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5 Things To Give Up Right Now (Even If You Don’t Want To)

“Nothing is more intolerable than to have to admit to yourself your own errors.”

Ludwig van Beethoven

Giving up anything we’ve come to embrace (consciously or not) as part of ourselves is often a tough endeavor. Compiling a list of things that each one of us “shouldn’t do” is hard too, by the way. But we digress.

It is our sincere belief that giving up the 5 things on this list will lead to a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life. Each item has the potential to eliminate a ton of stress and possible heartache while maybe even providing a renewed sense of freedom.

 HERE ARE 5 THINGS WE SHOULD ALL AIM TO GIVE UP:

1. THE NEED FOR CONTROL
Aside from positive self-control, we should each minimize the need to feel in control of things around you.

People tagged with the “control freak” label always need to feel in control of events, situations, and especially people; this last one strips the right of each individual to simply be themselves. Controlling others is a form of abuse; something nobody should have to experience.

Letting go of this need for control, no matter how hard at first, will feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted. It’s quite likely that your relationships will improve as well.

2. THE NEED TO BE RIGHT
For some of us, the idea of admitting a mistake – or conceding that someone else is right – produces a sense of dread. In this regard, we share the same sentiment as the great Bruce Lee, who once said:

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”

Countless relationships and friendships have ended because one (or both) person ALWAYS had to be right; no matter any facts or evidence to the contrary.

Not only is this erroneous stubbornness a relationship-breaker; it’s a very unhealthy behavior – not just for the individual, but to those unfortunate enough to be exposed to it.

Ever had a boss with an insatiable need to be right? How terrible was it to work under the microscope of a borderline tyrant? These same feelings surface in others when we insist on being right.

3. THE NEED TO COMPLAIN
Totally giving up the act of complaining is similar to giving up the need to breathe. Inwardly or outwardly, we will all engage in a grumbling episode from time to time. We all possess enough self-awareness to admit whether or not we’re constant complainers – and whether or not a change in outlook is in order.

The uncomfortable (but freeing) reality is that external stressors are a matter of internal perception. Sir Charles Lyell, in 1863, wrote:

“It may be said that, so far from having a materialistic tendency, the supposed introduction into the earth at successive geological periods of life – sensation, instinct, the intelligence of the higher mammalia bordering on reason, and lastly, the improvable reason of Man himself – presents us with a picture of the ever-increasing dominion of mind over matter.“

In short, our improbable existence, and the indisputable superiority of our species’ innate intellect to adapt in spite of seemingly insurmountable challenges throughout the ages proves the natural power of man.

Complaining is a pointless act. Instead, use your mind and overcome the matter.

4. THE NEED TO MAKE EXCUSES
Excuse making is an act of self-limitation – a behavior that can stunt individual progress.

Instead of putting forth the necessary effort to achieve our goals, finish a task, or follow through on a commitment, many of us will instead take the easy way out. Allowing some baseless excuse to spew from our lips is the easiest way out possible.

Attribute constant excuse-making to ignorance, immaturity, or laziness; the effects are disruptive, even disastrous. But this can all change if we’re able to admit this shortcoming and drive forward.

George Washington Carver, an African-American born into slavery, received nationwide recognition (including in Time Magazine) for his breakthroughs in the areas of botany and biology throughout his lifetime. Despite living in a time of extreme racism, Mr. Carver once proclaimed

“Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.”

That’s an eye opener, indeed. Well put, Mr. Carver.

5. THE NEED TO LIMIT YOURSELF
As intelligent human beings, we are aware when something we’re doing is holding us back.

We couldn’t possibly list every single thing that is counterproductive to health, growth, and happiness. We’re all different, which only makes such any attempt to compartmentalize limiting behavior all the more impossible.

Are you a chronic procrastinator? Slowly work on disciplining yourself to get things done on time.

Are you engaging in habits you know to be harmful?

Maybe you drink a bit too much, watch too much television, spend too much money, hang out with the wrong crowd, (fill in the behavior here)…it’s never too late to commit to change.

Admit your shortcomings and work (however slowly) to finding a different way.

REFERENCES: 
BARTLETT, JOHN (2002). BARTLETT’S FAMILIAR QUOTATIONS: A COLLECTION OF PASSAGES, PHRASES, AND PROVERBS TRACED TO THEIR SOURCES IN ANCIENT AND MODERN LITERATURE (17. ED.). BOSTON: LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY. ISBN 978-0-316-08460-4.
WIKIPEDIA. (2017). GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER. RETRIEVED MARCH 21, 2017, FROM
HTTPS://EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/GEORGE_WASHINGTON_CARVER#RISE_TO_FAME

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Choice Theory: 7 Relationship Habits

Written on July 26, 2011     by Laura in Choice Theory and Reality Therapy

“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

As long as we insist on controlling people around us, we will create completely unnecessary suffering in our lives.  Dr. William Glasser, creator of choice theory and reality therapy, explains that people are in control of almost all of their behaviors.  We are all driven by our genes to satisfy our “basic needs”: survival, love & belonging, power, freedom, and fun.  While we all vary in the degree to which these needs are important, what we all have in common is the need for satisfying and healthy relationships with others.

