counseling, psychology, self-help

The Psychology of Envy

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Do you find it hard to be happy for the success of others?

Do you gossip about people?

Do you feel extremely competitive with others?

Do you find yourself becoming more and more judgmental of other people?

Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other people on the daily?

Do you find yourself undermining other people’s relationships?

Do you feel happy when you see someone fail?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may be struggling with the emotion of envy.

Envy is one of the seven deadly sins and it can be very destructive to your life and your relationships.

Bertrand Russell said, “Beggars do not envy millionaires, though of course they will envy other beggars who are more successful.”

We tend to direct our envy at the people who orbit our social stratosphere–friends, family members, neighbors, colleagues. The reason for this is these are the people we frequently interact with. These are the people we can “realistically” use as a measuring stick to gauge ourselves against.

Most of us would not compare ourselves to Bill Gates but we may use our friend or coworker as a way to gauge our success because we feel we are on a similar playing field.

We cannot experience envy if we are not comparing ourselves to others.

Envy is an emotion we feel when we engage in the social comparison game. Whoever you are envying you believe you are in competition with–yet there are no winners to be had in this game. People who struggle with envy tend to be people who frequently compare themselves to others.

When you compare yourself to another and come up short, you are likely to feel envious.

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Envy is an emotion we all feel from time to time.

It is an emotion that unfolds in a predictable fashion. First, we must face a person with a superior achievement, quality, or possession. Second, we must want whatever this person possesses for ourselves, OR wish that the other person didn’t have it. Finally, we must be disturbed by the emotion we experience when we are in the company of this person.

These type of experiences are available to us on the daily.

Maybe we see a neighbor get a new luxury automobile and look at the ten-year old car sitting in our driveway with feelings of envy.

Maybe a friend gets a new promotion and makes more money then we will ever be able to make in our field and feelings of envy arise.

Maybe our sister travels frequently and often. We can’t afford it and don’t have the luxury of taking time off of work. We begin to feel envious of her.

Any of those scenarios may feel familiar to you.

Unfortunately, the emotion of envy runs rampant in our modern-day society.

With social media, we all get a peek into the lives of others (or at least of the facade they like to present to the world).

Envy is the pain we experience from being confronted by the advantages of others. It causes us to feel anger, disappointment, and resentment.

These emotions turn us against others–and ourselves. Envy truly is a green-eyed MONSTER.

If someone is envious of you, it is not a compliment. They likely hate your guts.

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Envy is a secretive emotion. Very rarely will you hear someone admit they are envious of someone. To neutralize feelings of envy, the envious person is likely to continually denigrate the target of their envy to anyone who will listen. This works to simultaneously diminish the target of their envy and elevate themselves in comparison.

Envying someone can become an obsession. An unhealthy obsession.

It is a cheap, easy way to give ourselves a boost to our self-esteem–by destroying the goodness we see in others.

It does not matter what the metric you may be using to compare–money, looks, youth, intellect.  You can always find someone worse off than you are IF you are looking for that.

But you will also find someone better than you if you are looking for it.

The reality is there is ALWAYS someone younger, in better shape, better looking, with a better career, more money, better behaved kids, or whatever it is you use as your measuring stick.

Envy is a short-sighted approach to life. We lose sight of the bigger picture.

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For instance, we may envy our friend, who is a doctor–a person with a prestigious career, nice house, luxury car, who travels to exotic places…. BUT we do not envy what it took to get her there: the hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, the stress of her job, the debt from starting a practice, the cost of malpractice insurance, the years upon years of schooling and residency. We often look at the end result and not all the work or the numerous sacrifices that went into achieving it.

Oftentimes we envy people for things we don’t even WANT for ourselves if we were given the opportunity. Perhaps we are envious of the doctor yet we hate science and math. We would never want to go to medical school and study all the material that is required to BE a doctor. We wouldn’t want to have touch other people’s bodies or be around sick people. Thus we are envying someone who does something for a living we don’t even enjoy nor have a desire to do.

