for you, if the friendship becomes toxic?

What is toxic friendship, anyway?

“The phrase ‘toxic friend’ is pop psychology,” says psychologist Dr. Jenn Berman. “I would say it’s someone who, after spending time with them, makes you feel bad about yourself instead of good; someone who tends to be critical of you — sometimes in a subtle way and sometimes not so subtle; a friend who drains you emotionally, financially, or mentally, and they’re not very good for you.”

How can one truly identify a toxic friendship?

It can be difficult, especially if you have been close to the friend for a long time. If you suspect that a friend is (or has become) toxic, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do you feel after spending time with or speaking to this person? Do you feel good and positive (for the most part) or do you find yourself worrying, stressing or obsessing about some aspect of the visit or call?
  • Are you afraid to tell your friend about some aspect of your life for fear of how they’ll react or fear of being judged harshly?
  • Do you sometimes find yourself avoiding contact with the person or ignoring their calls? Does your friend consistently “forget” about your plans or cancel at the last minute?
  • Does your friend actively insult or offend you on a consistent basis?
  • Do you find yourself feeling uncomfortable or bothered by your friend’s life choices, behavior or moral conduct?
  • Do you feel comfortable bringing up concerns about your friendship with this friend?
  • Does this friendship benefit you?
  • Do you trust this friend, really trust him or her?

These are just a few questions to get you started. In general, your friends should be an asset to your life, not a detriment.

Does someone in your life seem to be more of a hindrance than a help on your journey to personal bliss?

If so, it may be time to reevaluate your choices.

Mini-Bliss Mission for Those Dealing With a Potentially Toxic Friend

 

My challenge today applies to those readers who are currently dealing with a potentially toxic friendship.

Take a few minutes today to really consider the questions above in regard to the friend in question.

Be brutally honest, and take a quick inventory of the situation.

Have you ever dealt (or are you currently dealing) with a toxic friendship? How did or will you handle it? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below!

 

You Don’t Have to Hold the World On Your Shoulders

Tired of Being a Wallflower? How to Become an Extrovert

Wallflower Street

Ever been in a social situation where you desperately want to participate in whatever’s happening, but you just can’t bring yourself to break out of your shell and do it?

This happened to me a year or so ago. While I’m generally pretty extroverted, I have my introvert moments.

In my situation, I was at a work-related function with several co-workers at a local karaoke bar. I had decided not to have drinks that night as I was driving myself home–and I’m pretty sure I was the only one who was stone-cold sober, not that it should matter–but that night, it made me feel a bit excluded.

While I really wanted to get up and sing and dance with my co-workers and friends, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was so disappointed in myself, and I came home feeling really sad because I felt that I’d missed out on an opportunity to have a lot of fun.

Maybe I was too worried about what they’d think of me, or I was feeling shy–or maybe I was just having an off-day. Whatever the cause, I decided that night that I needed to develop coping strategies for these occasional introverted moments.

Are you an introvert who is looking to expand your horizons?

Maybe you’d like a more active social life, or maybe you secretly envy a friend or coworker who makes being friendly and open look effortless.

Or, maybe you’re a diehard introvert and have no desire to change. There’s nothing wrong with that–and if that’s the case, you’re probably already clicking away to a new post. 

But some introverts long to be comfortable in social situations and enjoy a richer social life or to be more aggressive in advancing professionally–and this post is for those people.

While change can be hard, especially the change from introvert to extrovert, it’s worth it in the long run.

(See how I lost 100 pounds–including plenty of before and after photos!)

You might have to fake it ’til you make it at first, but with a little persistence, being extroverted can become second nature to you.

What’s true of social styles is true of most things: when trying to attain a goal, you might find a certain degree of motivation and resistance in your way.

Try thinking of the motivation as the motor in your boat and the resistance as the wave you’re trying to power over. If you can reduce the size of the waves, the journey is much easier. Try these tips to help you get started.

Polish up those social skills.

Many introverts would be thrilled to be part of group social activities if they only felt comfortable about what to say and how to behave. But having a conversation with a stranger and feeling comfortable about it is something that anyone can learn to do.

The key is to attend these social events repeatedly, then evaluate yourself. Strive for progress, not perfection.

Remember to only compare your results to your previous results, not to the results of other people. Consider that perhaps they’ve had a lot more practice, or have been in environments that helped them cultivate those skills.

Expand your circles.

If you’ve largely kept to yourself for the last 10 years, you’re going to have to brainstorm. Ideally, seek out people who share the same interests. Join a basketball team at the YMCA. Join a book club. Use the online personals and say, “Hey, I’m just looking for a new friend.” (But be careful and smart about this kind of stuff–don’t trust anyone too quickly.)

There are plenty of lonely people who would love to have a friend or activity partner. You might even meet another introvert like yourself, and you can learn the ropes together and share a lot of mirth about it along the way! And there are plenty of active social groups that would love to have another person.

Try “real life” once in awhile.

