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Last Updated on June 16, 2020

21 Reasons Why We Complicate Life

21 Reasons Why We Complicate Life

These days, many people live stressful, complicated, hurried lives — going and going and going and sometimes getting nowhere. I’ve been there too, with so much to do with seemingly little time to do it. Trying to be in control and rushing from people to places to projects with good intentions to get it all done.

If you’re one of these many people, even if it’s just every now and then, you should know that there are a few ways we actually make life harder on ourselves. The reverse of this is also true. Undoing our stress can be the path to really living life right.

Perhaps the thing we need the most isn’t more things to do, but a thorough cleaning of our mental, emotional, and physical to-do lists. When you’re doing so much in a day that you can’t remember anything you did and you don’t feel any better or more fulfilled having done it, then you are simply too busy and your life is too full and complicated.

Why complicate life?

Here are 21 ways we complicate life and how we can stop.

1. We Procrastinate

Projects pile up, certain tasks are constantly at the top of our to-do list, emails and text messages go unanswered, and people want our attention.

Nothing can clutter our minds more than things that go undone. When we don’t do the things we should at the times we know we should do them, we get overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed often leads to projects never being completed because we feel like we will never catch up.

Procrastination is complication. Our life will love us forever if we start doing things now.

Learn How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators.

2. We Worry

Worry is the mother of a complicated life. The more we worry, the more problems don’t get resolved.

Many times, we aren’t even facing real problems, just issues we’ve concocted in our minds. Yet we still worry. Worrying robs us of our joy, steals our peace of mind, and ruins our lives.

A problem is no greater than the power you give it. The energy we spend on our problems can be energy well-spent on finding solutions.

Here’s How to Stop Worrying About the Future: 8 Practical Techniques.

3. We Wait

The perfect time never seems to be now, so we wait for it. The dream seems unattainable now, so we wait for a better time. The work seems too hard now, so we wait for it to get lighter. We wait and wait and wait… We end up waiting all our lives for things we have the time, talent, money, and power to reach for right now.

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Waiting is fine when you are not in control, but waiting for opportunities when it is in your power to create them is not beneficial.

If you’re looking for the perfect time to do what you’ve always wanted, here’s the answer for you.

4. We Do More Than We Should

We say yes to everyone and everything. The idea of commitment means everything; overcommitment puts a smile on everyone else’s face but yours.

It’s enticing to fill every minute of every day with meeting people, working on projects, and going places. But you have to ask yourself, is it necessary?

Give yourself space — lots and lots of space. Learn the Gentle Art of Saying No. Think. Plan. Do what you should and leave the rest alone.

5. We Accept Too Many Interruptions

When we are always busy, we have very little time for interruptions. When we get unfairly interrupted, we respond negatively.

Interruptions should be kept to a minimum — if it isn’t an emergency, don’t give your time to it. You will always be crazy busy if you allow people to stick their heads in your door every ten minutes with meaningless objectives and projects they can handle themselves.

Shift your focus from dealing with interruptions and being distracted to things that really need your attention. Learn How to Not Get Distracted: 10 Practical Tips to Sharpen Your Focus.

6. We Seek Approval and Affirmation From Others

This is often done unconsciously. But let’s be honest, most of what we do, we want people to like. The more people don’t like it, the busier we are refining and revamping it. This causes stress. In fact, The Desire to Be Liked Will End You up Feeling More Rejected.

One of the hardest things you will ever do is try to please people. It’s hard because you’ll never succeed. It’s a game — a futile, empty one at that. The goal is to like what you do, love what you do, think your own thoughts, create the life you want to live, and never mind if anyone approves or affirms you in it.

Don’t be afraid to love the path you’re walking on and the life you’re living — every step, every minute.

7. We’re Not Really Productive

Busyness and productivity are on opposite ends of the spectrum — if you’re busy, more than likely you’re not as productive as you could be. If you’re productive, odds are you’re not so head-under-the-desk busy that you can’t see anything else.

Busyness will exhaust you and complicate your life. Take a breather. Allow yourself to step back, analyze what you’re doing, and select the things that are most important and that will yield the most results.

Find out the 11 Differences Between Busy People And Productive People and choose to be productive.

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8. We Aim for Control

When we try to control more than we should, we don’t enjoy the journey or the destination.

Control is not the goal in life, connection is. Connection with others and with yourself. You will quickly get tired, frustrated, and bored with life if you are intent on controlling everything in your life.

Learn to let things go. Give your heart and mind a break from making all the decisions, being involved in every detail, and trying to steer in all directions at once. It’s not worth it. Take a break. Let go of some of your high expectations.

Here’s How to Learn to Let Go of What You Can’t Control.

9. We Hold on to Birds That Need to Fly

You can’t untangle your life if you’re unwilling to let go of some things and some people. What you had five years ago may not be what you need now. The people who walked your journey with you one year ago may not be the same people who need to walk with you today.

Drop a load off of your life by not holding on too tightly. If you do, you’ll be disappointed and always wondering why? how? when? what?

Accept differences. Embrace change. Give yourself permission to let go so you can have room to grab the next opportunity that comes your way.

10. We Participate in Drama

Drama is one of the bedrocks to a complicated and unpleasant life. Indulging in the drama of other people and giving your own drama free rein will cause you to be more stressed out and depressed than you ever thought possible.

There are people who feed off drama and don’t think they’ve had a good day until they’ve been involved in some trite situation that makes someone else look bad. Quit judging, start loving. Choose to see the good in others and help them bring it out.

11. We Take One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

In other words, we hesitate. We wonder if we should, we start, and then we stop. We see possibilities, we move forward, we encounter a roadblock, and then we quit. Wouldn’t you rather take a risk and see that it didn’t work out than not take the risk at all?