Personally, I could never envy a doctor because I would never want to do what is required to become a doctor.  I would not be willing to be a Bio or Chem major in college. I don’t enjoy the sciences OR math. Would never want to take the MCATS. Or go to medical school. Have to SEE blood. Touch body parts that have not seen the light of day in years. Or deal with insurance companies/HMOs. Or tell someone they are dying from an illness. The list can go on and on for all the things doctors deal with in their profession that I would not be want to do.

When you feel envious, you are often looking at an idealized version of someone else’s life. Not the reality of their day-to-day life.

 

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What should you do if you find yourself struggling with the emotion of envy?

1)Use envy to motivate yourself. Look at whoever or whatever it is you are envious of. What do they have that you want? Use envy to help you figure out your goals, desires, and values. Do you feel envy when you see a friend’s never-ending travel pics on Instagram? Maybe you have an untapped desire to travel and see the world. Feeling envious when you see a friend in a bikini pic? Maybe it is time to look at your own diet and workout routine. It may be time to work on creating the physique of your dreams. If used appropriately, envy can be a compass guiding us towards things we want in our OWN life.

2)Practice self-compassion. Whatever you feel, don’t be so hard on yourself. Envy tends to arise in someone with a critical spirit–towards others AND themselves. Don’t fight against whatever it is you are feeling but try to engage in these emotions in a positive way. Envy leads to poor decision-making. All emotions, including the uncomfortable ones, are teaching us something about ourselves. We tend to be hard on ourselves for feeling the normal range of human emotions. It is okay to feel envious. However, it is not healthy to act out on these feelings towards others.

3)Start a gratitude practice. Often I have clients start a daily gratitude journal. Envy is counting other people’s blessings instead of being appreciative of our own.  Gratitude helps us focus on all the positive things in our life. Practicing gratitude helps people to be more satisfied with their own life and less focused on others.

4)Reflect on what you feel is missing in your life. If you are feeling envious towards your friend, what is it you feel is missing from your own life? Envy tends to arise from having low-self esteem and feeling unfulfilled. Spend some time reflecting on your goals, desires, and dreams. Is there something in your life that is making you feel dissatisfied? Make a realistic game plan to work towards achieving all that you want out of your life. If you are busy working towards your own goals, you won’t have much time to spend feeling envious of others.

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5)Understand your own capabilities. If you are jealous of a singer or athlete, ask yourself if you have the capabilities to achieve what they achieved on that level. I cannot be envious of someone who sings or is an incredible athlete because I am not capable of either.  I am a 100% okay with that because I accept those are gifts I do not have. I find it is more productive to focus on the strengths I do have and build on those. We all have different aptitudes and potentialities.

6)Ask yourself if you really want what someone else has. Are you envious of someone who makes big bucks working in the financial sector but you are risk averse and HATE numbers? This go back to looking at the reality of the life of someone you are envious of. Are you a working mom who when you son gets sick starts to wish you were a stay-at-home mom? Yet when you were on maternity leave you were dying to get back to work because you missed it? We fall into feelings of envy when we forget about the compromises involved in our choices. The compromise we ALL have made in our choices.

Perhaps you have days you wish you could be home with your kids but you enjoy the professional fulfillment of your career and being independent is an important value to you-financial and otherwise. You wouldn’t be happy being financially dependent on someone else or without the ability to use your education and skills. Your kids are also already in school so you wouldn’t be home with them most of the day anyway.

Therefore your envy of a stay at home mom is not what you really want if you were to weigh the pros and cons. You are solely focused on the benefits and not the big picture of what that choice means giving up. This is a common dilemma I hear from women especially as it relates to balancing one’s career with being a parent. Don’t fall victim to the grass is always greener syndrome.

7)Be cognizant of the negativity envy brings to your life. Envy damages and destroys relationships. It creates unhealthy competition. It leads to negative feelings about yourself AND others.

