10 Ways to Stay Miserable Today…
“I wonder if I can take you out to coffee and pick your brain about writing.”
I get this request at least once a week. (Now I’m thinking if I saved them all up, I could get coffee for free for a month… Picture me twirling the end of my villain mustache with one hand and holding a venti latte with the other.)
I normally turn these requests down. Everything you need to know about writing a book can be found online. Then you need to join a writers group and then go to a conference. I don’t know any other shortcuts. Really. But this was a sister of a dear friend, so of course I said yes.
“I’m writing a book, and I’m just so frustrated with the publishing industry.”
And as she told me all the problems she was having with the book, I asked questions and suggested solutions:
“Why not hire an editor to go over your manuscript?” I asked.
“It’s not ready for anyone else to see!” She shot back.
“You’ve been working on this book for four years. Maybe it’s time to set it aside for a month. Go play with your kids! Get away for a day to Monterey with your husband! Do some normal life!”
“I can’t. Not until this book is sold.”
This woman was not stuck in circumstances. She was stuck in a prison of her own thoughts.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve run into some pretty miserable people. They can’t change their lives, their families are not doing what they want. They keep trying harder and harder, but nothing ever gets better.
At first, I feel sympathy. I get it. It’s so hard to be stuck in a situations that you don’t have a lot of control over. A job loss, a kid crisis, a relationship issue – these are all scary thing that can shut us down for a time.
But circumstances eventually change. Where most of us are stuck is in our own dangerous, limited thinking.
I like to remind myself of the bullies that Cheri Gregory and I talk about in The Cure for the Perfect Life – 12 Ways to Stop Trying Harder and Start Living Braver. When I catch myself saying one of these bad thoughts, I try to capture it as soon as possible and replace it with truth.
Here are a few truths to replace the lies:
When You Tell Yourself…
- “If I want something done right, I’m gonna have to do it myself.”
Replace it with… “It is not all up to me. I can trust other people with their jobs, and I’ll do the best to my ability.”
- “If I can’t do it right, I won’t do it at all.”
Replace it with… “Perfect is for people who never get anything done. I’d rather do it 90% right than not at all.”
- “I don’t do angry.”
Replace it with… “It’s okay to get angry when things upset me or when some kind of injustice has been done. I can be angry and not act wrongly on that anger. Expressing my anger in a calm manner can help me not to become too stressed.”
- “No fun until my work is done.”
Replace it with… “It’s okay to take breaks when I’m working. Sometimes I need a break to clear my mind and refresh myself. Then the job will be done even better when I get back to it.”
- “I’ll rest when I am dead.”
Replace it with… “If I don’t get proper rest, I might be dead sooner than I think. I can’t accomplish everything I want to in one day, and I certainly can’t accomplish it without rest.”
- “I am what I do.”
Replace it with… “I am not defined by my career and areas of service. I am a person with emotions and thoughts and desires, and it’s okay to be me.”
- “I can’t throw it away; I might need it someday.”
Replace it with… “It’s okay to let go of things that I’m not using, especially if they are taking up valuable space in my home. It’s okay to get rid of relationships that aren’t beneficial to me because I am worth more than that and something better will come along.”
- “I work better under pressure.”
Replace it with… “I can work better when I start a project early and give myself plenty of time to work out the kinks and get it right.”
- “I got myself into this mess, so I have to get myself out.”
Replace it with… “It’s okay to admit that I need help. I am not Superwoman, and I don’t have to know the answers to everything. I will take a deep breath and reach out to someone who can help.”
- “No is a dirty word.”
Replace it with… “It’s okay to say no. I can’t do everything. Healthy boundaries will make me a healthier person.”
Which of these lies do you struggle with the most?
Want more tools for replacing faulty thinking with truth?
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.
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