I love Gretchen Rubin’s work. She recently launched her new book, Outer Order, Inner Calm. What a great title! It’s true that when we get our physical environments decluttered there is a shift in the feel and energy of the place… and as a result we feel more serenity.
I thought I’d play off her title a bit for this week’s blog and dive deeper into the idea of decluttering the inner parts of ourselves. Our minds, hearts, and souls are so often the dumping ground for negative self-talk, shame, judgement, guilt, and regret. It’s no wonder our lives feel chaotic and frantic when our insides are plugged up with the gunk!
So, let’s flip Gretchen’s title and look at creating more outer CALM
through more inner ORDER. Like how I switched that up?
When you make a commitment to decluttering at an inner level, suddenly the outside world doesn’t hold the power to trigger you as much. So, when I think of decluttering deep down within, I immediately go to Brene Brown’s idea of moving away from the 3 P’s:
Oh… and I thought of one more, but you’ll have to read (or listen) to the end to hear it!
So, let’s dive in and look at how moving away from the 3 P’s has the power to create more calm and ease in your everyday.
Oh yes, I know some of you are nodding your heads. You are the appeasing, kind, empathic and compassionate lovely beings who just want to be nice. I had a therapist once ask me “Meg, what do you want to be known for?” My response was, “oh I just want to make other people happy.” She followed it up with “what about making yourself happy?”
Creating your own happiness can be a foreign concept at times… because you fear your happiness may steal someone else’s because they aren’t going to get what they want.
But is that your business?
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of bringing joy to other people. I love the idea of doing nice things for those I care about. My Mom gave me a quote years ago and I can’t remember who said it, but it went something like this… “The noblest art is that of making others happy.” But I bet the author didn’t mean at the expense of yourself.
When being “nice” is the most important factor in how you live your life, you probably stand a good chance at also burning out big time.
Being an over-pleaser in a way can also be slightly manipulative.
Think about when you are overly appeasing to people. What is it that you want? For them to like you? To get what you want from them? Instead, let them like you if they want to… or not.
So, take a look at how much of your energy and headspace is focused on others.
Is it really your job to absorb other people’s responsibilities, energy, jobs, and their “STUFF?” Letting others work out their own pathology is not mean… it’s respectful. Times of crisis are invitations to learn, grow, and heal… so why would you interrupt that for someone else?
This is an interesting one because I think there is a balance between healthy pleasing and toxic pleasing. Use your inner radar to know the difference for you.
Once you balance your output of energy, resources, and time between yourself and others, you develop a solid and secure sense of self-possession.
You’ll find you are then able to give the gift of a less frazzled and more calmer version of yourself to others. Now that sounds pleasing!
Most people assume I’m an extrovert but trust me… I’ve done the quizzes and assessments and my true nature is instead that of an extrovert.
As a result, in the past I tended to “gear myself up” for social and work events… and all the gearing up got me all jacked up! I found myself “performing,” making jokes, laughing much louder than felt comfortable, and simply feeling awkward and exhausted afterward. It wasn’t until a family member gave me a book around “taking off the masks we wear in life to reveal the true you” did I realize that my performance skills were waning.
Today, I don’t care as much…. and don’t perform as much.
I don’t mean that in a negative way. It’s just that I have learned to only say yes to things that feel expansive… and no to the ones that give me that “Uggghhh” feeling. The result? I am more myself.
Recently I listened to a podcast where the woman explained this:
1/3 of the people in your life won’t like you. (WHAT?!)
1/3 will be neutral and indifferent to you.
The remaining 1/3 will love you.
So why waste time trying to perform for the first two? It’s a losing battle AND doing so requires you to step out of the real and authentic YOU… and that confuses the 1/3 that loves you!
So, stop performing and quit trying to be digestible to others and just… be…. you. Pretty please!
Recently I messed up “big time.” Over the course of two weeks, I forgot to hop on a conference call, thought I had sent an email when I didn’t and mixed up someone’s name with another person.
All were incredibly embarrassing… and the rumination wheel was on full speed. I kept going over in my head how I had “screwed up” and creating narratives of what they were thinking of me and saying to others. It really became quite the masterpiece. In fact, it got to the point where I thought of pitching it to the Lifetime Movie Chanel. Just kidding…
But I share this with you because this is a BIG one. We are SO HARD ON OURSELVES!
