Apparently, we are heading towards the phenomenon known as Blue Monday, the ‘most depressing day of the year’. I say apparently, because I no longer hold with the opinion that anyone or anything can make me depressed. Sure, events can happen that I wouldn’t choose and I may have to work with people that I wouldn’t add to my ‘best friend’ list – but ultimately only I am responsible for my feelings and actions.
The most liberating lesson I learned as I’ve developed over the years is to take 100% responsibility for my life. In the early days I used to catch myself saying things like ‘oh he/she makes me so mad’ or ‘the traffic made me late’ and many other variations along the same theme. Having made an effort to change the story each time I heard myself thinking or saying such things, I can honestly say that I now very rarely, if ever, utter such excuses.
So, what do I do, when a feeling of dread or overwhelm comes over me? And it happens – trust me!
And, as I have learned throughout the course of last year when I decided to lose my sense of Imposter Syndrome the answer is simpler than you might think – I choose to CHANGE MY MINDSET. And you can do the same thing too!
What does this mean?
1. I accept that my mood and frame of mind each day is a choice. Emotions are transient – we adopt these depending on our thoughts. Words are just words, they only become hurtful if we decide to take them in that way. And so, each day, I make a conscious decision to detach from all words that I hear and are spoken to me and instead of attaching my own meaning to these, I ask for clarification. Honestly – its liberating and very revealing to do this.
2. I accept that not everyone will like me or like or agree with what I say – but instead of trying to change myself to please everyone (which quite frankly is exhausting), I choose to be authentic, act with integrity and act in a way that doesn’t purposefully harm anyone. If someone then chooses to take offence – that’s their problem, not mine and I choose not to identify or react to their ‘emotional response’.
3. I make the decision to stop focussing on trivial things and only pay attention to what matters to me each day. If something is annoying me (something isn’t working or there’s a mess that’s irritating) I don’t moan or complain, I fix it or clean it up. If I can’t but in the bigger scheme of things it isn’t important – I flag it to someone who can and then let it go and get back to what I need to do to make a difference and add value.
4. Rather than focus on the negative I choose to find a positive in the negative. A good example of this is where I took a short stint at a company that turned out to be completely against my values and it could have made me miserable. I couldn’t just walk away mid contract but knew I needed to remain positive and act with professionalism and integrity. To ensure I could do this, I chose to look at the positive aspects of the situation; my fee was supporting my business and my family; I was learning valuable lessons about how to navigate through difficult situations and deal with people who thought and acted differently to me. I could then feel gratitude rather than dread for the role. It made showing up every day not only bearable, but I felt I was really achieving something by being able to handle the situation well – despite the circumstances. Because of this, the dread went away.
5. I recognise that life is about the journey and not the arrival. Sure, I have goals (some very ambitious ones actually), but I refuse to be miserable or frustrated until I get there. When I get there, I want the satisfaction of knowing I’ve earned it. I want the scars to show that I made it!
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