Envious people think life is a zero sum game. They view another person’s win as their own loss. This comes from a scarcity mindset.

Indulging feelings of envy is a road to unhappiness. Have you ever met an envious person who did not seem miserable? Unlikely.

Feelings of envy are likely to lessen as you mature and as you learn to be realistic of your potentialities and accept your limitations.

Try not to worry about what others have.

At the end of the day, we all have our OWN race to run. Comparing yourself to others is a race your will NEVER will and all it will do is SLOW you down on your way to achieving your goals.

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counseling, psychology, self-help

Dysfunctional Families: Who They Are and How to Overcome Yours

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Ever wonder if you were raised in a dysfunctional family? There is no real guide to determining if a family is categorically dysfunctional, but here are some questions to ask yourself:

~If people tell you that you are like your mom or dad do you get upset and hope it is not true?

~Do you have a history of struggling with depression?

~Do people in your family always “react” to the choices of other family members? Dramatic reactions in fact?

~Have you said something hurtful (or many hurtful) things to someone in your family and wish you could take it back?

~Is your family quick to blame?

~Do you feel guilty standing up for yourself?

~Have people in your family said things to you that were just plain cruel?

~Do you feel angry often?

~Do you constantly people please?

~Are you a perfectionist?

~Do you struggle with your self-esteem?

~Do you self-medicate? Alcohol, drugs, food, sex?

~Is your family judgmental and critical of others?

~Do you relate to others with dysfunctional families? Alcoholic parents? Divorced parents?

~Is your family competitive with each other?

~Do you believe you will be (or are) a better parent than your parents?

~Is there on-going conflict in your family? With different members? Across the different generations?

~Do you struggle with anxiety?

~Is it hard to communicate in your family?

~Does it feel like there is a hierarchy within your family? Where some members are more important than other members?

~Do family members gossip about other members? Lots of third-party conversations?

~Growing up was your home life unpredictable? Did you move a lot? Switch schools frequently?

~Do you feel afraid to disagree with your family outright because risk of rejection?

~As a kid, did your parent feel more like a friend than a parent?

~Does your family hate change? Are new members welcomed in? Are adult children encouraged to be independent?

~As a kid, were your parents overly strict? Overly permissive?

~Is there a lack of diversity in your family? Are differences of opinion tolerated?

~Do you fear being abandoned?

~Did one (or both) of your parents leave you as a child? Physically or emotionally

~Is it hard for you to trust others?

These are just some possible signs of dysfunction in the family system. You may relate to some, none, or many of the aforementioned questions. Dysfunction exists on a continuum. If you relate, don’t feel too bad–most families have some level of dysfunction inherent in them– which is usually passed down from generation to generation.

Nobody comes from a perfect family.

Yet in dysfunctional families, every member has a role. The rescuer, the victim, the persecutor. For every rescuer there is a victim. For every victim there is a persecutor. So starts the triangulation of these “roles.” Dysfunctional families frequently engage in triangles.

Triangulation is when instead of members talking directly with each other about problems, they bring an outside person in to intervene in a conflicted or stressful relationship, in an attempt to ease tension and facilitate communication.

Let’s say brother A tells brother B he would like brother C to help out more with their sick father who needs a lot of day-to-day assistance at home. Dad is getting older, with more severe health issues, and can use all the support he can get from ALL his sons. When brother B goes back to brother C and gives the message, then brother C will wonder why brother A didn’t just come and ask for himself.

There is always a manipulation tactic within triangulation. Brother A might not like to ask brother C or he might know brother C will say no so he hopes brother B can be more convincing than he was when he asked the last week. Or maybe brother A realizes the only way to get brother C to do what he wants is to put familial pressure on him. When both brother A and brother B ask brother C, then brother C might feel even more pressure to comply.

