I’ve been asked what my resolution is for 2010, so I will share it here. For the record, I have stopped making new year resolutions some years ago. I had found that the long list I tended to come up with too depressing after a while. Too much unnecessary pressure, as if life did not present enough on my plate already! I’ve since taken the route of flowing with whatever life presents, whatever time of the year it is. This year, if I were to come up with one resolution, it would be to keep every area of my life as simple as possible.
Simplicity is my current buzzword. It really appeals to me where I am at this stage of my life. The idea of lightening my load gives me an immediate sense of peace as it creates more room for my creative expression. Here’s my take on it:
Simplicity cuts out all the frivolous stuff that depletes our energy by taking up too much of our attention. It frees us up so that we can focus on the things that matter most to us without being pulled in different directions. When our attention is focused on fewer things, we retain our power to create the fabulous life we deserve. Simplicity enables us to nurture our own path and to ensure our emotional wellbeing. Instead of being bombarded by critical thoughts as a result of trying to fulfill everyone’s expectations, we are able to manage the areas towards which we have chosen to channel our energies. Our load becomes lighter and we’re able to give more to what’s really important to us.
Culprit #1: People-pleasing
One of the first steps in creating more space for our own pursuits is by drawing our boundaries with people. I have decided to spend my free time with people I really care for and who supports my growth as I support theirs. That also means spending less or no time with those who are stuck in perpetual mental poverty and all the behavioural symptoms that come from it – i.e. being manipulative, unreliable, unprofessional, under-handed, lazy, abusive, controlling, etc.
When we try to become all things to everyone, we become overloaded with responsibilities. These responsibilities drain us mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Mentally, we become harsh on ourselves as we struggle to make everyone happy, and we suffer emotionally. Our spirit is depleted because we neglect our self-growth. In the end, our health suffers. Compromising ourselves this way isn’t healthy for any relationship as the imbalance will catch up with us eventually.
Self-nurturance should be everyone’s priority. Without people-pleasing, you will be able to create a healing space for yourself without feeling guilty about leaving other people behind or neglecting obligations that are borne out of guilt.
Culprit #2: Over-analysing
Stop trying to figure things out too much. The mental drain from needing to work out, comprehend and label everything leaves us with little resources to get clarity on the things that really matter to us. Learn to be okay with not knowing. What if your mind resists letting go of knowing? Consciously relax that resistance and allow the discomfort to move through you without further resisting it until you find yourself in the space of not knowing. After some practice, you will get better at it and eventually master the art of letting go.
Sometimes, we tend to read too much into other people’s behaviours and take them personally. We generate negative feelings from the stories we create out of what we think other people’s motives are towards us. To simplify your life, give up the need to interpret other people’s actions and accept that all of us are doing the best we can given our circumstances.
Culprit #3: Starting too many projects
I have a habit of working on too many projects at a time and end up not completing any of them. This year, I will focus my energy on completing not more than two projects at a time. Having one or two pet projects is more inspiring, without the daunting prospect of having to move ahead with so many different projects.
Also in this category, I will finish reading one book before starting another. Seeing five unfinished books on my bedside table (a few with cobwebs) gives me a certain amount of stress. For books that I cannot get past certain pages, I will abandon the need to finish reading them. One book only at a time.
Culprit #4: Being indecisive
When we can’t make up our minds about something, guess where our attention is. Everywhere. And each subject gets only a watered-down version of our attention. People can’t decide because they’re afraid that what they choose will turn out to be not such a good choice and that what they’ve not chosen turns out to be better. Sometimes, even after making a decision, people are still wondering if they’ve made a good choice. Guess where their attention is. Neither here nor there.
I have a reputation of being rather indecisive when ordering meals. I love food, and the more variety is presented to me the more indecisive I get. I’ve been practising being quicker when ordering food. I’m also learning to be happy with what I pick out of the menu and to enjoy it fully without wishing I had ordered something else. Sometimes, if I can’t decide between two items, the solution I take is to order both, which leads me to ask you:
What if you wanted more than one thing? In the spirit of simplicity, I will say that it is okay to choose two but more than that is a sign of greed and distaste, not to mention it will pass the point of being simple!
