People can make you feel great and soothe your soul or it can seem that they can drive you deep into despair.
Here are eight things you can give up to have satisfying relationships at work and at home.
1. Release your idea that others’ role is to make you happy
We often carry this assumption around. While we may have had a mother or a father there to make us happy as a child, as an adult it’s nobody’s role to make us happy. It’s our role to make ourselves happy.
And one way to do that is to surround yourself with people who bring you up, not bring you down.
2. Let go of your desire to make everybody happy
If you are a pleaser, you likely spend quite a bit of time focused on other people. You might even be saying things to yourself like “I hope he/she likes me.” or “I hope they like my gift.”
And, if they don’t like it, then you can justify feeling mad, hurt, and upset. A little example of how we can quickly turn a gift into some resentment goes like this. “He didn’t smile back at me…who does he think he is!”
But that’s a trap. The trap is that your happiness is dependent on whether somebody liked what you did for them…and ultimately liked you.
Now, of course, when we do things for people, we should hope that the other person benefits from our gift. And that gift could be as small as a smile, or it could be something bigger. But give up worrying about whether they are happy with our gift.
Give up trying to please and expecting something in return. Focus on your intention, your gift, and your thoughtfulness. Let that be satisfying enough.
3. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations
If we live our lives living up to others expectations, we are going to have a tough life. Our life, our happiness, and our success in the world will be determined by somebody else. And their expectations.
Far too many of us live a life like this. If you live your life according to what others think is best for you…your friends, your parents, your partner… it could even be even what your teacher or somebody spouting off on some social media platform… then you are not honoring yourself. You’ll create stress for yourself, if you spend so much of your energy pleasing others.
4. Abandon your effort to be available for everybody all the time
Now, of course, I’m not saying that you should turn into some self-centered jerk who never pays attention to others. In fact, I think that to have healthy relationships, we should care for others, a lot.
But we don’t need to be there for everybody all the time when its at the expense of our needs, values, and desires.
It’s a balance. You need to take care of yourself to be able to take care of others.
5. Surrender your willingness to put up with being hurt
Let’s face it. There are lots of people in the world who can be critical, nasty, and hurtful to you. And downright dangerous.
It’s too bad, but it’s true. People who do these things exist.
Now some of these people have little awareness of the impact their behavior has on you. But some are bullies or violent and intentionally hurt people. Both physically and mentally.
The question is…can you have a great life when living with and around people who are nasty? Can you be happy when these people are touching your soul on a regular basis?
Is it possible to conquer stress, depression and anxiety when there are people hurting you on a regular basis? Unlikely.
But let’s get this straight. You deserve healthy relationships. Now I didn’t say you deserve a fancy new car, a designer home in Hawaii. Or being independently wealthy. That would be nice. But for most of us, that isn’t realistic.
But what is realistic is not having to put up with poor treatment from others. I remember a person telling me that every time they spoke to their mother on the telephone, her mother would criticize her about every decision she made, tell her what she was doing wrong, and how she wouldn’t turn out to be much.
So she gave up letting that negative energy get in her ear. She needed to learn to keep herself safe from the negativity of others so she could nurture her own spirit.
6. Discard the assumption that people live their lives like you do
We see the world through our own eyes. Others see the world through their eyes. Some of us are blind so those people experience the world differently. But for the most part, we experience the world through our own experience. And we can make the mistake of thinking that everybody sees the world the same way we do.
If we carry this assumption, it will create a tough life for us as we will be filled with disappointment.
But you can be curious about what others want in life. What their values are. What drives them to do what they do.
It will help you have refreshing relationships.
7. Give up not asking for what you need
One person I know has made a massive difference in her life by stopping her use of alcohol.
And, while her family supports her, one person always mentions it with a half compliment or a hidden insult. It goes something like this. ”Susan, it’s been great for everybody that you quit drinking. And you look fantastic. It’s too bad you didn’t quit years ago.”
Hidden insults can drive you crazy. You might choose to give up putting up with them. Even for the family.
What about asking for what you want? Try this on.
“Hey thanks for the compliment, I really appreciate you helping me stay clean. And you’re right, I feel great. One thing you could do that would help, is when you give me a compliment, don’t tag on the little ending about its too bad you couldn’t have done it earlier. That little ending isn’t so helpful. But I do love you and your compliments!”
8. Shed the notion that you are fragile and can’t tolerate a snub or insult
Finally, the one thing that I see people assume that holds them back from having a happy life is to assume that they can’t take it when the going gets tough.
They fear standing up for themselves. In fact, we are all tougher than we think we are. Be resilient. Don’t let somebody’s ill behavior bring you down.
Start surrounding yourself with people who treat you well. Start practicing standing up for yourself even with the little things. Then standing up for yourself by giving up some things becomes easier, day by day.
You might worry about giving them up. But you can. You’ll be happier for it.
Featured photo credit: Henry Söderlund via flickr.com