Dysfunctional families triangulate to coerce other members to do things they rather not do. They also use it as a way to manage conflict. People who triangulate will call this “venting” but the healthy way to deal with conflict is to talk about it directly with the person you are having conflict with. The problem with triangles it is usually prevents, rather than invite, the resolution of conflict.

Venting and complaining about family disintegrates all three relationships within the triangle. Trust fades for someone who talks about others behind their backs. Respect also lessens for someone who listens complacently to endless fault-finding.

 

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Triangulation is also extremely unhealthy when children are involved. The wife who confides in her young son about the troubles in her marriage. The father who shares his worries about finances with his tween daughter instead of speaking directly to his wife.  In dysfunctional families we often see parentified children-where the child is expected to act as the parent and the parent acts like the child. The oldest child may help his siblings off to school, makes lunches, helps with homework because the parent, for whatever reason, is unavailable–whether physically or emotionally. Often a parentified child acts like parents to his OWN parents. The parentified child usually takes on the role in an attempt to keep chaos at bay and keep the family unit functioning and together. Later when the parentified child grows up they usually pick a spouse who is dependent–so they can continue to play this role of parent to their spouse.  This is a clear example of boundary problems and unhealthy roles within the family system.

Another common problem in dysfunctional families is the lack of self-differentiation. Murray Bowen, who is the father of this concept, made it one of the cornerstones of family systems therapy.  Self-differentiation has two tenets: that you are able to separate your feelings from your thoughts AND you are able to distinguish between your experience and the experience of those you are connected to.

Being self-differentiated is being able think for yourself and act according to your own values. When you are self-differentiated you able to disagree with the choices of a family member without trying to get them to change.  The less differentiated you are the more impacted by others’ thoughts and opinions you will be. A highly differentiated person can maintain a solid sense of self even under considerable stress and anxiety (Bowen). People who are self-differentiated are not reactive and are able to make decisions independent of the input of others. At a lesser level of differentiation, a person is dependent on the input of others to make decisions and function. A person with a low-level of self-differentiation will exhibit many symptoms of stress and often act destructively under pressure. Even intelligent people can be poorly differentiated (Bowen).

When you are self-differentiated, you still care about your family and want to be connected to them. Yet you are able to limit the chaos and are not be enmeshed with your family. Enmeshment is when you are defined by the family system and look to it for your happiness rather than to the outside, larger world. When you are enmeshed, your sense of identity is wrapped up in your family. You are not able to recognize where you end and they begin. This psychological boundary does not exist in dysfunctional families.

In unhealthy family systems, it is hard to differentiate because differences are not tolerated. If you are conservative and your family is liberal you are mocked. If your family is athletic and you rather read than play a sport, you are teased.  If Christmas is always at sister Susie’s and you want to have it at your house, you are met with resistance. Change is not welcome in dysfunctional families-of the individual or the system as a whole. In this type of family differences are not celebrated. Lots of shame permeates the family system.

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In dysfunctional families, members are made to feel guilty if they don’t visit enough, call enough, come home enough.  In such families, alliances are often being formed. These alliances are ever shifting. Alliances form because members are expected to choose “sides” on every issue. In healthy families, members don’t gang up on others, pick sides, or insert themselves into conflict between other members. These are all symptoms of an unhealthy family system at play. Remaining neutral in the face of conflict is a sign of maturity and self-differentiation.

For example in enmeshed families, there tends to be a lot of drama because everyone feels entitled to opine and react on the decisions of other members. For example, son A decides he is going to move across the country for a job. In an enmeshed family, the parents may take this as a betrayal and personal affront. They may feel he is abandoning the family. Mom and Dad share their hurt and disappointment with son B instead of sharing how they feel DIRECTLY with son A.

Therefore, son B may pick a fight with son A to express his disapproval and as a way to align with the parents. Son B and the parents are forming a coalition to try to impede son A’s decision to move away. When Son A responds in a level-headed, non-reactive way to his parents and brother, calmly stating why he is choosing to move, he is met with anger and rage. His parents and brother take his calmness and composed demeanor as a sign he does not care or love them.

