Am I on the right path in life? Will I ever get married? Why am I still not pregnant? When will I find a job? Why does he or she not like me?
Some concerns are somewhat justifiable while others are simply not worth the stress. Here are 5 things I've learned are not worth the headache:
BIASES AND JUDGEMENTS OF OTHERS
Folks will always have "something" to say. Based on their childhood and adult experiences, values, prejudices and insecurities -- they will have an opinion about who you are, what you do, and why you do it. It is nothing to worry about. They're allowed to think or say whatever they want. In the same token, you're also allowed to accept or decline what they think or say about you. It becomes easier to detach your identity from the judgments of others as you grow and learn that "they" are usually confused and still trying to sort their own lives out.
YOUR BIASES AND JUDGMENTS OF OTHERS
In the same way you're not required to receive anyone's biases or judgments of you, that is also how others are not subject to your biases or judgments of them. As much as we don't enjoy biased feelings targeted our way, it is quite amusing at how easy it is for us to drop judgement bombs on others with a full sense of entitlement. And if we're honest, many times we fall into the trap of judging others inaccurately and unfairly. I've learned (and continue to learn) that I should focus on improving my imperfect self as a human being and spend more time practicing "the art of shut up" :)
There's not much new to say here. I've touched on this topic at different times on this blog. Most of us are aware of the futility of jealousy -- how obsessive, stressful, and unfulfilling it can be. In the event that you or I have forgotten, let's use this moment as a reminder that chronic or acute jealousy is a waste of precious mental capacity and productivity hours. What another person has (that you might not believe you measure up to -- e.g. money, opportunities, relationships, etc) does not mean you or your life is of any reduced value. Acceptance and gratitude are the daily antidotes for jealousy. Acceptance that the only thing you can control are your own actions, beliefs, and perspectives so let your desire to control everything else go. Gratitude for every moment you're awarded the opportunity to learn and grow, to develop a sound mind / body / spirit, and to enjoy the people in your life (family, friends, etc) to the fullest extent.
SUCKING AT A PUBLIC SPEAKING EVENT
The fear of public speaking has been cited as one of the top 5 fears humans have. The anxiety, racing heart, and sweaty palms are typical symptoms of the fear that appear like clockwork to torment you prior to a work presentation, keynote speech at a conference, or any other speaking event where you become the center of attention and critical focus. And as if it isn't bad enough that you're riddled with this fear as you're about to head to the front of the room (or onto the stage), the unthinkable happens -- you bomb. You let your nerves get the best of you and end up fumbling your words, saying too many "um's", and losing the interest of the audience. The bad news? It can be a painfully shameful experience. As someone who has had a mixture of "hit" and "miss" public speaking experiences, I'm quite familiar. The good news? You survived it; your world did not come crashing down. You still have the opportunity to enjoy good laughs...and ice cream. The great news? The more public speaking challenges you take on, the less you'll suck, the more confident you'll be, and the better your public speaking skills will become. I learned firsthand that when it comes to public speaking (or anything else, to be frank), practice makes me better.
Honest conversations and genuine connections are built upon "vulnerability" -- your ability and willingness to simply tell the truth; about how you think and feel, why you make the choices you do, what/who you truly value, etc. You might find that many of your conversations are built on the opposite of that -- deception, facades, lies, and disconnection. Those are the most common conversations these days and there's honestly no blame to cast. You can only feel comfortable to be vulnerable with others when you are in an environment that fosters trust (trust that you are allowed to be truthful without risk of attack or disregard). Trust takes time and effort to build between people; without it, your conversations will remain shallow and baseless. I get tired of shallow conversations -- they are energy depleting and leave me feeling anything but fulfilled. It's possible you do too. Solution? Spend more time building trust (with those you can) and investing energy in honest conversations that lead to deeper connections. As for dishonest conversations, do your best to get through them...quickly.
Know of any additional stress-inducers that should have made the list? Please share in the comments section -- I'd love to know.
Until the next post folks :)