There are 3 questions that keep popping up during my life, when life throws lemons at me. That happens, let’s be honest. My life is pretty good, I have a lot to be grateful for (and I write down 3 of those every night), but sometimes life is unkind, people are unkind or I am unkind (mostly to me). I do have a tendency to go negative, especially when I’m tired, but in good, flowy bad moments I remember one of these questions (often just one is relevant for that moment):
Does it really matter so much?
Hint: it really doesn’t.
Someone send me an e-mail saying that the article I wrote will be heavily edited and that is why it took them so long to get it back to me. I can tell you, the first millisecond the old belief popped up: ‘See, you’re an imposter.’ But truly, I laugh at that voice nowadays, because I know my sh*t. Sure, I am not perfect, but I know my craft.
The second belief that came up was: I have to let them know I’m totally above all their criticism. I wrote some e-mails in my head. Before I realized: does it really matter so much? So what if this article gets a good shake-down, what if people don’t like it, what if I don’t please the person I interviewed and, I thought, had a great connection with?!
It does not matter so much.
This line is one gem from John Parkin or at least, that is something he reminds us of often in his newsletter. It. Does. Not. Matter. So. Much. And that really counts for a lot of stuff in life. Visiting your grandmother: it does matter. A bad hair day: not so much. Connecting with your boyfriend who has been working too much lately: it does matter. What someone says to you on the street or even in the office: not so much.
Is it true?
Hint: if it concerns negative thoughts about yourself or others, it is often not based on the truth, but on fear.
This questions comes straight from psycho-therapy. It is a very basic question, but it asks a lot of honesty from yourself. You have to look yourself in the eye and ask: is it really true? Is it really? I mean, can you base it on facts? Is it something that others can account for? Or is it ‘just’ a fear (I mean, don’t underestimate the power of fear and anxiety, but at least be honest about what is driving you. That is the only way to get help for the thing that is standing in your way of happiness, imho)?
The answer is most often: it is not true.
What happens to me is that people can turn into monsters if I don’t see them for a long time and don’t have proper contact via digital channels. For example: my boyfriend works in hospitality. Long hours, different hours than I have and hard work. Which means that some weeks I barely see him, unless I go and give him a kiss at his work.
And he is not so attached to his phone as me. Which means, he can forget to turn internet on or send me a quick message during his breaks. And it means that my head can make a lot of things of this silence. Now, months into our relationship, I know, but in the beginning, he would slowly turn into a savage monster, out to hurt me and throw me under the bus.
That question: is it true? That helped me a big deal. Because he is not a monster. He is still the loving, caring boyfriend that sent me a little heart at the beginning of his day. And if I really asked myself and looked myself in my soul, I would see a scared little girl, afraid to get hurt and trying to stay afloat in all these confusing emotions. It was not true, it is not true. It can be true, don’t get me wrong, but here is no evidence. And then there is only one thing you can do: trust.
What do I really need right now?
Hint: it’s not your phone, that bar of chocolate or Netflix
In line with all the posts on intuitive productivity (previous posts in Dutch), I ask myself every day: what do I really need right now? It most often is not distraction from my phone, the sugar rush of the candy or the buzz of the alcohol. I realized this asking the question more often each day. What did come up? What do I really need right now? Well, these days it’s often a nap.
I am still recovering from my allergies and I am tired after a half day of work. What does a body that is so tired it can hardly walk crave for during daytime? Exactly: sugar and fat. Because that is what we are wired for: during the day we were walking over the Serengeti to find food or to hunt, so we needed to stay alive, alert and our body needs reserves for that. But we live in a different world (which is probably the reason why I got these allergies in the first place) and I can go to bed, even during the day.
That is what I really need right now.
Which has all kinds of beliefs stuck to it: naps during the day are for lazy’s. You have to hustle if you want to make it. Longer hours is better. But let’s be real: research (go Google it) tells us that naps during the day make us more productive and more dedicated and the same is true for working shorter days. And I experience that too: I sleep a lot, but I get so much more done, because during my waking hours, I am really awake.
What are beliefs or questions you live by?