In unhealthy families, chronic anxiety exists. When you self-differentiate and are non-enmeshed you are much more relaxed and calm. This is viewed as a threat to other family members who are still in a state of enmeshment. In toxic, immature families becoming more mature, less reactive, and less anxious is viewed as you don’t care, you don’t love me, you are cold.

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The blurring of self is normal in a dysfunctional family. If you come from a family riddled with dysfunction, the idea of personal boundaries may seem foreign to you. You are used to living in a bondary-LESS environment.  A person’s willingness to accept your boundaries and limits show where their level of respect is for you AND how emotionally developed they are. In a dysfunctional family it is hard to negotiate with other members the amount of separateness and closeness you feel comfortable with because compromise is not something rigid family systems can do.

Dysfunctional families can be cult like. Oftentimes family members are not even aware of the dysfunction or in denial about it. Things are never discussed. Third party conversations run rampant. Direct communication does not exist. Expectations are never questioned. It is just the way it is.

All dysfunctional families want to maintain the status quo. This is what we always done, this is what we will always do is the family motto.

How to Begin to Differentiate from Your Family

1)Uncover your family’s rules and paradigm.

2)Ask if you believe the rules you have been following blindly since childhood. Children follow their parents unquestioningly, adults do not. It is appropriate when you are the child to look to your parents to affirm your identity. As an adult, this is unhealthy.

3)Stop needing your family for things they can’t provide. The mother you never had. The father you always wanted. It isn’t going to happen. Stop waiting on this. The sister you always wanted to love you a certain way–who doesn’t, can’t, won’t.  This is a time to begin the acceptance process.

4)Reflect on what YOU believe. YOU. Stop handing your emotional power over to your family. Be who you want to be not the role your family expects you to be.

5)Understand guilt, shame, and transference of anxiety is NOT caring. It is the norm in dysfunctional, undifferentiated families. Stop holding onto these feelings-it only revictimizes you.

6)Resist the urge to rescue others.

7)Do for yourself what your family could never do for you.

8)Be mindful. This is not about blaming your family. This is about acceptance. This is you being you while being connected to your family. This is not about disconnection. This is about healthy connection.

Accept while you may have changed that we can’t change others unless they want to change. This is a time of opportunity for you. Instead of perpetuating the cycle of dysfunction, you can change the future—when it comes to breaking the cycle with your children and the next generation.

 

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counseling, psychology, self-help

Why We Hate The Idea of Being Average

I want you to take a moment to ask yourself how you would feel if someone referred to you as average?

Most likely you would feel quite insulted.

None of us like to view ourselves as being average.  

As a society, we have become obsessed, with how we compare in relation to the average.

As a culture, we have elevated people’s ambitions, to the point where we are raised to believe we can all be exceptional, if we just work hard enough at it.

In fact, studies have shown most people rate themselves as “better than average” across various different traits which is statistically impossible.

On a scale of 1-10, perhaps you would rate yourself a 7.

On a scale of 1-10, perhaps you would rate most OTHERS a 5.

We don’t mind assigning the title of average to other people but we don’t want to be considered average ourselves.

The reality is most of us are more or less average—average looking, of average intelligence, making about an average salary. And so on and so forth. Maybe some of us are above average in one aspect or another but few of us are far above average across the board in all facets of life.

Yet why is it so easy to look at others and recognize this statistical fact but few of us can admit to ourselves the many ways in which we are average?

The reason is what psychologists call illusory superiority. 

Illusory superiority is the tendency to overestimate one’s positive qualities and capabilities, and to underestimate one’s negative qualities, relative to others.

It is something we all do from time to time. And for the most part it is a great way to protect one’s mental health and self-esteem…if not taken to the extreme.