Culprit #5: Forcing things to happen
In one of my previous posts, I talked about the power of deciding and taking actions (The Power Of Saying “I Have Decided!”). Now, there’s a difference between being proactive and being too forceful in manifesting an outcome. When you’re being forceful, you risk crossing the line into being desperate and manipulative. The harshness of this energy will repel rather than support the manifestation of something you desire.
Give it over to trust. Trust will relieve you of worrying too much and forcing things to happen. Worrying is not going to help bring about a different outcome, it will make you feel smaller and smaller. With trust, you will enter the space of infinite possibilities where all the abundance in the world can bring whatever you want into manifestation.
Culprit #6: Needing to be perfect
This is a killer energy-drainer for so many people. Needing to be perfect means that you will always be judging yourself against other people and feeling inadequate. How do we rate perfection anyway? Whatever you think perfection is, the bar will be raised as soon as you get close to it. So you’ll be caught up in a cycle of striving for something that doesn’t exist (for more on this subject, read The Perfection Of Imperfection).
When you strive to be perfect, you are in essence saying to yourself that you are not good enough right now. So your well-meaning projects get abandoned until the day when you feel you have reached perfection. The question I’d like to ask you is, when will you ever be good enough?
You don’t have to make yourself believe you are perfect now if you don’t feel you are. Just work on recognising that you are good enough to do whatever it is you are waiting to do. Focus on your accomplishments so far and know that you are capable of accomplishing more – but only if you get on with it. Let go of wanting to be the best. It is better to do a little than not at all while you wait for perfection.
Culprit #7: Neglecting yourself
Sometimes, choosing to take time out for ourselves may seem counter-intuitive. We tend to find it easier to carry on with writing that report, making those phone-calls, tending to somebody else’s needs, etc. and end up over-stretching ourselves. We need to choose to do the things that help reduce our stress levels even in the midst of trying to reach a deadline. It may seem as if by taking time out we would slow our progress, but a dedicated half an hour of being in our own space would allow us to re-energise and be more productive in the long run.
If you work from home or if domestic chores become overwhelming, taking a relaxing bath or meditating in a quiet corner will clear your head and leave you recharged. When you’re in front of your computer, you may come across a nurturing article but delete it without reading because you’re afraid of wasting precious time. Yet the article may contain soul-nourishing messages or give you insights for where you are heading in your life. The point is, we sometimes make poor choices, thinking that the things that are going to do us good are a waste of time.
Operating on adrenaline may help push you forward when you lack motivation, but one can’t live healthily like that. That chaotic way of living will lead you to create more madness in your life. In contrast, a calm, focused, present mindset will help you to make clear choices and make the management of your daily life simpler.
Culprit #8: Over-promising
This is a behavioural outcome of people-pleasing but deserves its own category because it is such a stress-building pattern. Overpromising generates guilty feelings when you find yourself unable to deliver on your promises. Guilty feelings lead you to beat yourself up and feeling lousy about yourself. Very quickly, it turns into the worst kind of mental self-abuse and creates a massive entanglement of conflicts within yourself.
Forcing yourself to stop the habit of over-promising is not enough. You need to examine what motivates you to do it. Some of the common issues behind over-promising include insecurity about who you are perceived to be, fear of rejection, and unresolved guilt around something that happened in the past. There’s a big, juicy story in your head; explore that story, own up to your feelings associated with that story, and challenge how real it is. In the process, you chart your way out of being held imprisoned by that story and liberate yourself forever.
Culprit #9: Wanting to get your way all the time
Most of the people who visit this blog have probably been working on transcending this for a while, but you would remember what it was like struggling from your ego in your dealings with other people. The inability to let go of being right and getting your way all the time is a massive drain on our resources. The constant fight to prove a point or win an argument or get the upper-hand in a situation or one-upmanship is a waste of energy. When you come out the end of it, the prize you get is an inflation of your ego, but it might have cost you a few friendships or respect from your peers.
It takes maturity to be able to concede to another person’s viewpoint, to withdraw from an argument, to accept that someone else is better than you, and to be gracious about receiving less than you’ve given. We can learn to be comfortable with not getting our way by simply accepting it.
Simplicity surrounds you with a sparkling, clean energy. It allows you to respect the powers of your gifts and in so doing strengthens your sense of yourself as a powerful, magnificent being.