Life is full of opportunities and possibilities if we simply open our minds, eyes, and hearts to them. Persevere and believe that whatever you want, you will get. Keep your head up and don’t succumb to the voice of failure.

12. We Complain

We stress ourselves out when we find things to grumble about and nothing to be grateful for.

Complaining almost always changes nothing. When we focus on the next thing — the next pay raise, the next promotion, the next degree, the bigger house, the better car, another spouse, another friend — we neglect all the things that are before us and the people that are around us.

Stopping to breathe is part of the wonderful process of simplifying your life. We should be happy and thankful for who we are and for what we have right now.

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Always thinking of times in the past and in the future robs us of the joy of living in the present. Don’t waste your mental energy with ungrateful thoughts.

13. We Don’t Set Boundaries

No, everything is not a priority. No, everyone does not need your attention.

Yes, the world will roll right on if you go on a vacation, take a nap, or watch the sun set.

Boundaries influence who you are, what you believe, and where you stand in the grand scheme of everything else. Set, embrace, and respect boundaries. It’s not a sign of weakness if you can’t handle something; it’s an opportunity for your boundaries to show strength.

When we set boundaries, we show respect to our health, our time, our energy, and our life. When we decide when to say yes and when to say no, we take control of our lives. If you respect your own boundaries, other people will respect them as well.

Here’s How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries.

14. We Compare Ourselves to Others

Don’t compare your movie to someone else’s script.

Or don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20. You are entitled to embrace your life just the way it is, make the changes you know you can make, and walk your own path to success.

Nobody is obligated to write your life for you. Comparing yourself to someone else will set you up for failure. You wonder why so many people don’t succeed? Because they are way too busy trying to be like someone else, get what someone else has, look like someone else, and act like someone else.

Don’t worry about them; focus on you.

15. We Aren’t Honest

Dishonesty is a fast-track route to depression and heartbreak. You have to tell the truth to yourself and to others. You have to assess your life and your priorities openly and straightforwardly.

Choose to believe the truth and reject lies. Lies complicate life. If we truly love ourselves, we will tell ourselves the truth. If we love others, we will tell them the truth. Not only do we speak the truth, but we must be truthful in our actions and our attitudes.

16. We Don’t Forgive

Holding on to hurt feelings, bitterness, pent-up frustration, and emotions of hate and anger only makes situations worse. You are actively hurting your own wellbeing and mindset.

The freedom is when you release these emotions from your life and intentionally forgive yourself and those who’ve hurt you — even if they don’t ask for it, appreciate it, or deserve it. These feelings are as real to you throughout your life as you allow them to be. So let them go for your own sake.

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This guide can help you: How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide)

17. We Focus on Ourselves Instead of Others

We live in a very self-centered world. So many of us are only concerned about ourselves — what we want, what we like, what we can buy, how we can get ahead, how much money we can make, where we can go, what we can eat, and so on.

However, when we focus on ourselves only, we miss out on greater joys and blessings. Involvement with yourself all of the time can only confuse your life. Learn to reach out. Give. Serve. Love.

18. We Don’t Nurture Our Relationships

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, a lone wolf or a people person, you can’t survive without relationships. We were created at our cores to be social beings (or social animals, if you prefer).

The happiest people in the world have meaningful, honest, and deep relationships. I didn’t say you have to be close friends with everybody you meet. However, there are people in your life who know you, you know them, and you have a deep sense of connection and camaraderie — these are the relationships you need to spend time on, love, and nurture.

When we’re around those we really care about and who really care about us, we experience an emotional high that involves honesty, interdependence, sacrifice, and commitment that is strong and abiding.

19. We Live in the Past

What use is the past to you if not only to learn from it? We do things we shouldn’t, we don’t do things we should, and we do things we wish we hadn’t — it’s an unfortunate part of the process of growing up.

We’ve got the growing up part, but we don’t have the moving on part. This is what we need to get a hold of — the past is the past, learn from it, leave it, and move on. Sure, some of the things we did, the decisions we made, and the attitudes we had, we wish we could go back and do over. But we can’t — that’s the reality.

If we could change anything about the past, we wouldn’t be who we are today. So embrace your failures and mistakes, learn from them, laugh about them, and keep moving forward.

20. We Try to Cheat.

Skating through life and cutting corners has never helped anything or anybody. Doing what is right at all times should be your primary goal.

When we seek to do right and make appropriate decisions that are supported by knowledge, wisdom, and accurate information, we may make mistakes, but we never have to look over our shoulders or bog down our minds with why we didn’t do something a certain way.

Do the right thing at all times. Be honest. Be straightforward. If it’s bad, just say it. If it’s right, just do it. Nobody may ever know that you did the right thing, but you will know. You have a conscience and you are responsible for making sure that your conscience is free enough to speak to you.

21. We Avoid the Tough Stuff

So many people don’t like conflict. Any time an unfavorable situation arises, they immediately eject themselves from the conversation. Doing this is like the proverbial ostrich with its head stuck in the sand. The problem being avoided only gets bigger and bigger until it is confronted.

Are you willing to have uncomfortable conversations? Are you willing to deal with the tough stuff so the rest of your life can be better? Conflict that goes unaddressed in the present will only cause bigger problems in the future.

Your ability to successfully and sanely manage your life will depend on the number of things (and people) you are willing to confront and how much tough stuff you’re willing to deal with.

More Tips for Living a Fulfilling Life

Featured photo credit: Wes Hicks via unsplash.com

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Daniella Whyte

Psychology Researcher

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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