Looks at all the ways you may engage in this behavior:

Ever notice how you judge yourself by your “intentions” but judge others by their behavior?

Blame others for negative events instead of looking how your behavior played a factor?

Credit yourself with earning an “A” but blame the professor if you earned a “C?”

How you emphasize other people’s negative qualities but highlight your own positive qualities?

Give yourself credit for a top month sales record but blame the economy when your sales are on the decline?

How you make excuses for yourself but then judge others harshly when the same exact thing happens to them?

This self-enhancing bias is in play whenever you seek to excuse your failures as something beyond your control and attribute your successes to your own great character.

Human psychology, being what it is, is to always try to figure out a way to give yourself an edge over others. No one wants to see themselves as an Average Joe. Or Jane.

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But being average does not mean you are a failure.

If anything, there are many advantages to being average. Even good things taken to the extreme become undesirable.

Ambition…too much turns into greed, too little turns into failure

Conscientiousness….too much turns into a people pleaser, too little into a selfish jerk

Sociability…too much into an attention seeker, too little into anti-social

Work ethic….too much into a workaholic, too little results in the unemployment line

Confidence….too much turns into arrogance, too little into self-consciousness

If you want to be healthy, avoiding many physical and psychological illnesses, you want to be average.

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And the reality is most of us LIVE average lives.

Which is good because the world caters to those of us who live ordinary lives.

People who think being average means that they will never improve their life, or achieve any greatness in their life, have a really unhealthy mindset.

Once you accept being average, you will be happier. More productive. More satisfied with your life.

When you accept being average, you explore and give things a try. Because you are not caught up in trying to be perfect or extraordinary, which limits your willingness to even try.

If you let go of the pressure that you have to achieve some sort of greatness in order to achieve a “fulfilling” life, you may find a new appreciation for all the ordinary, average things in life.

If I felt I had to be an extraordinary writer to begin a blog, I would never be able to start a blog.

But I feel okay with being a more or less average writer who is passionate about the subject I write about.

Acceptance of being average, will give you many things to explore, without the pressure of needing to be exceptional.

So here’s to being average! If you find any grammar or spelling mistakes, I am not Mark Twain, and this is not the New York Times!

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counseling, psychology, self-help

Are You Putting Your Happiness on Hold? How the Arrival Myth Will Ruin Your Life

Have you been putting your happiness on hold?

Are you waiting on your life circumstances to be just right to finally feel happy?

The concept of the arrival myth is that once you have “arrived” at a certain point in your life, everything will fall into place, and the life you have ALWAYS wanted will begin.

Tell me if any of these sounds familiar:

“Once I am finally in the right relationship…..then I will be happy

“As soon as I get out of debt…. then I will be happy

“Once I am done with school….then I will be happy

“When I lose those 30 pounds…. then I will be happy

“Once my kid gets into college… then I will be happy

“As soon as I get that raise… then I will be happy

“When I finally leave this horrible job…. then I will be happy”

~And the list goes on and on. ~

We put our happiness off to the future to AFTER we reach some future, external goal or event.

The myth of arrival leaves us believing that once we get to this certain point; our life will magically FEEL better. Because that is what the arrival myth is all about. How you feel.

For me, putting my happiness on hold until I reach some external goal or event seems like a surefire way to wake up on my deathbed never having experienced being happy. Human nature, being what it is, we are always going to keep moving the goal post.

There is also no way to ensure that the thing we are wishing for will even have any effect whatsoever on our happiness. This sets us up for pain, when we reach the goal we so longed for, and the happiness we were expecting, never comes.

Imagine losing 30 pounds and still feeling just as depressed…

Imagine having your kid get into their first choice college and still feeling just as anxious….

Imagine getting that huge raise and still feeling just as lonely…..

The reality is accomplishments don’t take away our depression OR anxiety OR our loneliness. Our life will not suddenly be all sunshine and roses once we reach our goal. The myth of arrival has to be one of the most happiness stealing mindsets around. It is common, so part of being human.

