You know what drives me bonkers?! When we tell ourselves these little feel-good lies when something bad or unexpected happens.
These lies are supposed to make everything better. These lies are supposed to get you back out there (wherever “there” is). These lies enable us to do whatever personally destructive thing it is we do. Lies justified on the basis of feeling better.
The problem is, these lies are hindering the ability to actually learn from tough experiences. Knowing that, why would we tell ourselves and others such lies?
Don’t get me wrong, some lies may be important for survival. Like when a woman asks, “Do I look fat in this?” there is a singular, absolute truth that must not be swayed from.
However, certain phrases are stunting our personal growth, making us emotional midgets (or emotional “little people” or whatever) while giving us the mentality that we are emotional giants.
1) “Everything happens for a reason”
In it’s simplest form it’s 100% true. I remember my middle school science teacher saying it, “Every action has a reaction.”
The problem with this phase is when it’s used, it implies the reason something happened is always good. It was meant to be. And that portion simply isn’t true.
Maybe you didn’t get that job because you haven’t learned proper interviewing skills. Maybe that person broke up with you because you weren’t vulnerable or didn’t communicate.
Saying everything happens for a reason assumes we don’t have control over our own actions and outcomes. Using this phrase takes the responsibility off us and puts it onto “a reason”. The “universe”, if you will.
It puts the blame on a figurative idea that allows us to justify any consequences we may face.
When it comes down to it, if we want to be better tomorrow than we are today, we have to start taking responsibility for our actions.
While we like to think everything happens for the best, it only does some of the time. If you constantly think that way instead of reacting to each individual situation, you’re going to continue to get burned by the same situations.
2) “I don’t have the time”
It’s not about having the time, it’s about making the time.
Every person around you has the same number of hours in the day. They just might choose to spend it differently.
If you haven’t made the time, it simply means that whatever there “isn’t time for” isn’t a priority in your life.
If something isn’t a priority in your life, that’s okay.
Often times we feel pressure from those around us to make something a priority, because it’s a priority to THEM. News flash: people are different.
On the other hand, if something does happen to be a priority in your life and you just can’t seem to get a handle on it, be honest with yourself.
Don’t make a fake excuse such as not having time. Tell yourself and someone you trust that it’s difficult for you, and then draft up some steps to get to where you want to be.
Lastly, if we find ourselves in an overwhelming place with too many things weighing us down, it’s time to build margin into our lives. Make a list of priorities, and then cut out the excess tasks and expectations that cause exhaustion.
3) “I wish ______ never would have happened”
Fill in the blank for whatever the thing is that gets dwelt on.
I wish that accident never would have happened.
I wish I never would have let them go.
I wish I never would have racked up so much debt when I was younger.
I wish I didn’t lose my job.
I wish I never would have put a raccoon down my pants when I was drunk that one time.
Whatever it is, stop living in the past. Learn from the things that happen to you and the mistakes you make.
Maybe you didn’t have control over something that happened and maybe you did. It doesn’t matter. You still can’t change the fact that it happened.
You can only change where you decide to go from here.
Often times resentment gets the best of us when it has to do with something we lost. It’s up to you to stop letting it affect your happiness and decisions both now and in the future.
4) “I’ll Try”
When you tell others, “I’ll try,” you are preemptively building an excuse for failure.
I was notoriously bad at this until I realized how detrimental it is to my relationships.
Here’s how it would go down: If I was supposed to be meeting up with friends for happy hour, I would say something like, “I’ll try to be there at 5:00.”
What happens? I show up at 5:45 to a group of frustrated friends, using some lame excuse such as, “I tried to be here, but I got stuck in traffic.”
What the others heard was, “I tried to be here, but you are all less important than whatever else I was doing.”
Sometimes trying isn’t good enough and you have to DO. As much as effort in itself can be encouraged, results are what people can rely on.
The person who tries all the time, and doesn’t deliver, is a person who isn’t trustworthy.
The next time you’re meeting someone or making a deadline for a project, use phrases like, “I will be there no later than 4:00,” or “I will have the project completed before Tuesday.”
Turn your “I’ll try,” into “I will” and then truly give it your all. You’ll start delivering results a lot more often.
Start Gaining Control
You can’t always control what happens to you, and you can’t always control how it makes you feel, but you can always control how you respond to it.
Start eliminating the above phrases from your vocabulary and realize that you are the one that has control over the actions and decisions you make.
It all comes down to making the choice to change. It doesn’t matter what has happened in your past or who you chose to be before. Make the decision today to develop into a better you in the future.