The funny thing is, as I am writing this blog, I realize these scenarios happened to me the last month:
A woman reached out to me after reading my blog. She wanted to meet for coffee to learn more and look at possibly collaborating on a few things. As I sat there the following week waiting…. and waiting… I texted her. She was dropping her daughter off at camp… four hours away. She was mortified. Was my reaction one of anger or judgment? Nope. She put down the wrong date and life goes on. I simply used the time to work on some things that I needed to get done and thought “well, she gave me the gift of time.”
A week later a colleague was late on a deadline for a mutual project.
Did I verbally berate her for several days? Did I call to remind her that she seriously screwed up and should feel bad? Did I tell her that this ruined all chances of us ever working together in the future?
NO WAY! In fact, in both instances, I forgot the hiccups within a matter of minutes.
So why can’t I do that for myself? Trust me, I’m working on it.
When you feel perfectionism creep in when you “screw up” instead of internally abusing yourself, simply take a breath and ask yourself “will this matter a year from now?” …and then think of what you can do to avoid the situation from happening again in the future. That’s called “positive framing” and it works! Acknowledge it, learn from it… and
LET IT GO!
For me, I decided the learning would include louder alerts on my phone, better documentation, and most of all. SLOWING DOWN.
I will tell you this perfectionism thing definitely steals my serenity and maybe it does for you as well. So, won’t you join me in releasing it?
Okay, so I promised you my 4th add on to Brene’s 3 P’s for creating more of a sense of calm in your life.
Are you ready? Here it is… and it’s a biggie.
How often do you project on to others what YOU would do, how YOU would react, what YOU would say, and how YOU would act?
Please, please, please can we stop hopping over into other people’s biz?
Take my conversation with a client today. We were discussing how someone had hurt her. She felt unloved, undervalued, and invisible. Somehow that is almost worse than feeling disliked… do you agree? The feeling of indifference from someone almost spurs you on to get them to really like you… because I mean, come on, who wouldn’t like you?!
Then later that day I was lamenting on how someone wasn’t following through on a promise they had made to me. It left me experiencing feelings of being unsupported and ignored.
Can you relate?
Now I know you know that old mantra of “expectations are resentments waiting to happen” and trust me that was ringing in my ears. As I role played in my head, however, on the 30-minute drive to Birdie’s vet appointment, I negotiated with myself. I argued this mantra only held true for when you did something for someone else and expected something in return… not when someone promises you something and never follows through.
Then I started wondering if it did apply.
Even if someone promises me something and never follows through, I am stuck in expectations and thus my resentment?
“Um… no way!”
“I guess it might”
“Okay okay… I guess it does.”
I realized I was completely out of my business and projecting an expectation on to someone when in reality… I wasn’t that person. I didn’t know what was going on in her world and at the end of the day whether she chose to step up or not was really none of my biz and that I should really just mind my own beeswax (does anyone even use that term anymore??)
Anyway, here’s the cool thing. This is one of those times that short-term rumination may serve you!
How so? Well, it’s a way of acknowledging how you feel and listening to the parts of yourself that are hurt. To feel an emotion such as anxiety or fear and completely negate it and jump over into minding your own biz… well, that would be in a big way blowing yourself off… and we don’t want to do that!
Take the time to feel your feelings, have the conversation in your head… and once you feel heard (by you!) it will be easier to let it be, let it go, and shift back into your lane.
So that is exactly what happened to me. When I was able to work through my feelings of frustrations and have the “a-ha” that at the end of the day, my friend’s in charge of her actions and I’m in charge of mine… well, let me tell you, in that moment I felt my body relax and a peacefulness wash over me.
Give me more of that, please!
Feelings of safety and security happen when you honor yourself, speak your truth, and then let things go that aren’t in your control. If a conversation is needed, you will now be in a much stronger and grounded position and be more likely to create a positive growth experience for you both.
Gathering up the courage to step out of familiar patterns is not always easy. What IS your business is how you want to “BE” in this world.
It’s how you want to show up to yourself, others, and the world.
It’s comfy, cozy, and empowering to realize that no matter what anyone else says or does, YOU are good with you.
So, there you go. Establishing more inner order by stepping away from over pleasing, over performing, over perfecting, and projecting can absolutely create more outer calm in your everyday experience.
I would love to hear more about what you do to create more peace and less anxiety. Feel free to leave a comment below!
I’ll see you next week,