From a choice theory perspective, virtually all of our behaviors are chosen.  Consider the common example of the phone ringing when you are sitting or working at home.  If you answer the phone, what would you say was your reason for answering it?  This perspective tells us that the reason that we answer is phone is not “because it was ringing” – it is because we chose to answer it.  There was an option to not choose to answer the phone.

While this example is silly and small, it exemplifies a much larger truth embedded within choice theory… the idea that we are in control of choosing all behaviors.  This is Glasser’s concept of “total behavior.”  Many of his ideas are controversial because he also believes that people choose the symptoms that cause misery and suffering, such as depression or anxiety.  The basic concept is that people will choose the “best” behaviors that they can come up with at the time.  Sometimes, choosing “to depress” is a better option that facing the world when feeling miserable inside.  Either way, Glasser sees all behaviors as choices.

Choice theory provides us with “Seven Caring Habits” and “Seven Deadly Habits” that affect our important relationships with others.  As you might guess, underlying these habits is the extent to which you are attempting to control others with your behaviors.  We are happiest in relationships where we are able to satisfy our basic needs, feel supported and loved, and feel that the other person is not trying to control us.

Seven Caring Habits

(1) Supporting

People thrive in relationships where they feel supported for their true selves and in the pursuit of their dreams, goals, and aspirations.  Support means being there physically, mentally, and emotionally for the other person as well as taking on a greater share of responsibilities when they are suffering or in need.

(2) Encouraging

We all benefit from encouragement in our close relationships.  This can take the form of reminding your partner of their strengths, past successes, or positive qualities.  Remember that encouragement is most effective when it is authentic (i.e., not based in exaggerations).

(3) Listening

To provide your partner with your total presence through fully hearing them and receiving their messages is extremely valuable.  Practicing mindfulness can allow you to become more present with your partner and actively engaged in listening.

(4) Accepting

When we feel completely accepted by another person, it provides an invaluable sense of validation.  This is often a cornerstone of many therapeutic approaches as well (e.g., unconditional positive regard).  When we offer the gift of acceptance to our partners, we are telling them that we “see” them for who they are and choose to accept them completely.  This does not mean accepting behaviors that we not do approve of, but rather accepting the individual as loved and worthy of that love.

(5) Trusting

Trust goes both ways in relationships, and part of building a strong and healthy relationship involves opening yourself up to fully trusting your partner.  It also involves modifying and shaping your own behaviors so that you are a trustworthy partner.

(6) Respecting

Healthy relationships need to be built on a foundation of mutual respect.  This means treating loved ones with dignity, affirming their worth, and respecting their boundaries and limitations.

(7) Negotiating Differences

Relationships must have compromise.  Relationships where neither partner has to make “any” compromises are few and far between.  Mature relationships mean that both partners cannot have all of their needs met all of the time.  Think about that.  You must be willing to openly discuss what you are and aren’t willing to compromise for the sake of the relationship.  Through compromise, you are able to build stability, trust, and strength in your relationship.

7 Relationship Habits

Seven Deadly Habits

(1) Criticizing

When we criticize someone else, we are telling them that we are somehow superior to them or that they are unworthy in some way.  Criticism comes from a place of wanting to control another person through the hope that making them feel insecure or bad about themselves will result in them “changing” for the better.  This doesn’t work.  Criticism only makes your partner want to get away from the source of such pain and unloving behavior – i.e., the person doing the criticizing.

(2) Blaming

This involves placing the responsibility for some sort of outcome on another person, often in a sanctimonious or self-righteous manner.  Of course, there are plenty of instances where our partner genuinely is to blame for something unpleasant.  However, the way that we choose to go about expressing our displeasure is what is important.  There is a way to let your partner know that they need to accept responsibility for their behavior without “blaming.”  It is through honest and loving communication.

(3) Complaining

No one “likes” complaining… except the person doing it.  When we choose to complain about something we are also saying that we refuse to take responsibility for it.  Complaining often results in the other person feeling as if they should somehow “fix” the problem or else just get away from the complaining.  Whatever the outcome, it puts distance between us and those we love.

(4) Nagging

This is absolutely central to the concept of external control.  When we nag someone, it is because we are trying to get them to change a behavior through negative reinforcement (i.e., when they change the behavior, you stop the nagging).  People don’t like to be coerced into doing things they don’t want to do.  If you really want your partner to change a behavior, they must choose to do so on their own.  If it is important enough for discussion, an open and loving discussion about compromise can be helpful.

(5) Threatening

When we wield threatening power over someone, we are hoping that they will essentially be “scared” into complying with our demands.  This is what tyrants do… and people who want to be assured that they will drive their partners away from them.  This doesn’t work!  When we threaten others (directly or passively), we become a source of fear and control, when we want to be a source of love and support.

