What If Making Your Dreams Come True Doesn’t Make You Happier?

By Lisa Selow

hemingwayquoteThe sales woman was kind to me, asking me if I needed help. I was taking my time, which has become a normal thing for me as I heal myself of chronic fatigue syndrome. Rushing around just isn’t an option any more.

She looked down at the dark bluish bruise on my right arm, blurting out, “Oh my gosh! How’d you get that bruise?”

I smiled as she apologized for asking a personal question.

I said, “It’s okay. I don’t mind sharing. I’ve been getting some intravenous nutrients the past two months. We couldn’t get the needle in my right arm last week, so I’m a bit bruised. I asked if we could try another vein and it didn’t work. Luckily, we found a vein in my left arm.”

I explained about my turning to integrative medicine again to heal chronic fatigue since it had worked for me in the late 1990s during my first bout of the illness. It turned out that the sales woman had a family member with similar challenges.

Really, there’s no coincidences. So, it made sense why I had shared so personally with a complete stranger. Maybe some of my journey could help her loved one, I reasoned.

The sales woman was curious about how I ended up getting sick. I didn’t want to keep her from doing her job, so I told her I’d give her the short version. I said I made a dream come true of getting my book published and I worked myself to the max for two years. I explained how I neglected my own self-care at times and how I became emotionally upset to the point of making myself ill.

We ended up having a deep conversation about the price we think we need to pay to make our dreams a reality. We both decided that maybe it could be fun or even easy next time around.

I smiled as I walked out of the store. Even though most days the past year I’ve been faced with two or three symptoms each day of varying degrees such as insomnia, digestive challenges, fatigue, soreness, migraines, and mild depression, I have hope. I know that I’ve healed myself before.

I’ve been doing my best to see this recent health challenge as a gift. I figure there’s some things I’m learning. I’ve been able to return to my passions and hobbies, self-care, and learning how to relax again. My inner teacher knows there’s lessons that I can pass along to (hopefully) help others. Some of these lessons have revealed themselves to me. I share the main ones learned so far here with you:

  1. Sometimes, making your dreams come true doesn’t make you happier. As someone who’s creative, sensitive, and a perfectionist, I push myself really hard. I’m hard on myself to do well and please others, along with my intention to be of service to others on the planet. Talk about pressure! I’ve learned that it’s so important to enjoy the process, not just the result. In hindsight, I see that I would have been much less stressed had I just enjoyed the simple pleasures of writing and marketing my book, instead of worrying about making it all perfect. The cost was not only my health, but my inner peace. I’m working on reclaiming both.
  2. If you help even one person, you’ve done your part. Yes, our human side really wants to touch as many lives as possible. If you’re an artist, healer, writer, musician, or scientist, you might be hoping to reach thousands, if not millions of people. You want to make the world a better place. This shows up for some as working to get as many media placements as possible to spread the message. This can be tiring and even distracting from your purpose of actually helping people. I’ve revised my vision to be helping a small corner of the world, the people or tribe I’m meant to help that I can help the most. It might be only hundreds of people and this is okay. If I kill myself overworking and striving in the process, I won’t be around to fulfill my mission
  3. I’ve learned that it’s not about me. Giving birth to a project or book can feel like such a personal thing. The thing is that we’re all an aspect of the universe. The universe needs us to do its work. We’re just willing channels for healing, writing, music, art, ideas, and inspiration. It doesn’t really belong to us personally. It belongs to everyone. Once we release the work into the world, it will take on its own shape and do what it’s meant to do. We might not have control over the process at all. If you’re working for the higher good of all, things will feel natural. If you’re working for your own ego’s gratification, it might not ever feel like enough. You’ll push yourself to achieve, do more, and be more. It becomes about the numbers, not helping people. I myself took on others’ definitions of success for a short time, which is not like me as one who is prone to questioning societal definitions and norms. I’m learning to be okay with how my definition of success is much different from corporate America’s and some in society. My definition includes life balance, happiness, and inner peace. These are more important to me than media placements, my book sales, my social media numbers, or becoming famous.
  4. I’ve learned that it’s so important to remember who you are when you’re working so hard on a goal or project. If you don’t know and honor your values (what’s important to you in life), you’ll get sidetracked. It is all too easy to be pulled in a million directions, but a bit more challenging to stay true to yourself. I myself noticed the areas I wasn’t being authentic and I’m taking small steps to correct this in my personal life and in my business. I’m already feeling happier.

What about you? Have you ever worked hard to make a dream come true and then, felt disappointed? Have you ever sacrificed your true self to work on a goal? How did it make you feel? I’d love to hear about your experiences. By sharing, I think it helps others to not feel so alone. We’re in this journey together.

Say no and set boundaries {with love}

By Renee Heigel

So you have a hard time saying “no” huh?

You did a few things this week because you felt guilty and now you’re angry with yourself.

You complain that you get taken advantage of and people walk all over you…?

You find yourself, saying, “How can I not take that comment personally?”

Boundaries.

