Life is what is happening when we are worried about the future or depressed about the past. The past is gone and the future hasn’t come yet. The only thing we truly have is right now. If your attention is on the past or the future you are missing life.
With so much of what we encounter in life, there is much more going on than meets the eye. It is just like in the Wizard of Oz, the man behind is curtain is not anything like the Great Oz. The man who seems to have everything he could ever want. The successful professional with the world by the tail, the beautiful and talented woman who gets all the attention, or how about that couple who seem to have the perfect relationship?
What we see is only the surface of what most people experience. They show a facade and only what they want others to see. Much more is going on behind closed doors and in their heads. Then we find ourselves comparing ourselves, our lives, and our relationships with them. In many cases it isn’t far from reality. It has nothing to do with the reality of their lives or what they are experiencing. Just as you only show the world what you want others to see about you (for the most part).
We make up stories about the people around us to fit what we believe about them. Our stories rarely match reality. This is harmful to us because our expectations about ourselves and our lives are based in on these unrealistic beliefs. We try to live up to something that is not real.
Just remember the Great Oz.
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Many of us come from homes that were unstable, full of conflict, and unpredictable. There could have been a great deal of dysfunction, mental illness, conflict between parents, substance abuse and other addictions, or other issues. As children we became immune to all the drama and conflict that surrounded us daily and it became normal for us.
As we enter adulthood, we seem to be magnets for problems and issues to come our way. We find that when things are smooth and calm in our lives, we become restless and bored. When many of us do is to develop a need or “addiction” to having drama and turmoil in our lives. We find ourselves having to deal with problems and conflicts. We seem to make poor choices with decisions and relationships. Our internal compass is not within our awareness. We end up with depression and anxiety.
Part of the recovery process is learning to be comfortable with a fairly calm and drama-free life.
It occurred to me that people go to great expense and extraordinary lengths in order to improve the way they look. There are all kinds of plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures that are both painful and expensive. It has been my experience that people are far less willing to experience the process of addressing lifelong issues and the expense of seeking the help of those best equipped to help them.
Improving your ability to deal with life, improve your relationships with yourself and others, and increasing your chances for a successful and rewarding life has much more value than a nose job or a boob job. How much is better self esteem or increased confidence worth to you? Changing the inside greatly improves your quality of life far more than anything you can change to your external appearance. Think about it.
With increased awareness, focus, and persistence you can make changes in the way you think, what things mean to you, as well as change behaviors. You can see dramatic changes in your overall mood and the quality of your life. There are 4 simple steps to this process:
1. Increase awareness and identify those thoughts and behaviors that have caused you be depressed or anxious. There is an internal conversation going on within us all. You need to become more aware of what you are thinking and what things mean to you. Your feelings and behaviors are a result of your thoughts and what meaning you give them. Journaling is as great tool to use in order to facilitate more awareness.
2. Explore alternative thoughts and/or behaviors that may be more effective.
3. Change your thoughts and behaviors. This requires vigilance and increasing your focus. When you find yourself falling back into old thoughts and behaviors, switch to what you have replaced it with. This could require some trial and error to find what is most effective for you.
4. Repeating the new thoughts and/or behavior is reinforced by more positive results (feeling better and more desirable outcomes). The new thoughts and behaviors will be internalized and replace the old ones.
This process works. You WILL be able to change your life!!!