I do a lot of my work online, part of which involves social media platforms. But I also make time for my family and friends in “real life” as often as I can.

See, as much as it can feel like it, socializing online is not the same as socializing with real people. In fact, studies have shown that the users that spend the most time on sites like Facebook report the highest levels of loneliness.

So, make it a point to unplug and get out there whenever you can. Ten years from now you’ll remember the canoe trip you took, not the online chat you had.

You’ll also find that if you have more meaningful relationships in the “real world,” you’ll have far less interest in spending time online.

Be brave–it doesn’t hurt, I promise.

People are almost universally lousy at assessing risk and reward. Consider the amount of fear the average man has just walking up to a beautiful woman and saying ‘hello’.

What’s the risk, really? Chances are, he will be safe pretty much regardless of what her response happens to be. And what’s the potential reward? Nearly unlimited.

Almost all of us are uncomfortable in similar situations. Sometimes you can gain a lot by stepping back and intellectually examining your feelings. Then you can go ahead and do the thing that frightens you.

After experiencing a few “failures,” you’ll quickly learn that it’s not unlike being afraid of the dark. When you turn on the light, there’s nothing there.

Being a lifelong introvert doesn’t mean your social future is set in stone. Changing yourself is always a little uncomfortable, but if you believe you can change, you’re halfway there.

Focus on all the benefits you’ll receive and the ways in which your life will improve. Even if you take small steps, as long as you continue, you can accomplish almost anything over time.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How do you feel about it? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.

 

You Don’t Have to Hold the World On Your Shoulders

Alone for the Holidays? 5 Easy Steps to Finding Love in 2013

“You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart. Then people are going to treat you better. You’re going to find, yes you will, that you’re beautiful as you feel.” ~Carole King

After enjoying a wonderful holiday with my family and friends, I find myself reflecting on the many loves in my life–my wonderful husband, our beautiful children, my cherished friends and extended family members. My life is literally full of love, and I feel grateful for it every single day.

It wasn’t always this way, though. Back in my late teens and early twenties, I felt very alone in the world. Sure, I had friends. And I had family, though the nearest members were nearly three hours away by car. I even had boyfriends–but none worth writing home about.

I lived alone most of the time, and most of the time I didn’t mind it. I did the roommate thing twice, but found that I could feel utterly alone even in a room full of people–and that I didn’t really like living with people I didn’t love.

So how did I go from feeling utterly alone and miserable to being happy and living a life full of love?

I got clear on what I really wanted.

Whether you realize it or not, every single thought you have is helping to shape your reality. In my case, I was always thinking about how alone I felt. I often thought that no one understood me and that people in general weren’t all that great. I found fault in the people around me and found reasons to feel negatively toward some of them.

So, while I thought I wanted happiness and love in my life, I was asking the Universe to let me be alone and unhappy, simply by focusing on how alone and unhappy I felt. When I began to understand that, I sat down and made a list of my true intentions, and then I began to focus on those instead of the feelings of being alone and unhappy.

I stopped searching for love.

I know it may seem counter-intuitive, but when you spend your life thinking “I’m looking for love, I need to find love, why can’t I find love?,” that’s what the Universe will deliver–a never-ending search for love. In my case, after I wrote down what I wanted, I released the need to search and I started living my life. I decided to be happy and satisfied with who I was and the situation I was living in, right then.

I started saying “thank you” more often.

After seeing an episode of Oprah in which she said something to the effect of “want what you have and you’ll have what you want,” I took a look around my world with fresh eyes. Though I didn’t initially realize it, I had plenty to be grateful for–a home, good friends and loving family, my health, a job–the list went on and on. So I began to make a point of noticing those things, people and situation in my life that were good and feeling grateful for them.  That set me on the path to receiving more good things that I wanted.

I opened my mind and my heart.

I was limited because I had limiting beliefs. Even though I didn’t verbalize it, I thought I wasn’t really worthy of being loved. I thought that the people I was attracted to couldn’t possibly be attracted to me. I believed that all single men were single for a reason and that all the good ones were either married or gay and therefore unavailable to me. As I unconsciously held on to those beliefs, I kept reinforcing that type of situation in my life.

When I began to recognize and dismiss these negative beliefs, I was able to let love flow into my life.

I loved myself first.

Once I realized that I was feeling alone and unlovable because of my limiting beliefs and started to release them, the only logical thing I could do was to start loving myself. I made a point of treating myself like someone I loved, because if I couldn’t treat myself that way, why should anyone else?

And then I met him.

I started looking better and feeling better, and within weeks of making my list of intentions, I met the man I eventually married. It truly was all in my perception–when I perceived that my life was empty and devoid of love, it was that way. But when I began to notice all the love I already had and started to feel grateful for all the wonderful things, people and situations in my life, I found the love of my life.

So, how about you? If you want more love in your life, do you think a change in perception might be in order? And if you’re happy and loved in your life, will you share the secret to your success? Tell me in the comments!

 

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