I have 3 tips that I believe can help you live a better life.
In fact, they are replacements to things that you normally do. But those things, I argue, aren’t quite helpful or useful.
So, this is the type of article in which I will tell you, “Instead of doing X, try doing Z.” then I will explain how Z is more useful than X (and how X can actually be demoralizing).
Those 3 tips are about 3 domains in your life:
- The first one is about how you deal with yourself.
- The second one has something to do with social interactions and fostering your relationships with those you care about.
- The last one is about your outlook towards life. It should help you make better decisions regarding the way you go about your life.
Your relationship with yourself.
The important people in your life.
Your life’s philosophy.
I believe those are important things to you. And I believe you can improve them using those tips.
Let’s dive in.
Instead Of Calling Yourself Ugly Names, Try Saying, “I Need [Action/Feeling/Thought That Contradicts The Ugly Name]”
When we call ourselves ugly names, we put a label on ourselves.
We identify with the bad, ugly traits.
Like, they are no longer traits or behaviors or feelings. They are who we are.
And that’s crippling and demoralizing.
Here’s a few examples.
When you tell yourself that you are a failure, you are not going to try again or try differently or try something new. After all, why bother if you are a failure?
When you tell yourself that you are a liar and a dishonest person, you destroy every chance you have to become honest.
The same happens when you say you are a weak person. You become just that. And you destroy every chance you have to become more than that.
The label, the negative label, is a boundary you set and surrender to. It’s not helpful. It’s not honesty with one’s self, for there’s a difference between telling the truth honestly and just being rude and a downer.
It’s abusive and disrespectful. It signals giving up on yourself on some level.
In the long run, it will make you weaker, blow your self-confidence, and make you act way below your true potential if not in demoralizing ways.
Stop talking to yourself in ways that make you weak!
Here’s a better way to talk to yourself:
Instead of, “I am a liar and dishonest,” try to say, “I need to be telling the truth more. I need to face my fears and tell more truth.”
Instead of, “I am weak,” try, “I need to act better than this by taking on more responsibility and challenging myself a bit more than this.”
Change, “I am an ungrateful son of a bitch,” to, “I need to pay more attention to the good things I have in my life and stop taking things and people for granted.”
And change, “I am lazy,” to “I need to be working more and doing more useful, productive things.”
You get the idea.
This can make some difference. Treat yourself better with respect and clarity instead of name-calling and labeling.
Instead Of Trying To Fix Them And Save Them And Change Their Feelings, Just Be There For Them
You can practice this with anyone you like to. But it can make a huge difference if you applied it in your close relationships with the people you care about.
“People are entitled to their suffering. You cannot take that away from them.”
In other words, you cannot save someone or fix them. And, of course, you cannot ‘change them’.
In fact, attempting to do any of that will fire back. Even if you have the best intentions. You will likely disappoint yourself, hurt the other person, and damage the relationship you have with them.
And because when you do any of that, acceptance and empathy and understanding go out of the window.
Those are the things that keep the relationship together; they build trust. And those are the things that, if shown genuinely, can help you not only improve your relationship with that person but also help them become better people.
We act better when we feel we are cared for. When we feel seen and heard. We feel seen and heard when we are accepted for who we are, heard, understood, and like someone can/is trying to feel what we are going through.
So, trying to fix, save, and change them is not necessarily the same as being helpful!
You can do those you care about, and yourself, a favor by just being there.
So, instead of fixing and saving and changing, try listening, understanding, and showing empathy. Real empathy, not just sympathy.
Listen to what the other person has to say.
And don’t listen to judge. Don’t listen defensively by shutting off the other person. Being defensive won’t encourage the person to speak. And again, the purpose of listening is not to fix them. It’s understanding.
After listening, state what you understood in your own words. Ask if you are right. Seek a better understanding by asking more questions and allowing the person to express themselves more. And then try to make sense of what this might mean to them and what they might be feeling. Do this without assuming there’s something wrong with them or their feelings, to begin with. And do this with the belief that all feelings are valid and that feelings are realities to who is experiencing them.
You will connect better with them this way.
I really, really recommend watching this video. It’s only 3 minutes. One of the best 3 minutes I spent in my life.
I talked about this in broader ways in my book and video series. You can check it out.
If You Can’t Find Shinny Goals, Find Worthy Problems
It’s assumed that having goals can make your life meaningful.
But not all goals are created equally.
Not all goals have the power of driving your life in the long run.
I suggest finding worthy problems in your life and solving them.
Those problems can be personal. They can be social problems. And if you are the very, very ambitious one, and if you can go that far, they can be global problems.
Here’s the real reason I am advocating focusing on the problems.
Responsibility can toughen you up. And yes, you need to toughen up in a world where you can be stepped on and wiped out completely if you are naïve.
Problems require you to take on the responsibility of fixing them. They somehow present you with two choices: toughen up and deal with me or watch me get worse and screw up your life.
This act of accepting the responsibility for fixing those problems, and advancing your life as a result, is what can make your life meaningful. Not just the mere action of solving the problems or achieving your goals.
And it’s especially relatable if you are in a position in your life where everything you have is problems and misery and suffering. It’s more relatable than, “have some ambition and get some goals and pursue them.”
Plus, problems will always be a part of your life. Even if you achieve all your goals, you will still have problems you must deal with. And here comes the part of finding ‘worthy’ problems.
Worthy problems are problems that can advance your life if you work on solving them. That is, you will be taking care of yourself in the best possible ways if you work on solving those problems.
And that makes them very individual and personal.
Think about your own life. And then think about where you need to work and what you should/could fix. You know yourself and you know where you can use a little more work to have better results.
This can be something like:
- I need to be sleeping more and earlier. I have a lot of problems when it comes to sleeping, and it makes me less productive and more tired throughout the day.
- I spend a lot of time on social media and I can’t seem to put my phone down. This makes me waste a lot of time. And my attention span is as short as my C.V. I need to control this else I will not be able to do anything productive or useful, either because I am tired or just because I can’t focus. And oh, I can’t sleep well; maybe it’s because of this as well!
- I need to control my addiction to [you name it: alcohol, smoking weed, smoking in general, pornography, internet, gambling, sex, …etc.]. It’s making my life worse in many ways. It’s crippling me.
- I am broke. I need to find a job that can pay the bills for now. And I need to find a source of income that can make me not be broke 5 years in the future.
- I need to work on my social and communication skills. I feel lonely and I believe I can do better than this. I want better relationships that I enjoy.
As you can see, it’s not just about focusing on the problem and then dwelling on it. It’s about addressing the problem, thinking about solutions, and then focusing on where those possible solutions can take you.
So, what problems are in your life you should be taking responsibility for working on? What problems that, if you worked on, you would be actually taking care of yourself?
Something to think about.