In sharing a stressful story with my fiancé one day, he said something to me that was so simple and dead on, it lurched me quiet. I was all sorts of stressed out and worked up in the heat of my story-telling. You know how those narrations can go: you’re in the driver’s seat of a sports car, emotions blaring with the volume cranked way up, words swerving around each other left and right, and the act of listening…well, crank the windows down and watch loose paper whiz out your sunroof. I was all revved up and unexpecting of his quickly approaching tire spikes…
Where there’s friction and stress in your life, there’s a personal problem. Fix it.”
Has this ever occurred to you before? Someone says something so basic- so SIMPLE- that any other day, you would shrug it off and get right back into your driver’s seat with your foot on the gas, spitting up gravel in your rearview mirror?
But at this particular moment… it’s as if the passenger who’s been driving shotgun with you this whole time, suddenly reaches over and cranks up the Emergency Brake.
I had to look in my rearview mirror at myself. From a previous post on the Facebook Group, we challenged each other one week:
If you find yourself repeating a complaint / frustration / or stressor in your life more than THREE TIMES, you no longer are allowed to complain. Rather, you must set an intention to ACT to resolve the stressor – regardless of how small that action is.”
At this particular time- if I was being truly honest with myself- I didn’t want to try to fix what was adding stress to my life. It would require:
- Anticipated disappointment
- Possibly resentment
It was easier to be the “road-rager” at home with my fiancé: complain and vent about my story as a means to soften the build-up of internal discordance, all while directly adding the burden of my stress onto his empty shoulders.
Well, he took that big ol’ basketball full of stress and chest passed it right back to me.
I didn’t want to deal with this particular stressor in my life. I knew the process was going to be messy, energy expending, and emotionally volatile. But my fiancé had a great point: if there is friction and stress in your life, YOU are accountable for playing a part in correcting it. And let me be super clear here. He didn’t mean “correct it” by giving up on it, walking away from it, or placing blame on another side or party.
His words were in perfect alignment with my motto for 2018:
“You are in charge of the change you want to see in your life.”
So, I decided to step out of my E-braked car, close the door, and open my mind to how I was going to approach fixing this stressor in my life. Here’s what I ultimately came up with:
Step 1) Get exquisitely clear and unwavering on the top priorities in the life you choose to live.
Pick 3, and rank them in descending order from most important to least.
Step 2) Decide to live the life for YOU.
This was a big one for me. I’m very much a people-pleaser. A:
- Be above and beyond
- Will never say “no”
- My reputation is defined by the quality and quantity of my work output …etc.
[If this is you, I highly recommend you read the book Present Over Perfect]
I encourage you to just take a breath and sit still with yourself for a few seconds.
Look for the friction in your own life. Is the life you are choosing to live in alignment with the priorities you established in Step 1?
Who’s life are you living?”
Are you over-Doing?
If so, pull your own Emergency Brake and ask yourself;
“What/ who am I doing this for? What is my end goal?”
If you find yourself thinking, “I’m doing X / Y / Z to please so-and-so,” but it comes at the expense of your 3 most important priorities in your life…. STOP. RIGHT. NOW and really really really (!) think about the intentions you are emphasizing in your life.
Step 3) Be the backboard
Oftentimes in relationships with others, stressors emanate from others projecting their own fears onto you.
It is extremely bold to live your life in alignment with your priorities. Don’t allow others (who may be too afraid to do the same in their own lives!) jeopardize YOUR life and how you are choosing to live it. Let them live theirs’ just how they want to!
Step 4) Regroup and Be Proud of Yourself
- You identified a major stressor in your life
- You acknowledged that it was going to be heavy work
- You recognized that the stressor was not in alignment with your top priorities so you set the intention to act and make a change
- You didn’t allow the fear and emotional unloading of others to deter you
Step 5) Living The Life You Choose to Life
Allow yourself to be proud of living a life you are intentional about: one that fulfills you, inspires you, and allows you to share your deepest passions of life with others.
And if anyone every challenges or accuses you of being selfish for your decisions and priorities… OR…. you find yourself feeling guilty for asking or doing something that puts you first, let me just share a quick thought on that:
Prioritizing YOUR life and what nurtures, inspires your passion, and brings you joy and fulfillment is one of the most SELFLESS things you can do for yourself. Why, you may ask? When you are brimming with inspiration and passion and fulfillment, it spills out EVERYWHERE! Everyone you touch becomes affected: your significant other, family, friends, coworkers, clients, customers, patients, strangers, the person sitting next to you on the plane…the entire. flipping.world.
So NEVER let anyone come between the life you choose to live. Anything less would be stripping the WORLD of the love, passion, and joy you have to offer!
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