As a marketer, I know about perception and image. I also know about reputation management in business, and see the same models and practices used to cultivate what we think is a perfect life. You know, the one everyone else has but ourselves?
Social media is a powerful communication tool and one that I am grateful for. Not only has it provided me with my own small business, and the lifestyle I want (working from home, doing laundry between writing ebooks and social posts and sharing my sandwich with my dogs), but it keeps me connected. I have friends and family around the world who stay in touch on Facebook. We share daily. My feed might get a little loud, but when you understand that I am using it as a tool to be part of their lives (and keep them in mine) you understand a little more clearly why I put so much effort into my own personal social.
I like to talk a lot too… I mean, there’s that also.
I have a few friends that are feeling kicked in the teeth right now. They are surrounded by circumstances that they can’t directly control (yet) and slammed by negative, critical and angry people constantly. Constantly. And they may think I don’t see what they are going through, or that I could not possibly understand because we have this habit of sharing only the positive things in public. That doesn’t mean that negative, difficult stuff doesn’t happen to us anymore (I was fired in June without notice, remember?) We are still building and recovering from that. When your salary drops by $57,500 some people would call that game changing. We called that month “interesting”.
I think there is enough in life that weighs us down, and so when you are with your online community (wherever you share) I think it’s cool to share the fun stuff, or debates and conversations and news items. But many people like me will keep the negative crap out of their social deliberately. And I think that leads some people (particularly those going through their own trials and hard times) to think that NO ONE ELSE has problems.
Dude… we totally do. Everyone does.
Life is a cycle of up and down moments, like waves I have found. So many times I have been in the water, scaling over one wave just to see another “widow maker” and whitecap ahead of me. Shoulders fall when you feel like the waves keep coming, and they will never stop. You start to question whether it is you, or some failing in yourself that makes all this “drama” or adversity happen to you.
There is nothing wrong with you. Absolutely no one has life and success figured out, including those with money or fame. Big or small, rich or poor, good looking or not, it doesn’t matter. Life is both an adventure and an unending test of your strength. And it’s like that for everyone, so you have to figure out how you are going to climb that next wave, not “if” you will swim it. Because if you have family and friends, children and a significant other counting on you, it is not about “if”… you are loved, you matter deeply to people in your world who truly care about you.
If it seems as though the whole world is “going wrong”, I make a list of what is bothering me. Then I backtrack that list to the source of what is bothering me. Is it a situation or is it people in my world, who are causing this stress and anxiety? If it’s a situation (or more than one) consider them to be the enemy of your happiness…. create a strategy to attack them head on and change them. Over, under or through… there is very little that a determined human being cannot fix with the love and support of their family and friends.
People. Oh boy… can people be the root cause of stress. Edit your world. That’s the best way I can put it. While it has been painful for me to walk away from certain relationships and family members, my personal life experience is so much better without them in it. Some people are incapable of being happy but what is worse, they despise happiness or peace in others.
Consider your happiness and peace of mind, and even your creativity to be treasure and lock it up in a tower and put some serious guards around it. Now… pay attention to the ones that attack the tower. THOSE PEOPLE are the source of your problem. Eliminate those relationships if you can, and if you can’t (because of shared custody etc.) start implementing RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. “If you are going to speak to me… this is what is okay, and this is what is not okay”. Don’t accuse. Don’t try to convince the other person that they “need to change”. All you have to establish is YOUR PERSONAL RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. It’s called defining respect and pull back and distance yourself from their comments (if they are negative and hurtful) to protect your peace of mind.
Anyone who doesn’t want to play by the rules? That’s nice. They don’t have the option because YOU set the rules for how people treat you.
- Don’t allow unhappy people to bait you into arguments or into reacting negatively. It brings them pleasure to know they got under your skin.
- Don’t allow unhappy people to eat up your time. Find something better to do than play games with them.
- Don’t allow unhappy people to make you feel abused or insecure; you’re fine. They are toxic.
- Don’t allow yourself to criticize your spirit for all the “drama”. It is 98% about the people you associate with … trust me on that one.
- Don’t allow people to criticize you unfairly. Don’t argue about it, just love yourself enough to know they are wrong and have a psychological motive for making you feel worthless. The less strong you feel inside yourself, the easier you are to manipulate. Sociopath’s use criticism to wear down people so that they will be more compliant.
- Evaluate your social circle. Is there someone constantly negating your happiness? Get rid of them… they are like an emotional cancer that can spread into all aspects of your life.
- Embrace the “right” things instead of dwelling on what is wrong. Do you have wonderful kids? A great place to live? Are you healthy? Do you have the love of some good family members and friends, or a significant other? These are not “little things”… these are the things that unhappy people cannot create in their own life (yet) and part of the reason is (wait for it) envy..
Love yourself enough to define your environment. Even if that means ending relationships. Happiness is not a state of mind, it is an ecosystem that needs you to prune and remove the weeds in order for everything else to grow. Including your optimism.
Sometimes I stand out now like a black thumb. I hate gossip and while I express myself about how I feel about certain people or behaviors, I really distance myself from the act of gossip. Why? Because it took down my entire family. I guess that makes me less likely to fit in with other women but if you had experienced what I have, and seen the destructive force of “comments” and gossip, you’d probably understand my reasons.
If you talk shit constantly about other people, and have very little positive to say about others… understand that I am not going to trust or like you. I may still love you, but I won’t like you. And that is one of the many rules I set when I overhauled my life, and aimed for peace and happiness. It’s still a work in progress. And from time to time I get sucked into gossip, hate myself for it… correct it, and move on. Perfect I ain’t… but I am trying.
Breathe. Understand like I do that we are on this planet for an indefinite number of years. You could be gone tomorrow, and no one knows how much time they have left. Build happiness. Create memories. Focus on the people who love you and love them back mightily. Be there for others and you will find others are there for you. Share. Ask for advice… or just come over for a beer to vent and be real about your challenges. Nothing makes a friendship stronger than being honest about adversities. Nothing makes you feel better than knowing you are not alone, and that everyone is dealing with their own problems too.
We love our friends and family for who they are; real human beings trying to figure life out and hit a few home run’s in the process. We all strike out before we learn to hit harder at any obstacles that stand between us and our happiness.
Figuring out the rules and the game plan is all part of life.