(6) Punishing

From an operant conditioning perspective, the concept of punishment means that a negative condition or stimulus is introduced as the consequence of behavior that you would like to weaken.  An example would be yelling at your partner each time he or she did something that you didn’t like.  While this can result in the behavior diminishing, it also wreaks havoc on your relationship.  Similar to these other examples, with punishment you become a source of fear, control, and general unpleasantness.

(7) Bribing / Rewarding to Control

Sometimes we “reward” people when they do things that we want them to do.  This seems much nicer than threatening or punishing them, but it is still a form of wielding external control over your partner.  You are still attempting to control their behavior, even if it seems loving or altruistic.  It is always best to allow your partner to come to their own conclusions about what behaviors they wish to change.  This can certainly result from an open discussion about compromise, but the final decision to change behaviors needs to come from within the individual to avoid building resentment.

Do you feel as though your past or current relationship(s) are based on choice theory or external control?  Do you find that you have better outcomes when you stop trying to control people you love?  It can be frightening for many people to give up their attempts to control others.  This often comes from childhood backgrounds where they didn’t feel in control of what was going on around them.

Be compassionate towards yourself if this is the case.  It can take time to become comfortable with letting go of control.  The potential result of a relationship built upon a foundation of choice theory is a long-lasting, stable, and harmonious union of two people who are secure in the knowledge that they can truly be themselves and are free to reach for their dreams.  Since all behaviors are choices, what is one “deadly habit” that you are willing to commit to letting go of in your relationship?

William Glasser Institute. 2010. Retrieved from http://www.wglasser.com/


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Why Complaining Is Literally Killing You & Making You Sick

April 4, 2016    by Sharmini Gana

We all do it — you know, complain about people or situations in our life. We may even call it “venting” in an effort to disguise our complaining, but when it all boils down to it, they’re both the same behaviour.

On the surface, complaining may seem harmless — perhaps even helpful, as venting may make us feel better — but complaining can have serious physical and mental ramifications.

Society itself seems to encourage complaining — we complain about work and being overworked, we complain about lack of time and being too busy to enjoy life, we complain about politics (a favourite past- and present- time activity for many), we complain about family members and issues, we complain about lack of sleep and feeling exhausted, and we love to complain when we get sick— the list goes on and on….

Even if we ourselves don’t complain much (or so we think, though I hope this article makes you take a hard, honest look at your own habits, as it did for me), we all know of people who incessantly complain and how draining it is to be around these “negative Nellies.”

So, how does complaining affect us? From a brain perspective, “synapses that wire together fire together” — this is a basic premise of neuroscience. Every time you complain, you are reinforcing that wiring and making it easier to trigger it. Do it often enough and it can become your default setting. Negative thoughts beget more negative thoughts and you can easily fall into a cycle of negative thinking and chronic complaining.

In addition, misery loves company, so complainers tend to have friends who also complain, which further reinforces the pattern. Complainers also affect people around them. Ever find yourself sympathizing and sharing your own personal similar experience when someone complains to you about something specific? It can happen easily and unintentionally, even to the least complaining and most positive person. Sometimes this can lead to a long conversation comprising entirely of complaints, ie. focused on politics in a negative way or the fear and anger of what is going on in the world. Ask yourself, how do you feel afterwards?

stop complaining

Prolonged complaining leads to stress, and it’s well documented that prolonged stress makes us sick: weakening the immune system, raising blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, and causing a plethora of other ailments.

Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels (the stress hormone) interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, promote weight gain and heart disease, and increase blood pressure and cholesterol. Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels also increase risk for depression and mental illness, and lower life expectancy.

How To Stop Complaining
Being human, however, we may need to vent once in a while, so here are some tips to help you avoid over-complaining:

Take time out to cool off and step back from whatever is bothering you so you can diffuse your emotions/anger. Try some deep breathing, go for a walk in nature, hit the gym, meditate, or do something fun or relaxing to calm yourself.

Write down what is bothering you — writing helps us to better understand why we are upset and can help us see the situation with a more balanced perspective.

Take responsibility for your part in the situation; don’t just blame the other person as the wrongdoer. What is the learning for you? What is this situation teaching you? Introspection is helpful for finding balance and being open to a solution or determining if it’s best to let it go at this time.

If you need to vent, let the Listener know ahead of time, so they can prepare themselves or let you know that now is not a good time.

Keep it short — this is very important, as we humans tend to go into stories when we moan and groan. It’s best to keep your share to under 2 minutes to avoid drama and dumping. Ask your Listener to intervene and gently yet firmly stop you if you go past the 2 minutes — you will both be thankful.

Remember that complaining affects your energy, mood, brain activity, and stress levels. If you need to vent, keep it short and sweet, for everyone’s sake — especially your own.

Sources
http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/complaining-rewires-your-brain-for-negativity-science-says.html
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1
http://psychpedia.blogspot.ca/2015/11/the-science-of-happiness-why.html
http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-body.aspx