Tag Archives: happiness

Expectations – Do They Set Us Up For Disappointment?

I received a birthday greeting from someone from the blog this week, this woman’s relationship ended one month before mine and she was saying how much the blog helped her to heal. Five years after D day and this is how she closed her message; it brought tears to my eyes;

“My peace is now profound.  I do so enjoy my life now and am still very happily single and doing so much with it!”

Read that again and really soak it in. Do you understand why those two lines made me tear up? 

Some people never attain inner peace, I am not even sure most people know what inner peace is; they are so focused on finding “happiness”, waiting for someone else to bring them joy, being disappointed over and over again when people don’t live up to their expectations. It is impossible to find peace while you are waiting for other people to give you happiness, your worth, your reason for being here. My ex used to blame me for him hurting me; one of his favorite lines was, “If you had no expectations you wouldn’t be disappointed”.  Eventually I stopped having any expectations of him or anyone else and I went numb inside. I shut off all feelings, oh sure it still hurt when he didn’t come home at night, but I stopped expecting him to be home. If he showed up, great; if he didn’t, oh well. His sister even said to me, “Aren’t you pissed? where is he? how can you just calmly sit there? I would be losing it if it was MY boyfriend.”

I had learned that to react only meant I would have to deal with more gas lighting,  more blame shifting, more word salad and just might get me a punch to the head; but worse than any of that…… I would be told how little value I had and that no man would want me or put up with what my ex had and my soul could not take it.

What was the point to getting angry? nothing ever changed and more importantly;  I was not prepared to leave. I felt my happiness, my very existence relied on my ex loving me and me pleasing my ex. Him showing any kind of approval or acceptance had become my life support. 

Is it possible to have any relationship and not have expectations? I don’t think so. We all have expectations of the people in our lives and they of us. The secret of having expectations is to not let them ruin your inner peace. 

My ex used to use another Dr. Phil Type quote, “No one else can be responsible for your happiness.”

Also a very true statement, but it needs clarification. NO, no one is responsible for your happiness but they can be responsible for your unhappiness and if you find you are consistently unhappy with someone it is your responsibility to not let them ruin your happiness. When my ex said his actions should not affect MY mood, it was a cop out. He was taking a true statement and twisting it to suit his purpose. 

It is true that no one can make you feel worthless unless you let them. A victim of a narcissist doesn’t see it coming and by the time the N is making them feel worthless they are so far down they can’t see the sun any more. But once you know what you are dealing with you have to break the spell and save yourself. It is hard, dang hard, I know and I remember having long talks with myself for a couple of years after leaving him. You are breaking an addiction to his approval, it is going to take time, don’t give up.

Keep reminding yourself that you can not control him or his actions, only your own. You can not fix him, only yourself, to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results is a sign of insanity. 

Before my ex I was an independent woman who took shit from no one, male or female. ( I had a long fuse, but once I reached my limit I was not wishy washy in defending myself and sticking to my guns) Everyone who knew me was waiting for me to have my fill and kick him to the curb; I was waiting for me to have my fill and kick him to the curb, walk away. It never happened.

A common lament of victim’s of a narcissist is, “I am not the same person. Will I ever get the old me back?”

The answer is “No”.

It is not possible to sleep with the devil, LOVE the devil and ever be the same again. BUT you can be a better version of yourself, you CAN find inner peace and a whole new life.

When I met my ex I had high expectations of everyone in my life but I worked very hard to exceed the expectations of the people around me. My self worth was very much wrapped up in the approval of others. I loved to entertain and cook for people but the torture I put myself through making sure the house was spotless, the meal was perfection and I was the epitome of a perfect host was not worth it.

Because of my own high expectations of myself I had given everyone who knew me a false sense of who I was. 

I also drank a lot!! because deep down I am a shy person and needed the liquid courage.

To put it plain and simple; I was not living true to myself, I was living up to other people’s expectations of who they thought I should be and who I thought they thought I should be. But one thing for sure, I was not living true to my core self. The only way to ever have inner peace is to be living true to yourself.

People have asked me how I can have inner peace when I am homeless and my life is in such turmoil. Inner peace has nothing to do with your outward world; it has to do with what is going on inside. For the first time in my life I am living true to MY standards, what is important to ME, and by MY moral code of conduct.

Some people don’t like it, they expect me to still jump through their hoops and live according to their rules. We all have to abide by common courtesy rules and have respect for other people’s rights and possessions. I am not talking about being like a narcissist and ignoring everyone else’s rights or just doing whatever we damn well please any time we damn well please. There is a happy middle ground.

It is not narcissistic to live according to your own standards and not accept bad treatment. 

