The basic tenet is a change in attitude and the way you see life.
Each time I purchased something, the fast food high was getting shorter and shorter.
To keep up that continual high, I kept buying, trying to make those feelings last longer.
It was a vicious catch-22.
One day, I just stopped and analyzed my habits
I was walking home from a client site to my hotel, and my mind started wandering back to my budgeting sheet.
And the numbers and just the sheer amount of expenditures was shocking.
It was the trigger that my mind finally used to connect that I was showing signs of unhappiness by wanting to fill that empty void with stuff.
I knew that I was buying items that I didn’t need, just because I created a need in my head, and thought I was fulfilling that to create the perfect life.
There’s no such thing as a perfect life.
You know how people say:
- If I earned $10,000 more, I’d be happy and life would be perfect.
- If I bought that red coat, I’d be happy and life would be perfect.
- If I went on that vacation to Cuba, I’d be happy and life would be perfect.
- If I could just clear my debt, I’d be happy and life would be perfect.
The first thing I struggled to grasp was that there was no such thing as a perfect happy life with the perfectly decorated home, and the perfect wardrobe.
Every time I bought something I thought I wanted/needed, I had a new list of stuff cropping up to replace it.
When does it stop?
There are always going to be problems, pain and sadness.
But now, instead of covering those emotions with purchases, I found dealing with the emotion itself was more fulfilling.
It takes effort to really scrutinize yourself, and to find the triggers in your life that cause unhappiness.
It isn’t easy to be objective about yourself.
I found a lot of excuses about why I did what I did.
Why I purchased things I didn’t really want or need, and justifying my purchases.
But instead of beating myself up of my past mistakes, I cleaned the slate and started anew.
The first thing, was to figure out the unhappy areas of my life.
It didn’t have to be anything serious, but just things that made me sad or upset each time I thought about it.
I needed to look for the triggers of that sadness.
One of those areas, was family.
I was trying too hard to change them, and ONLY just recently, after 6 years, I’ve only just understood the situation.
I realized that the trigger with my family, was hearing the complaints, and then feeling frustrated that they wouldn’t do anything about it.
My new rule was that they had a right to let out the frustrations and complaints, but if they weren’t willing to listen to what I was going to say, then I didn’t want to hear their complaints.
And I’ve been pretty blunt with that lately, having let them steamroll over me for so long, out of a sense of filial guilt.
If they aren’t ready to make changes, then I am just wasting my breath trying to help them.
It still sorts of frustrates me thinking about it, but then I just tell myself:
Hey, they chose to do that.
No one forced them into those decisions.
And while they may complain about it, they’re still doing it.
So I just have to assume that they’re actually happy, because why would you do something that makes you unhappy?
Now I use that same methodology for everything
The second area was my job.
And I came to that solution/revelation a lot sooner than with my family.
I went over all the scenarios: the boss, the manager, co-workers, the actual tasks themselves.
Then figured out a way to cope with it, or change it.
I realized it was the bosses/managers and the company itself that I detested with their sly, sneaky tricks, and I just couldn’t work with such liars.
But I really loved my job, and the tasks involved.
So I reviewed my options for what I could do without working for such a company.
And left just as soon as I had enough experience in my area to become my own boss.
I am still working towards this new attitude in life.
It isn’t a deadline or a project, and it gets easier with practice and time, once it becomes a habit.
I’m working on not putting so much emphasis on stuff, which has started to become a natural attitude and feeling just in the past year.
When I see something I want, I think: Do I really want that? Or do I want it because I’m bored?
I am focusing on getting the best from my life, emotionally.
It’s hard to explain, but for instance, I am making peace with my family’s unusual behaviour and actions (BF has confirmed my feelings and validated that I am not weird or wrong for believing what I do about my family.)
I can’t control everything, and letting go of that control is helpful.
Sometimes it’s best just to let them go and remember that they are HAPPY doing what they’re doing, not unhappy — because if they weren’t happy, they’d stop.
I want to live in the moment, not in the future.
I am focusing on what I want first, and then figuring out what I need to do to get it.
For example, I may want to retire early, and I am not planning on living it up with champagne and strawberries in retirement, so I may not need as much as I originally thought.
Yes, I want to be safe and conservative, but now I can tell myself: Who cares? Go on that vacation to Europe for a month — seriously, it’s what you’ve wanted for a while, and FORGET about the money you could be earning and saving for that month.
Money isn’t everything! And living in the moment now, rather than excessively worrying about the future is what I am focusing on.