I get reflective around this time of year. It’s just the way things are in my world. Within an approximately four-week stretch, I have Thanksgiving, my birthday and Christmas.
We recently discussed the holiday blues on a recent Mental Health & Wellness call and in a couple of blog posts. This past Thanksgiving was much better for me, blues-wise than in years past and for that, I’m beyond grateful.
With a birthday at the end of November, It’s always been a time of year when I get very reflective about my life, what I have and haven’t accomplished and bring up past disappointments and shortcomings. It’s not an awesome time to be inside my brain and that’s why I tend to drop out of sight for periods of time.
As you may have guessed from the blue box less a couple paragraphs up, I’m high functioning autistic. I’ll be fifty-three in a couple days and I was diagnosed seven years ago with Asperger’s Syndrome. I don’t look at autism as a bad thing in my life; it’s just a different way of viewing and thinking about things that most people don’t get.
My whole life I thought I was just a weird kid. Now I know that I’m not weird, just autistic. Although, now that I’ve had a purple goatee going for a few years maybe I’m weird and autistic. Who knows?
So how do you live the life you don’t want? Take it from me, an expert on the subject. It’s easier than you might think.
• Set your expectations WAY too high.
That way when you’re not able to meet those expectations, as you knew you wouldn’t when you set them, you get to beat yourself up because it’s no one else’s fault, right?
Who else can you blame when you’re the one who told yourself, and possibly others, that you could do this project or event? That it’s no problem. That you’ve got this handled. The answer is no one.
I don’t like talking about this, because it sounds like I’m bragging and I’m not. I have a very high IQ. Because of this high IQ, I feel like I’m smart enough that I should be able to figure out whatever the problem or situation is that I’m dealing with. But that’s not realistic and I know it.
Even though I know it’s not realistic, do I do anything about it? No. I just keep setting the expectations way too high. Sigh.
• Beat yourself up after you don’t meet the expectations.
This one is easy to do and in fact will probably come naturally to most of us. When we fail or when we perceive that we fail, we naturally start coming down on ourselves and in my case it’s hard to make the negativity stop, so my self-esteem drops into the toilet and I search for something positive to grab on to.
When we’re done beating ourselves up over the current situation, if we truly want the life we don’t want, just follow the three simple steps below.
OK, the last three I took off my shampoo bottle this morning, but the rules are just as applicable to healthy hair as to whether or not you have the life you want.
If you follow the first two steps and then repeat the cycle over and over, you’re virtually guaranteed to end up with the life you truly don’t want to have.
But here’s the kicker:
It doesn’t have to be that way. You can have the life you truly want, or at least a version close to it if you’ll only make two small changes:
1. DON’T set your expectations way too high.
Sit down with yourself or with loved ones who have your best interest in mind and figure out how to come up with realistic expectations for yourself.
No ones perfect and we’re not always going to meet our goal, but knowing that we have a realistic chance right from the start, should start to help our self-worth grow and thrive.
2. Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t meet an expectation.
We’re all human and as such, we’re flawed. We’re going to make mistakes. We’re going to let ourselves down and, are you read for this? We’re also going to let others down in the process.
As much as I’m beating myself up right now for saying that we shouldn’t beat ourselves up, I know I’m right. Beating ourselves up is what Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley called, “Stinkin thinkin,” and sadly, it’s kind of how I roll.
I don’t want to think that way about myself, but I can’t see the accomplishments for the failures. I guess in a way it’s like not being able to see the forest for the trees.
What about you? Do you have the life you want or are you standing in your own way? Share your story with others. We want to hear and we want to help.
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