I am not saying to become selfish to a fault, only to stop looking to others for your self worth, learn who you are inside, accept who you are. You ARE a good person, and if you find something about yourself you don’t like, you can change it. No one is perfect, NO ONE, everyone makes mistakes, everyone has some baggage. You are not defined by your mistakes or other’s opinion of you; only you can decide your worth.

I have always valued my reputation, even after my ex and I split I was proud that my reputation was intact. Well, he set about destroying that too and with some people he succeeded in changing their view of me. I struggled with that, a lot!! but when it comes right down to it, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it except live MY truth and carry on.

Like someone wise person said once, “What other people think of us is none of our business.”

What gives a person inner peace is living true to yourself no matter what other think or say.

That my friends is probably the hardest and greatest lesson I have taken away from being with a narcissist.

 

Ten Ways To Be Happier NOW.

I found this article on Maria Shiver’s web site and could relate to all of it. I try to do all these things on a regular basis and I can attest to them working. The worst time of my life was when I was so depressed about a year after JC and I split. Everything seemed to be going wrong in a big way. It seemed like I never got a break, everything, even little things went wrong, people were unkind to me, my truck wasn’t running, I couldn’t seem to make money and if I did it went out as fast as it came in. I was miserable and there wasn’t anything happening to change my mood. Then I realized, my teeth were really bad so I had stopped smiling, Kato was really limping so we had stopped taking our long walks, I was broke so I had stopped being charitable. When i got my teeth fixed and started to smile again and make a point of being kind and giving and appreciating what I had I found the world to be much more giving and kind and I was much happier. Negative breeds negative and a positive attitude draws positive results. Try it, you’ll like it!
Want to Be Happier Right Now? Here are 10 Ways!

Happiness©fotolia

It’s so easy to get sucked into a bad mood. You know it’s happened to you before. Someone in your office is a Debbie Downer and takes down the whole crew. Or you get stuck in traffic on your commute in and it spoils your entire day. I try my hardest not to let these things affect me but it’s really difficult. After keeping a gratitude journal and recognizing the things that I’m happy to have in my life, I’ve learned that happiness can be found anywhere– you just have to be willing to look for it. Even the simplest of things that we experience everyday have been proven to brighten our moods and increase our happiness. Most of the time, it’s the little things that matter most! Find your inner happiness by incorporating these 10 easy steps into your daily routine:

1. Plan a trip, but don’t take one: We all know what is feels like to look forward to something– one of my favorite parts of trip planning is getting to talk about it weeks before the actual date arrives! Just the effect of an anticipated vacation has the power to boost happiness for eight weeks. A study published in the Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that the highest point of happiness came during the planning stages of a vacation. If you can’t take time for a vacation right now, put something down on the calendar anyways and remind yourself of the future trip—it will give you something to look forward to when you’re feeling down. Check out my Pinterest board for a little inspiration.

2. Move closer to work: While an hour commute may not seem like a lot at first, after doing it over and over again, it begins to become something we dread. I just moved two subway stops away from my office and I have to tell you…it’s really amazing! I read an interesting article on the blog the Art of Manliness. It said that a long commute is the thing that makes people the least happy, however, they tend to believe a bigger house or better job will compensate for this—in reality, it doesn’t work. Nothing is more aggravating than sitting in lines of traffic day after day. Move closer to work in order to avoid that long commute and save time for yourself.

3. Walk tall: Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk! A study conducted by Florida Atlantic University found that those who walked with a confident, upbeat stride felt happier than those who did not. By lifting your head and swinging your arms, you already appear happier and more confident than those who walk hunched over and looking downwards—and it actually makes you feel happier too!

4. Give to others: The act of donating gifts or services to others results in a “helper’s high”—which has even more health benefits than exercise! Researcher Stephen Post reported that those who spend money on others have much higher happiness levels than those who spend it on themselves. The benefit of doing something for others not only leaves us happy, but those around us as well. Be generous!

5. Exercise: Speaking of exercise — between day to day schedules, it can be hard to factor in time for a workout—especially when you come home tired after a long work day. But if you thought you didn’t have time—just a few minutes may be enough! A study mentioned in the New York Times proved that the highest levels of happiness were found at the beginning of a workout. Exercise is proven to release proteins and endorphins that make us feel happier. Whether you’re in it for physical changes or not, exercise has the power to improve your mental health, along with your physical health in just five minutes. I’ve told you this before but I do yoga for just 10 minutes everyday and the benefits are wonderful.

6. Get some fresh air: The sun can do more than just brighten the sky—it can brighten your mood as well! A study published by the American Meteorological Society found that happiness is maximized at 13.9°C, or 57.02°F. Just going outside for 20 minutes a day can boost your mood and freshen your mind. Now that the temperature is warming, keep an eye out on the weather forecast!

