“Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.” ~Gordon B. Hinckley
I grew up in an Irish Catholic family. To say you did things out of obligation or guilt is an understatement.
It was the only MO I really knew.
And it’s funny–when I first started working with my spiritual coach 3 years ago, we talked a lot about “the victim mindset” and though I never really identified with the desire to blame other people or things “out there,” I was constantly blaming myself. I was always defaulting to: it’s my fault. I’m the one that sucks. I’m no good. I deserve to go without. I’ll just put my own needs aside and suffer in silence.
My coach pointed out that what I was doing was not playing the victim role in the traditional sense, but I was indeed playing it–but dressed up in the guise of A MARTYR. Same manifestation, different outfit. In fact, I had an obsession with being the martyr. It was how I developed my sense of self-worth. I actually LIKED being the one suffering the most!
Yes. Though of course it was never conscious on my part. In fact, I was outwardly COMPLAINING ABOUT IT. I was complaining about something I actually needed in order to feel worthy. Crazy, right?
A good example of this is people who claim to be “so busy” all the time. Really? Like they have no control over their schedule? Really? Let’s face it: in our culture, people wear their ‘busy” like a badge of honor. It’s like saying outwardly, “Omigod! I hate this! I’m soooooo busy! Please feel bad for me!” when inside, we actually LIKE IT. We LIKE to be the one suffering. We hold onto our suffering because it means we get to garner attention and pity from those around us. How many times have you heard people say, “Poor so-and-so, they work so hard!” or “Can you believe so-and-so? They never get any time for themselves, it’s a shame.”
It sucks to admit this, but … receiving condolences for our suffering feels good.
Deep down, I think it does.
This isn’t conscious by the way. And of course, sometimes, SOMETIMES it can’t be helped. But it’s worth digging into yourself and asking some questions, like: Is this how I realize my self-worth? Is being the person who’s been done wrong important to me on some level? Does my playing the victim (or martyr) give me a sense of purpose?
There’s no judgment here. This was my MO for 29 years. I needed to suffer in order to feel adequate. No judgement, except that at the end of the day, I was miserable and not reaching my full potential because I was imprisoned by the thought that I needed to do shit I hated to feel worthy.
This is really difficult to overcome.
And frankly, I wouldn’t even consider it a bad thing unless you are unhappy. Because sorry, life is way too short to sit in misery. Life is way too short to do things out of obligation or guilt. Life is way too short to be scared of disappointing others or “stepping out of line.” THIS IS YOUR LIFE. It should be fun, exciting, scary, exhilarating, interesting and above all, a source of joy, not misery.
Life’s too short to sit in misery
So how to do you break the cycle of doing things you don’t want to do? Here are the 11 truths and insights that helped me take responsibility for my own happiness and let the chips fall in order to feel fulfilled:
1) Realize you are going to disappoint people.
My girl Amber Rae said this in our webinar last week: “You can’t move fully into adulthood without disappointing someone, and once you realize that, you have to just come to grips with it, because what’s worse is disappointing yourself by not trying.” Holy shit yes.
2) Quit trying to manage other people’s responses.
There’s never going to be enough maneuvering, acquiescing, appeasing or pleasing you can do to control what people will do and say as a result of you just existing. And trying to control how people see you only makes YOU miserable. Quitting your misery is largely about not getting wrapped up in responses, but instead simply doing what’s in your heart. How could you ever regret that?
3) Realize your worthiness is all in your perception.
If my perception of the world is that I need to be the business person on the planet to feel deserving, then that’s what I will do. I will hustle and bustle and kill myself to earn that title. BUT instead, if my perception is that I am still worthy AND I can make an impact AND I can still help people when I’m NOT as busy, then I’m okay with being not as busy. I remember Jade saying to me years ago, “I hate when people complain about how busy they are, it seems so self-important. I can’t wait for someone to ask me, ‘How you been? Been busy?’ and I can say, ‘Nah, not busy at all, just relaxing.'” Ha! I love that. And if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I prioritize downtime like crazy because I know the more rest time I take, the more productive I’ll be when I sit down to work. It’s an infallible system. In fact, I like being lazy. #RestBasedLiving
4) Prioritize making a difference over making a living.
