Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Does This Serve Me?

Yesterday, I had a lovely lunch with an old friend.  As I happily munched away on Seaweed Salad and Vegetarian Sushi rolls; she proceeded to fill me in on all the details of her life since I'd seen her last.  She is in a committed relationship and not happy. In fact, she is so unhappy that she does everything possible to stay out of the house. She purposely works long hours, gets involved in projects out in the yard and everywhere else; anything to avoid being stuck indoors for any long periods of time with him.  This is one of the saddest things I've ever heard. I really didn't know how to respond. I just hated the thought of my friend being miserable. She deserves better than that.

I told her I couldn't really offer any real advice other than this: she is the most important person in this situation.  Her happiness is paramount.  If her relationship is no longer serving her;  it's time to seriously evaluate and make some important decisions. She saw this as being selfish until I explained further. Finally, she began to view things a bit more clearly.

It really is this simple.  If we are not happy; it is impossible to make anyone else happy.  If something is no longer serving us; it might be time to move on. This is not selfish.  In fact, I think it's more selfish to keep trying to exist in something that is clearly not working.

We often get trapped in situations and have no idea how to begin to get out of them: relationships, jobs, commitments that have become aggravating, irritating obligations. I am not saying we should shirk our responsibilities and commitments. We shouldn't walk out of our marriages simply because we are unhappy. We definitely can't just up and leave our jobs without some sort of back up plan.  However, if we find ourselves miserable more often than not and if something is no longer serving us in some way, it's time to evaluate and make some important decisions.

I am a huge fan of The Pros and Cons List. When I am faced with challenges or need to make decisions, I draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper and write down the good and bad aspects of the situation in each respective column.  This process can take a few days, but I don't stop until I am unable come up with anything else.  I make my decisions based whichever column is the longest.  My little system has never failed me yet.

Let's face it. If you show up on the job every day miserable and grouchy, don't you think your work will eventually suffer? And what about the people around you? They can't help but pick up on your vibes and in turn, they will make you even more miserable. It might be time to make some serious changes. Same with relationships.  If you are not happy; chances are your partner isn't either. And now you have an endless cycle of unhappiness breeding more unhappiness. Unless you can come up with a few really good reasons to stay and make the best of it- TOGETHER- it might make more sense to walk away.

If something is no longer serving you; slip on your hip waders and start sifting through the muck and the mire.   Look for the diamonds in the midst of the stones.  If you come up with a fistful of diamonds; you have your answer and something worth fighting for and keeping. If not; make your decisions accordingly. Your happiness is more important than anything else.  This is not selfishness. This is a gift- the greatest gift you can give to yourself and others.

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