7. Keep a gratitude journal: Remind yourself of what you’re thankful for! It’s easy to get caught up in things and forget at times, but many studies have found that those who are grateful for what they have feel a higher sense of happiness than those who do not. Recognizing what gives you meaning makes you feel appreciation for those in your life– enhancing your mood, your relationships and your overall happiness. Get a piece of paper and a pen and start writing your gratitude list. Or use the Happy Tapper Gratitude App.

8. Sing: Get your vocal chords ready! Singing has been psychologically proven to release endorphins from the brain, resulting in happiness. Singing requires deep breathing, as well, which can help lower levels of anxiety. Even if you’re tone deaf, don’t be afraid to sing in the shower to increase your mood.

9. Drink Wine: I think this is one we’ll all enjoy– wine has been proven to relax drinkers and lower blood pressure. If you’re feeling stressed out, indulge in a glass or two. But remember, moderation is key! There’s nothing worse than a hangover in the morning to kill your mood.

10. Smile: No matter how upset you may be, smiling can help alleviate pain. When you put your smiling muscles to work, signals are sent to the brain to help reinforce feelings of positivity and joy. Smiling can help us feel good inside and look good from the outside!

This piece was originally posted on ListProducer.com.Listproducer.com was started by journalist Paula Rizzo to help people use lists to get their precious time and sanity back, all while getting more done. The blog is updated three times per week and has a loyal following.  Rizzo’s first book “Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed” will be released in January 2015. (Viva Editions) 

Photo credit: blogs.vancouversun.com

We Gave Away Control of Our Happiness-We Can Take It Back

Good Morning to all, it is a beautiful crisp winter morning here. The lake had a thin layer of ice on it for days and I thought I was going to have to buy some ice skates so I could use the ice rink forming in my back yard; but alas temperatures must have gone up because the duck are back to swimming in the lake, maybe in a few weeks I will be tempted to try my long forgotten skills at skating. ( I never did learn how to stop and always skated into the nearest wall when I wanted to stop. This technique may not work as well on a lake and could prove to be motivation for me to learn how to stop on my own).

I suppose I could make an analogy between my lack of skating skills and how people often deal with life’s challenges. So many times we deal with a situation the same way over and over again; not because it is working for us but because it sort of gets us the desired results and we are not motivated to find a more permanent solution, so we keep crashing into walls instead of learning how to stop properly.

Never learning to stop properly held me back from ever really enjoying skating and whenever I went skating I would dread the time I would inevitably have to crash into the side boards and pray the “cool kids” didn’t see me flinch when I bashed my knee into the wall. So many times people tried to teach me how to stop but I was afraid of falling and looking silly, totally dismissing how ridiculous I looked when time after time I skated face first into the wall.

And so it is with most people dealing with a narcissist, psychopath, whatever you want to call them; abusive asshole works for me. We know there is a better way, we see it all around us, people having relationships that don’t require them to skate into walls time after time, continually getting bruised physically and mentally and we wish we could have that kind of relationship but crashing into walls doesn’t give it to us. We “kinda” get the idea and we are participating in the process and even, at times, might look like we know what we are doing and are like everyone else who knows how to skate, to music even! but inevitably we know and they know we are going to skate into that wall again.

There are very few things in life that we have NO control over, we always have some control, we simply aren’t motivated to change what has been getting us by for however long. As with skating I could just continue to never skate again and avoid the whole thing totally, you don’t have to skate into walls if you stop putting the skates on. Or I could keep skating into walls for ever more, every time I go skating knowing that the time will come when I will plaster myself against a wall, or I could keep going skating and blame everyone around me for not finding a way to stop me, or I could keep skating in hopes a man is going to skate up and do it for me; the only problem with that is, if he goes to the bathroom or wants to skate with some friends I am going to be bashing into walls again. Really the logical and realistic solution would be to learn how to stop on my own.

I don’t know if I will be putting on skates this winter but I know if I do there won’t be any walls to rely on to stop me so I had better learn how to stop. I don’t know if I am going to meet a man, I am not looking for a man but I certainly am feeling like I wouldn’t mind a man in my life but I don’t want to bash into any more walls in my relationships.