This type of thinking keeps us so focused on the destination, we cannot enjoy the journey.

Don’t be that person. Try to be happy. NOW.  No matter what the circumstances of your life are—don’t wait for the new job, new house, new partner, new location, new body, new income to experience joy.

Try not to allow your current circumstances make you long for a past that cannot be recovered OR put your happiness on a future event that may never come.

Remind yourself there are many people worse off than you in this world. We all know the common phrase “first world problems” which is something I think to myself when I am indulging in complaining or feeling like I got the short end of the stick in any given situation.  I tell myself that my problems really are NOT problems in the big scheme of things.

If you have your health, food in the fridge, a roof over your head, you are luckier than many who walk the Earth.

Remember you can always lose all the blessings you do have at any given moment.

Human nature is to take things for granted.

The extra 10 pounds you complain about don’t seem all that bad until you lose the job you support your family with. Then the job you complain about doesn’t seem all that bad, when you realize how hard it is to find a new one. See where I am going here? For some reason, as humans, we love to have problems to complain about to keep us from experiencing peace and contentment. If we don’t have any, we will create them. Reminding yourself things can ALWAYS be worse can help you appreciate all the imperfect but good things you do have.

Do not place your happiness in some future that may never even come.

Stop letting your current life situation steal your happiness, which you can be experiencing now.

Chances are, your life, is pretty great just the way it is.

counseling, psychology, self-help

Are You The Problem? Here’s How to Tell, and How to Change

 

There is no good way to say it…but sometimes the problem is YOU.

Rarely if ever, when you ARE the problem, do you realize it.

But maybe, just maybe, the problem with your life is you if:

*You push too hard to get your way.

*You think only one opinion matters-yours.

*You barely have any friends, and the friends you do have, are not very close friends.

*You are older than 5 and still yell. Or scream. (bonus point if you do this in public)

*You expect people to do as you say. Period.

*You can’t keep long-term relationships.

*You worry so much what other people think that it inhibits your life.

*You can’t control your emotions. And are a slave to them.

*You struggle with getting along with people at work.

*You enjoy saying passive aggressive things.

*Putting others down makes you feel good.

*You are not happy for others.

*You only see in black and white.

*You think everyone else is …..(fill in the blank: stupid, immature, selfish —whatever your favorite go to generalization is).

*You can’t accept difference of opinions.

*You hate to listen.

*You lie.

*You manipulate.

*You knowingly hurt others.

*You can’t apologize.

*You never learn from your mistakes.

These are just a few signs that it’s not them. IT IS YOU.

Problems are really based on perspective. It is obviously never fun to admit you have a problem, let alone you ARE the problem. Most of the time, people need the help of others (with a different perspective), to help them overcome such unhealthy behaviors.

If you see yourself in some of these behaviors, you are probably damaging the  relationships in your life, left and right.  You may not think you are the problem, but if you engage in said behaviors, you are likely a problem for others. While some people might stick it out with you no matter what, like your parents or spouse, you are probably driving most people away. At best, people in your life are tolerating you.

But there is hope. It can change. AND you can change.

And you will feel better if you do.

The first step is recognizing these behaviors in yourself.

If you can and do recognize these unhealthy behaviors, it is time to take a moment and ask yourself WHY you are creating such negativity in your life.  Admitting it is half the battle. If you can admit to yourself you indulge in some of these behaviors, you can begin to eliminate them.

But if you continue to hold yourself above self-reflection, or be in denial about the way you act, you cannot begin to heal and grow.

Think long and hard about yourself, and be open and honest, about what is going well in your life, and what you would like to change. Writing this piece has deepened my committment to recognizing when I engage in such behaviors myself–which we all do from time to time. None of us are perfect. It also opened my eyes to appreciating all the people in my life who are so kind, warm, positive, and loving. Which is the way I think we all, at our core, want to be.

Be well, my friends.