Now, what was the first word that came to mind when you read the title? Chocolate? Booze? Sex? Money? Porn? Sugar? TV? Shopping? Facebook?
It’s a safe bet that it’s none of the above. It’s something we’ve all done, and it’s truly an addiction that thwarts all of the above .
I’m talking about the addiction to overcomplicate our lives.
Women especially. We have this
tendency addiction to make life so difficult for ourselves, to wear us out in complications, to play the blame and shame game over and over and over again.
Joie de vivre and complications are simply not compatible! We all need more of the former and letting go of the latter.
Often we are not even aware how we are falling into our addictive patterns in every day life:
- Sulking instead of communicating your boundaries clearly
- Trying to please everyone
- Consistently running late for appointments or commitments
- Consistently running on empty (grocery, gas, time, energy, clean clothes, money)
- Waiting to be thin/rich/prepared/good enough to do what you really want to do
- Blaming others
- Stuffing yourself (with food/clutter/work/self help books/activities)
- Living to keep up with the Joneses
- Putting off things you know you’ll have to do in the end, living in dread all the time and then do them last minute, completely stressed out
- Thinking that everyone owes you something (love/admiration/availability/opportunities)
Replaying the same life scenariomaking the same mistake again, and again and yet again, each time hoping for a different result
- Thinking that you are “right” and it’s up to everyone else to change
- Being a perfectionist and a control freak.
- Ignoring your needs and desires and, worse, feeling saintly about it.
- Clinging on to old stuff long past its prime (bras, books, some people – you know which ones – habits, the ugly plant in the garden, collections, broken stuff in the attic, thoughts, old notes and papers, and beliefs)
Sound familiar? I’m sure every one of us could complete this list with some personal specialties!
How often have we estranged ourselves from the best moments, feelings and possibilities by complicating things?
When you have been in the throes of the complicating addiction, it’s hard to know how to get out of it and where to start. Now you could start with your home, your wardrobe, your organisation, your time or relationships. It doesn’t really matter, the important thing is to get started. If however you just thought – “But I don’t have time for any of this!!”, here’s a way to start which won’t demand any time at all. It’s that simple. Please notice that I said simple not easy. If you commit to it, you will see before long that I didn’t call it a challenge for nothing!
I challenge you to cut out out these three complicators from your way of speaking and thinking:
1.) “Yeah but….”
I’ve observed time and again that “Yeah but” has a quite marvellous effect on the speaker: it acts like a pair of blinkers (or blinders if you’re from the US). Suddenly you can’t see anything else but the reasons why you can’t possibly get up fifteen minutes earlier in order to take care of yourself or turn off your iPhone for fifteen minutes in order to meditate. And interestingly, as soon as someone says “Yeah but”, they then display a huge amount of energy to convince themselves and others why and how it is simply not possible! With the same amount of energy they would have probably done the damn thing (sorry :)) three times over!
The simple and elegant way: say No and stick to it or say Yes and just do it!
2.) “It’s not that simple…” In French we say “se noyer dans un verre d’eau” (to drown yourself in a glass of water). We all know someone who lives and works like that, and usually try to avoid them: these are people whose constant self-victimisation is attractive to no one but themselves. Whenever you catch yourself saying it: that phrase springs up in our head like a mushroom after a summer rain whenever the naked truth would be unpleasant: You are broke because you overspent. You are overweight because you overeat. You don’t have the life you want because you daydream of the “perfect” occasion rather than leaving the house. “But it’s not that simple!”. Ha!
The simple and elegant way: good old honesty with yourself. It can be immensely uncomfortable, but it’s the fastest way to set you free.
3.) “I should….”
You saw that one coming, didn’t you? Why is “should” such a toxic complicator? Because “should” means you are not involved. You are not present. In a way that means you are not fully alive. “I should clean the dishes/get started/get finished/go out/stay in/…”. Should is this loophole that allows you to keep on complicating things. Don’t say “I should”, say “I do”. Maybe you’ll succeed and maybe you won’t. But you showed up. Can you feel the difference?
Remember Master Yoda from “Star Wars”? His teachings were all about simplicity.