I think this past 3 years since I left JC have taught me some very important life lessons, being with JC taught me a lot of things and I learned a lot about myself but it has been the three years without him in my life that has taught me the most valuable lessons and taught me so much more about myself and relationships. Not just romantic relationships but all relationships, with my family, my friends, myself and, with my pets. I knew I loved my dog Kato, I knew he was my life preserver at times, I knew I would miss him when he was gone but I had no idea how much I relied on my in my every waking moment, how much I relied on him to cushion all of life’s uncomfortable moments. I thought I didn’t mind being alone, I never felt bored or lonely but I wasn’t alone and I had no need to be bored. If I wanted to lay on the couch and watch TV he laid on the floor beside me, if I cried he comforted me, if I wanted to walk I only had to say the word and he would be at the door waiting, he was my topic of conversation when I was out socially, he was my protection at night (I have become nervous at night and had to make curtains for the window in the door) I would sleep soundly knowing that Kato’s hearing was superior to mine and if he didn’t see a reason to be alarmed there was no danger and if there was danger he would protect me. I recently had to pull out the Christmas decorations and deal with my irrational fear of spiders, for almost ten years any time I suspected there might be spiders some where I called Kato to stand guard and if a spider appeared he would kill and eat it. But this year I had to put on gloves and just do it all by myself and I cried. I opened a box and there on top were the two red and green little elf’s collars I got for him and Laila last year, oh how he hated wearing stuff like that; I knew he thought it was terribly undignified to be forced to wear that elf’s collar with bells on it. I cried.

But Kato was not perfect either, I never truly enjoyed a walk with him because I always had to be aware of other dogs, and he would refuse to come when he was called and I spent any hours calling, begging, threatening, pleading with him to “Come God dammit!”. I have been caring for a friend’s Border Collie for a couple of days. Lady, is a gem, so smart and easy to care for. She comes when she is called, walks beautifully off leash, and is a truly lady in every way. Last night when I went to bed she snuggled up beside me and went to sleep, it was a body in bed but it wasn’t Kato, it wasn’t little Laila rubbing her head against me doing her “Stevie wonder impersonation routine, it wasn’t the same as what I was used to. It didn’t feel “right” it didn’t comfort me like going to bed with my puppies used to comfort me but I wasn’t nervous and if it hadn’t been for the constant need to blow my nose I would have slept soundly. I realized though how much I want, need a dog in my life, not to take the place of Kato, or to replace having a man in my life, not to give me someone to kill spiders but because I need to love some one, something, I won’t find another Kato and to be honest I wouldn’t want another dog like him because I want to be able to go to an off leash park and not worry about him fighting another dog. I know that I could never find a dog like Kato either, he was a one of a kind, partly due to that being just the way Kato was and partly because of the circumstances of our life at the time. I pray that I never need to rely on a dog like that again, that I never again have to sleep in my vehicle or escape an abusive relationship, Kato was what I needed at that time and the next dog will be what I need at this time. Maybe I don’t need a dog right now, I have responded to at least 10 ads for dogs and not heard back from a one so maybe it is not in the cards for me at this time, but I have no doubt that if I keep looking the right dog will come along at the exact right time for both of us.

As I have mentioned previously, I am facing losing my little house and I don’t want that to happen, my brother has offered to help me keep it and that is very sweet of him but I have learned that if something is not meant to be, no amount of money or effort is going to make it happen. IF I can work for him and earn enough money to keep the cabin I will be thrilled but I don’t want to borrow money to stay in it and carry even more debt into the future and continue to struggle and live in fear of losing it. Maybe, just maybe I am not meant to stay here and God has something better planned, who knows? I won’t know if I cling to the cabin thinking I HAVE to live here. I am happy living here, I love it here, but I don’t know that there isn’t a place I would love more and have to remain open to that possibility.

I made this comment on another blog this morning and it kinda relates to what I was just saying.

I try to explain to people who come to my blog feeling broken after escaping an abusive relationship. They want the pain to stop and ask “how do I stop the pain?” and I try to tell them to stop focusing on it, just accept you are going to be in pain for a while, maybe a long while but you will survive, it is normal to feel pain, pain comes from awareness and usually brings the most profound life lessons. Go with the flow, feel the pain, and then let it go, the longer you try to avoid the pain the more it consumes you and the more control you give it over your life.
I have been told I am a strong person and most people could not survive what I have in my past, but the whole time I was going through it I never once thought  I could survive it but every day I woke up in the morning, accepted my day and made it through, every single day for over a year I thought to myself, I can not do this one more day but what was my alternative? and……… with time things got better, and they will get worse again. That is not being a pessimist, it is being realistic; what I have learned from life’s challenges is that they all pass and in their wake they usually leave a golden nugget of knowledge or bring a person into your life that you would not have met otherwise, or an opportunity you never would have had if not for the experience.
I am not saying a person should just accept their lot in life and there is no point in trying to better your life, you do have control to change things that make you unhappy and you should keep striving for a better life as long as you aren’t so focused on what you “think” your life should be like that you miss out on the wonderful things you already have or could have if you opened your mind to the possibilities. A problem is often made so much worse by viewing it has a problem, if you can view it as an opportunity the possibilities are endless.