“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
- “I can’t stand it!”
- “I should be further along in my life by now”
- “I don’t know how to talk to people.”
- “They screwed my life up.”
- “I’ll never find anyone like her again.”
- “Things never work out!”
Do any of these types of statements sound familiar? Do you tell yourself things that you would never say to anyone else? If so, read this post if you want to help yourself separate fact from fiction and stop telling yourselves stories that just aren’t true!
As a psychotherapist, it has often struck me how my clients who are completely honest to everyone else and would never even tell a white lie end lying to themselves all the time. Whether they think they are too fat, not smart or attractive enough, or think they are plain “losers,” they often have no qualms calling themselves names that they would never think of calling anyone else. I will never forget when one young, thin, attractive professional woman confided in me that she secretly thought of herself as “fatty,fatso” which had been the nickname given to her by her grade school classmates.Despite how successful and attractive she had become, her self-image was still stuck back in the distorted body image from grade school.
Especially those who early on that were either told by family or peers that they were not good enough carry the torch for this type of destructive fictitious thinking. They find themselves not even questioning those unhealthy automatic labels they put on themselves, labels they would often never even dream of calling anyone else, and do not realize that are really just “story telling.” Despite the fact they think deep down they are fatally flawed and they are just “telling it like it is” to themselves, they have no clue how fabricated and far-fetched their tall tales are! To add insult to injury, when things go wrong, such as if a marriage falls apart or if they don’t get the job they wanted or even lose the one they had, they end up blaming themselves and seeing their failures as further proof that they are inadequate and somehow not good enough. These are the poor souls who would never even think of hurting anyone’s feelings although they freely hurt their own.Advertising
The good news is: These habits can be broken, no matter how entrenched they are!
Here are five tips to stop the lying once and for all…
1. Use the W.A.I.T. Acronym (What Am I Thinking?)
Imagine a stop sign and ask yourself – “What am I Thinking?” Since irrational and distorted thoughts lead to anxiety and negative feelings, chances are you are telling yourself lies by exaggerating with “black and white” thinking. Furthermore you can ask yourself a second W.A.I.T. to dig deeper –“What Are Irrational Thoughts? Replace the fictitious thinking with fact.
“I can’t stand it!” could be replaced by “I have a hard time putting up with it, but I really can stand it since I am not melting into the ground!”
“I should be further along in my life by now,” can be replaced with “I am disappointed that I am not further along in my life, and I will use the lessons learned as stepping stones to move forward now.”
2. Ask Yourself: Who are my Board of Directors?
Who is putting those thoughts into your head? Are you renting space to people in your past or present who taught you these lies? At this point it is your choice to listen! For example, did you have a relationship that went sour and you were blamed for it? Did you grow up with parents who imposed a lot of “shoulds” on you with the well-meaning intention of raising you the best they knew how? Were you sensitive to peer rejection, criticism, or even disinterest, and do the words you heard still sting?
This is time to stop renting space in your head to anyone who is telling you lies and honoring those “invisible loyalties” from the past that make no sense! Stop keeping the lies on life support.The truth is, even though they might be figures form the past, they never really left.No matter if you are 28 or 82, these messages can be persistent! It’s time for eviction!Advertising
3. Write Down Your Big Whoppers
Take a piece of paper and write out the fictitious whoppers you tell yourself that pull you down. Differentiate between fiction and fact. Choose now what to believe. Then, on another paper, write out the more rational messages that are more factual. Remember, stick to the facts, not interpretations!
4. Throw the Lies Away
Once you identified the fictitious messages and write down the more factual alternatives out on another piece of paper, crumble the paper of the lies and throw them in the trash where they belong. Or how about taking a match and burning them? They have no use in a world of truth and reality – and isn’t that the world you want to live in?
5. File Your Facts
For each of the rational messages you write to counteract each lie, copy each one to a separate file card. I encourage you to refer to them often, laminate the cards with clear contact paper, and carry it with you in your wallet or purse. Refer to them often to keep yourself on track so you are moving ahead rather than staying stuck in the Land Of Oz!
6. Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes and Regrets
When you live with one foot in the past, you will likely tell yourself all sorts of things that are not really true, and might call yourself names like “stupid” or “loser”. No one gets out of the land of “woulda coulda shouldas” with self- esteem intact. Try to use the past as a hitching post rather than a guidepost, reminding yourself that nothing ever changes in the past. Reworking the past never really works, because the past stands still. Forgive yourself for not having the foresight to know what you know now in hindsight!Advertising
If you choose to stop telling yourselves lies and stick the facts (and not interpretations) you will truly think straight and feel great!
(Photo credit: Businessman with Growing Nose via Shutterstock)
Last Updated on October 5, 2020
How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One
We are given life with many opportunities to make it everything we want it to be and more. If you find that you’ve slipped into living a boring life, it’s time to take a hard look at what you’ve been doing and what you can start doing now to make it more interesting.
Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list can definitely make any day or life more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.
Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaningful) one!
1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self
Imagine being a young child. Life was never boring, was it? That’s because children harness every ounce of creativity they have in order to try new things.
What would your 7-year-old self want to do in this moment? Maybe they’d pick up a paintbrush and try to paint the landscape around them. May they would go outside and build something with random materials around the yard. Maybe they would raid the fridge and put together a dish they’ve never seen before.
Just because you’re a grown-up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play and use your creativity to its fullest.
2. Go Play With Kids
Speaking of little kids, if you have your own (or a niece or nephew), go play with them!
Kids are absolutely hilarious, so it’s simply impossible to be bored when you’re around them. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.
3. Play Cell Phone Roulette
You’ll need at least one buddy for this, but this is a great way to avoid a boring life. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one, and (if it feels right) call the person.
You could spark an incredible catch-up session or, at the very least, remind someone that you’re thinking of them. Neither are boring.
4. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards
This is a great part of a gratitude practice. We often forget to thank the people who do things for us, especially if we have come to expect those things. For example, have you ever thought about thanking your mom for that weekly phone call? Or thanking your sister for always sending you a homemade gift on your birthday?
Take time to think of at least 5 people you would like to say thank you to and write out a card. You could even write them out for random people in your neighborhood, like the local librarian, a teacher at your child’s school, or the accountant at your bank.
Anyone and everyone appreciates being thanked for their efforts.
5. Sign up for a Class
Nowadays, there are classes for everything. To make it as interesting as possible, try finding one that you wouldn’t normally consider doing, like salsa lessons, improv, or boxing.
Otherwise, try to find a course on something you’ve always wanted to learn, like pottery, photography, or a foreign language course.
What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people, which will add even more interest to your life!
6. Talk to Your Grandparents About Their Lives
We often underestimate how interesting the elderly are. You can rest assured that any elderly person you talk to will not have had a boring life! Take some time to talk to them and hear their interesting stories. You may even find that this motivates you to go out and find your own interesting experiences.
7. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night
Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage. If you’re not into comedy, find an open mic that focuses on reading poetry or short stories and bring your own. These groups tend to be incredibly supportive for anyone who is willing to be brave enough to get up and try.
8. Do Something for Someone Else
Showing kindness automatically makes you feel good, but doing these small acts will also help to ensure that you don’t have a boring life. Try doing one or two things each week that are outside your normal routine.
For example, you could make a batch of cookies for the mailperson or help your elderly neighbor organize one of their rooms. There are a million ways to show kindness to those around you. Tap into your creativity and find your own or use some of the ideas from the image below.
9. Start a DIY Project in Your Home
If you have your own place, there is always a project that needs to get done. Many people simply pay for someone else to do it in order to avoid the hassle, but taking on a DIY project can make a boring life much more interesting.
It doesn’t have to be super complicated. Maybe you repaint an old vase or build a spice shelf out of used pallets.
If you need ideas, you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.
10. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation
This will give you something to look forward to. One study actually found that most travelers are happiest before a vacation. Therefore, simply planning a trip will boost your mood, even if you can’t actually take the vacation right now.
Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is also fun and relaxing!
11. Go People Watching
Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops, and train stations are great for this!) and just observe.
People are infinitely interesting. Try to imagine what their lives are like, what they’re thinking, or where they’re going. You’ll never know if you’re right, but it will give you something to focus on and also help you practice empathy.
12. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before
You can try that new Moroccan restaurant down the street and pick the most interesting dish on the menu. Or, you can raid your own fridge and throw together a dish you’ve never made before.
If you’re up for a trip to the grocery store, try picking up a new fruit or veggie from the produce section. You may find a new food that you love!
You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.
If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public or join a flash mob.
14. Pick up a Book and Start Reading
Reading a good book can keep you occupied for hours. It will also transport you to a life that isn’t your own, and one that likely will be the opposite of a boring life. You’ll be amazed by what you can learn from those pages.
Pick on of these inspirational books to start reading: 10 Best Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life
15. Spend Some Time With People You Care About
Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. Call up a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or bring a coffee over to your parent’s place and catch up. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and you’ll avoid boredom.
16. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to
Some people are bored by museums, so if that’s you, skip to the next one. However, if you love art, history, or culture, this one is for you!
17. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want
This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?
Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then, start taking your first step to make it happen.
Now, go make your life interesting and live your dream life!
More on How to Quit a Boring Life
- How Not to Be Boring (And Start to Be More Interesting)
- I’m Feeling Bored: 10 Ways to Conquer Boredom (and Feeling Too Busy)
- How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life
Featured photo credit: Alex Alvarez via unsplash.com
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|||^||Applied Research in Quality of Life: Vacationers Happier, but Most not Happier After a Holiday|
|||^||Psychology Today: The Expert’s Guide to People Watching|