When you’re passionate and doing the things that bring you joy, you will do whatever it takes to become an expert. You will eat up every piece of knowledge you can get your hands on, you will work tirelessly, you will wake up feeling excited about what you’re doing. And how can someone like that not become an expert? And how can an expert not eventually make a living? Passion first, monetary gain next. Whereas the opposite is not necessarily true. Following a path that will bring in money has no guarantee to bringing happiness. In fact, it usually doesn’t.
5) Find other ways to feel deserving.
Seriously. Suffering or being the hardest working person on earth isn’t the only way (nor the recommended way) to realize a sense of worthiness. How about your skills? Your knowledge and intellect? Your education? Your ability to write or express yourself? The fact that you’re an amazing mom? You’re a caring sister, daughter, niece, granddaughter? You’re a loyal friend and a supportive confidante. You’re working hard on your fitness and nutrition. You’re healthy, strong and you kick ass in the gym. Seriously. There are so many other ways to feel good about yourself. Find and internalize those things too :)
6) Ask what message you’re putting out in the world.
Sorry, but no one likes (what Jade calls) a “Sad Sack Sammy.” People who are always complaining and blaming bring down everyone around them. They are energy vampires. You know these people! So ask, what kind of energy am I bringing into the world? A good reminder!
7) No one has to approve of your choices except you.
Is this your life, or someone else’s? This is hard, right? Because we want those closest to us to approve of our choices. We want them to be proud of us. Of course we do. But I’ve worked with women in their 50s who are still falling all over themselves to make their mothers happy. A noble task which is all fine and good, except when it makes us miserable. Because remember, we are the ones who need to live with the life we’ve created; no one else. This goes back to #1 above. Do you, and see what happens.
8) Never delay joy.
I read this on a bumper sticker once and all I could think of was YESSSSSSSS. No shit! I don’t see the value in being miserable anymore. I don’t believe it’s heroic to suffer in silence. In fact, I think it’s a copout. I think it’s a crutch we use to keep us small and scared and safe. It’s a story we tell ourselves about how we “need to be” in order to be valued. And it’s a lie. Delaying joy is not honorable, it’s cowardice. It’s being fearful of realizing our full potential. And while I get that the ramifications can be scary, the idea that we need to suffer to achieve is completely backwards. Ask yourself, do you have the courage to fully realize your bliss?
9) Self-trust is everything.
I’ve talked about this a lot. Self-trust is your ability to show up in your life 100% authentically and let the chips fall. It’s the ability to TRUST YOURSELF to handle whatever comes about as a result of your taking action to realize your joy. People will do what they do. They will say what they say. YOUR only job is to follow your path. The path of greatest happiness and personal fulfillment. If you can’t rely on yourself, who can you rely on? Self-trust is the last frontier to realizing your full potential.
10) Go to worst-case scenario.
What if you only did things that brought you joy? What if you followed your passion 100%? Would you … run out of money? Get blowback from family and friends? Be thought a lazy, naive dreamer? WHO CARES. When I started JillFit, and began modeling and competing, many people in my life at the time didn’t get it. They thought it was weird/unable to bring in money/a pipe dream/a waste of time, etc, and I heard all of that. And though it hurt and I struggled with it, ultimately I had no choice but to do what I loved, regardless. And wasn’t it funny that the same people who were hating and expressing “concern” months earlier ended up approaching me for help with their eating and exercise 6 months later! Remember, YOU need to believe in you first. And everyone else will come along. Worst case, you have no support. So what. Are you going to let that keep you from moving forward with what you feel compelled to do?
11) Take freaking action.
Finally, you have to actually DO. Sitting here and rehearsing the things you’ll say and rationalizing why you do what you do is all fine and well, but the rubber ONLY meets the road when you take action. Of course, awareness and insights are great, but the experiential part–actually ACTING on what you know–is always the hardest. So. Consider this my invitation for you to DO something to start realizing your full potential. Consider this THE BIGASS SIGN you’ve been waiting for to DO what you want. To give up the considerations, expectations and obligations of others and actually do what’s in your heart. Because what’s worse than disappointing others is never taking action to do what you love.
It’s time to quit doing shit you hate.
You know this, and there’s no excuse for it in 2014. Find workarounds. Look for other options. Ask for help. Reach out and make connections. Decisions that seem so “impossible,” I guarantee you are way more feasible than you ever thought. But first comes your belief that it’s a possibility.
Good luck and let me know how you do! Ox, Jill