What Needs to Die in Your Life? Part 1 of 350,000

We spend a lot of time here talking about your inevitable demise—because as the Grim Reaper’s chief cheerleader, it’s my mission to remind us, ad nauseam, that we might want to live before we die. (There won’t be a well-choreographed cheerleading routine because I am the least coordinated person you’d ever have the horror of watching try to figure out what to do with pom poms. Sorry!)

Instead of us gabbing today about YOUR OWN DEATH (did I mention its inevitability?), I wanted to talk about the things you might want to kill off in your life before you meet your maker.

Squander-Free Life BadgeMy goal is to shine a harsh and glaring spotlight on the things that are diminishing your aliveness in however many Mondays you’ve got left. These things range from being seemingly small and not-so-excellent for you, all the way over to full-out-life-and-soul-sucking. If we can pinpoint where you are killing your moments/ Mondays/ mojo/ metabolism/ whatever, you stand a chance to fix that shit and live a life that earns you a “Squander-Free” badge when you die. (Check out the badge! You know you want this doodle stuck on the side of your coffin/ urn.)

What needs to be killed off?

Here are three installments from a loooong list, in no particular order, of ways we wreck our temporary existence. Which ones look familiar to you?

Life-wrecker #1: Kill your Pleaser mentality.

The Pleaser is one of many voices that bitch at us in our heads. This particular one is so much fun because it’s born from the belief that our entire sense of self-worth is contingent on how much we’ve earned the approval of others. Their needs? MEET THEM! Your needs? WHAT NEEDS I DON’T HAVE NEEDS I JUST LIVE TO SAY YES TO OTHERS EVEN IF I DON’T WANT TO STAY LATE TO WORK ON THE PENSKE FILE OR HELP MY SISTER MOVE THIS WEEKEND OR JOIN YOUR STUPID COMMITTEE THAT I HAVE ZERO TIME FOR. Like I said, this one is so much fun!

How much time, energy, money, and/or life satisfaction is being washed down the drain because you’re pleasing others all around town . . . morning, noon, and night?

If you feel like you won’t be accepted unless you always say yes to the extra project, yes to visiting your Great Aunt Bertha 2.5 hours away, yes to making a 3-tiered birthday cake for your friend’s brat kid, you might want to ask yourself if a) the acceptance is even worth it, and b) if the acceptance is even at risk.

Sometimes we don’t even care about the one-sided friendship anymore, but we reflexively bake the cake because of the Pleaser pattern on mindless replay.

Sometimes we worry that people won’t like/ love/ promote us if we don’t go the extra mile/ say yes/ stomp all over our own boundaries, and we’re just plain wrong. Most times the people in our lives will still be very much okay with us if we say, “I’m already committed this weekend.” Most times we can unapologetically assert our “No” and still be loved and valued by Great Aunt Bertha and still seen as an “up and comer” at work.

Read more here on Saying No for a Better Life.
And then torch that Pleasing mofo inside your brain.

Life-wrecker #2: Kill your comparing tendency.

That Damned Comparison ScaleIt’s official: comparison is the Squasher of all Joy.

Our objective achievements often pale in comparison to how our accomplishments are subjectively seen—which makes us entirely absurd and yet also heartbreakingly human. So what’s the answer? Do we find a way to live in solitude without the internet to stop sizing ourselves up against others (DON’T TEMPT ME … I’m an introvert and this sounds like the pathway to eternal happiness)? No. We must outsmart ourselves.

  • Gratitude—the antidote for pretty much everything—puts a pin in the comparison balloon. Listing what you have to be grateful for can take the pressure off how a woman you will never meet in Texas is killing it in her business, compared to how you are killing way less in yours. Appreciating your cup of frothy hot chocolate, your overly-eager-to-love-you dog at your feet, and that amazing Wordle performance tends to reframe your “less than” mentality into something more workable. Get that gratitude journal going already!
  • Zero in on your strengths. Have a sticky note handy that lists the things that make you amazing . . . and refer to it when you’re stuck in the comparison trap.
  • Third person the crap out of comparison. Psychologist Ethan Kross shares in Chatter that we can have conversations with ourselves about ourselves. You could try the simple out-loud version: “You’re doing great! For someone just building her doggy daycare business, you’ve already had three referrals. You rock!” You could also try the third person exercise on for size: “Janet is doing such a good job of building her doggy empire. She’s creative and resourceful and she just got a new testimonial today! Janet is so successful.” (Janet is talking about Janet and even though Janet feels crazy doing it, Janet strangely feels better about herself afterwards.)
  • Read more here on Comparison: The Happiness Hijacker.

Life-wrecker #3:  Kill your (emotional) dependency on food that deadens you.

One Lonely DonutLet’s be clear: there is room for all of the fun, fizzy, fat-filled, and fabulous foods out there. I’m not talking about banishing empty calories from your existence (because what kind of appalling existence would that be?)—this little life-wrecker is about eating your feelings and feeding your “numb my annoyances” addiction. You know what I mean, right? You know the difference between having a cookie or two for dessert vs. eating the whole row and feeling disappointed in yourself afterwards. You know the difference between fitting a cheeseburger and fries into an otherwise balanced diet vs. being a regular at the drive thru (“here’s your extra packet of mayo, just like you like it, Kimmie!!”).

I know alllllll about how food can assassinate one’s aliveness. I squandered a decade of my life to eating disorders and (oh thank goodness) lived to tell the tale. The second and third piece of cake is never as satisfying as the first, and (ruefully) no single, double, or triple piece of cake will make our problems go away. (The first piece fills you with chocolate-flavored happiness, the second piece fills you with sweet sadness, and the third piece fills you with shame . . . frosting-covered shame.) A nutritionist once advised me to eat 20% of my calories from the foods that used to be on my forbidden list. This sounded ghastly until she put it in perspective: if 80% of what we stuff in our mouths consume and savor is incredible, nourishing, maybe-even-organic food, then our bodies and minds give us the a-okay for a handful of Gummy Bears.

Let’s be mindful of when we’re eating for joy instead of eating to cover up a feeling we think we can flavor bomb to death.

Because you are human it means that you are perfectly imperfect. 

The Killer CoffinYou were born to wreck your life in small and medium ways . . . repeatedly! (Some of us do large-scale wrecking ball kind of shit, and thankfully we can put most of those pieces back together again, too.) I point out our fatally flawed natures because it feels good to normalize the ways we hold ourselves back from living lives that feel astonishing. The question is whether you can get out of your own way long enough to live like you mean it.

Are you willing to put the Pleaser out to pasture?

Are you willing to catch yourself in the comparison trap and shower yourself with gratitude instead?

Are you willing to feed your face and soul with food that energizes and excites and fuels you?

Stay tuned in upcoming posts for approximately 349,997 more ways you might be wrecking your life. Awareness is the precursor to change, so all it takes is one little lightbulb to go off and edit the trajectory of your life. Your Mondays are on a countdown timer, so let’s kill off the things that are making them anything less than magnificent.

Jodi Wellman

P.S.: We should totally Instagram it up!

P.P.S.: Oh and just in case you missed it… I’d love you forever if you took 16 minutes out of your life to watch my TEDx talk!


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