STOP!

Let’s just dive into this one, shall we? Last week I talked about being content and how I believe real happiness lies in being content. One of the ways you can learn to be content in your circumstances is to stop doing the things that make you miserable! I mentioned it a little bit in the last post but I am diving into this more today.

What do I mean by stop doing the things that make you miserable? Exactly that. I mean it verbatim, STOP doing the things that make you miserable. I already know some of you reading this might be thinking, “yeah, Ashleigh, it isn’t that simple.” You could already be rolling your eyes and think that I clearly live in a fantasy land where unicorns prance around if I can say something like that.

I don’t live with unicorns but I do believe it is that simple. Quit the things that make you miserable. Quit allowing the things that make you miserable enter your life. I think we are too busy getting caught up in expectations that don’t matter and that is what makes us feel like we cannot stop doing the things that make us miserable. What kind of expectations? Expectations we put on ourselves based on what we think others will think. Expectations placed on us by other people. For me, a lot of my expectations of myself come from my inner critic which ends up repeating the same lies that I heard as a kid. Let me repeat that, my expectations come from lies I heard as a kid. I kept saying yes to everything asked of me, even if I was drowning in my to-do list because I thought that people only loved me because of what I could do. I expected myself to do all the things possible. If I did all the things, all the people would love me. This idea the people only loved me because I was the yes girl, was a lie. A huge lie. A lie that I still struggle with today and I am fully aware it is a lie. A lie that was making me miserable. I was saying yes to things that I had no business doing. I was saying yes to things because a need was brought to my attention. It wasn’t even my need to address or a need I could fix but there I was, trying to meet it when I should have stayed in my lane. My saying yes to everything probably hurt other people too. The people those yeses were meant for. How is someone going to step up if I’m stepping up for them? I think quickly, I can make plans quickly, I might have been saying yes to a thing meant for someone else, that person just needed a minute to get to the yes and I was already saying yes before the complete problem was presented. Just because I think fast and I feel like silence is the enemy, doesn’t mean I should have opened my mouth. Silence can be a good thing. Silence is where people can grow. Silence is where I am learning to grow. I am learning to be okay with silence and allow silence to work on other people.

Everything in our lives are choices we make. There is nothing in our lives that we HAVE to do or say yes to. Wait, we have to sleep, breathe, eat and drink water. Those are the ONLY things you absolutely have to do. Mainly because these things are proven to keep you alive. Outside of that, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to keep the friend who is constantly putting you down. You don’t even have to stay in contact with the family that only has negative things to say about you. The key to this is your “why.” Why do you hang out with this person that only can say negative things about you and everything else in life? Is that person bringing joy to your life? Is this person there for you when you need? Or have you been friends with this person for so long that you don’t think you could stop? Is this an obligation? If you have an obligation that is sucking your soul dry and you constantly wish you could get out of it, stop saying yes to it.

This also goes for your job. If your job makes you miserable, stresses you out to unhealthy levels, the people are awful, whatever it is that makes you hate your job- get out! Why are you staying there? It is 2019, and money is a valid reason but I don’t believe it is a good reason to work a job that you are miserable at. There are other jobs that you can do to make money. You can probably start your own business out of something you are passionate about. There is no job that is easy, you will have to work hard, it just depends on who is benefiting from your work.

The problem with being miserable is that you are not only affecting you. Everybody and everything around you is feeling your misery in some way. If you are working in customer service and you hate your job, every customer will be able to tell by your body language, your attitude and how you speak about your job. I went to a furniture store once to get dining room chairs, the salesman helping us didn’t say a single nice thing about the company he worked for. He messed up our order multiple times and was constantly saying bad things about this place. He had an awful attitude. I wanted to say forget the chairs and leave because it wasn’t worth the environment we were in at that time, plus we were at the store until after closing because of the mistakes that were made. He clearly hated his job and didn’t care about it. His lack of caring wasn’t affecting him, it was affecting me and my family as we tried to buy something. By the time I said we should just forget the chairs, the order was already placed and “we were almost done” (we weren’t). I decided to tough it out and I toughed it out for an hour after that. Now, we are never going back to that store again because of the awful experience we had with that salesman. In a lot of cases, when you are at your job and you are dealing with the public or people in general, you will be the face for your company, your department or your job. Everything about your job, department or company will be judged by you. Are you the face that should be that sort of representation? If you hate your job, probably not. Just think, if you are at a job that makes you miserable, you probably don’t stop being miserable the second you are off. You most likely carry that misery with you to whatever is next.

It took me a long time to realize this but it is okay to say no. It is okay to decide something else is more important to you than whatever might be being asked by someone else. Saying yes to something is a no to something else. If you are always wondering why you can’t seem to do the things you enjoy, take a look at where all your yeses are and where the yes to yourself lies. If you put yourself last, others will too. We worry about the habits we might be showing our kids and that is important. We also need to be looking at how we treat ourselves. Your treatment of yourself will be the standard others will see in how to treat you. If you are constantly tearing yourself down, what tells others that it isn’t okay to do it too?

This is getting to be really long and I probably need to get off of my soapbox. I just wanted to share some thoughts on this. Life is about balance, not everything is going to make us happy or as Marie Kondo puts it- spark joy. However, we have the choice and the power to say no to things that make us absolutely miserable. Life is too short to be miserable all the time. The kids who are seeking to live their best life might be onto something.

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