There was a pivotal moment for me where I began to see the emotional connection to my desires, specifically for food.

I was renting an office space on the top floor of this massive office complex for the marketing biz I was running at the time. There was a little restaurant, downstairs on the first floor. I often bought my lunch there and ate way too many spinach pies.

One morning when arriving to the office, I parked and just sat in my car. I couldn’t bring myself to go in. I was feeling sad, unmotivated, and stressed. I didn’t feel like I had any time for me and that people around me always wanted more, more, more. All of the thoughts in my head were shifted to what was going wrong in my life.

When I gained some composure, I went inside and started the day with some interviews to add some people to the team I had. When I finished and came out of one of the offices, I learned that someone had come in and stolen my laptop.

I felt like I got kicked while I was down.

I immediately went downstairs and bought candy, chips, cookies, and anything else I could find.

I slowly walked back up the flights of stairs with my items and sat down at my desk and began to eat, and it was in that moment that I learned what I was really doing with this “food.” I noticed a pattern. As I dove deeper into my salt and vinegar chips, I began to feel disgusted.

I made a spontaneous choice and threw away everything.

When I think back to that time in my life, especially as a woman, I felt driven, burned out, controlling, and uber-ambitious and determined. I didn’t say no, even when I wanted to. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I was also frustrated because I wasn’t getting the results I wanted despite my hard work.

Everything is energy, and when we are not prioritizing our energy, then that energy needs to go somewhere.

We end up internalizing it, and then it comes out in various ways: food, sugar, alcohol, relationships, shopping, work, drugs, and caffeine – you get the picture.

You relate to this, right?

You might already know that the extra weight you carry is symbolic of the safety you desire.

The amount you might immerse yourself in the tub of ice cream, relationships that are unhealthy or dependent, or your workaholic ways are often a reflection of seeking safety in something outside of you.

Your body reflects your ego.

Are you ready to let go of this?

Yes?

Toxic.

I was sitting in court this week fighting a traffic ticket (yes, I walked away with no points) and I overheard this woman next to me sharing with someone that she spent $2,500 on this curio cabinet to hold the 100+ ‘Precious Moment’ knick-knacks given to her that she absolutely loathes.

She said, “I hate those damn things, I spent thousands on something just to store crap in my home that I don’t even like. I felt like I had to…”

Sound familiar?

Self-sacrifice leads to resentment, guilt, anger, obligation, and more emotions. These are the biggest internal factors that destroy our health.

These are called internal toxins.

So many of us are in this cycle of over-achieving, controlling, and doing, and then building up a toxic overload because of it, and then going home to numb it all out with a glass of red wine and bowl of popcorn.

That’s not going to work for you and it didn’t work for me.

When in this self-sacrificing place, not only will you attract unhealthy relationships with needy, dependent people, but you will also continue the cycle and halt your capacity to learn from your experiences.

There is hope, please don’t fear.

It’s time to build up some more boundaries, internally.

You must figure out how much the situation is about you versus the other person, and then specifically learn to stand up for yourself.

I hear this often from my clients and readers…

–  I don’t want to make any waves.

–  I don’t like confrontation.

–  It isn’t my personality to say how I feel.

You were likely not taught how to create boundaries as a child if this sounds like you. You are likely used to feeling guilt and dishing it out on occasion, and you must face the guilt directly.

How, you ask?

You must make yourself a priority.

“Good self-care is the single, most important aspect of our health, period.” ~ Dr. Christiane Northrop

Self-care includes not using food, work, substances, shopping, etc. to numb you. Please learn where you are channeling this extra masculine-feminine energy and channel it into self-love instead.

Self-care includes exploring practices of spirituality or awareness that allow you to feel safe without external stuff.

Self-care means learning the power of saying “no” and telling people your priorities are different right now.  Saying “no” to someone else is really saying “yes” to yourself.  This takes practice. Start now.

Self-care means seeking support from people who will help you put yourself on your priority list versus people who are enabling you because they have the same “boundary” stuff going on.

Take action.

Most of our energy is often spent hiding our true self.

Know that it may be time for you to establish stronger boundaries in your life that support you and allow you to evolve as a human being.

You must determine how much is about you and how much of it is about the other person.

Ask for help.

Learn to stand up for yourself. Practice, practice. A mirror works great at first.

Self care and creating boundaries is your responsibility.

It doesn’t matter what you learned as a child. Your adult self will flourish with boundaries and self-care.

These internal toxins are destroying your health, and I have a strong belief that you can heal them by letting them go.

Delight in yourself today by saying no to someone else.

I want to remind you of something:

–  Yes, you’ll feel guilty at first.

–  Yes, it will feel uncomfortable.

But here is the truth…

You will not be able to give the gifts that you are meant to give in this lifetime while you are feeling guilty, without any internal boundaries.

When you numb the guilt you are also numbing the joy.

I am here with you holding your hand along the way.

It’s time to step into your naked truth.

This is pivotal path in that journey.

Deep gratitude and love,

Renee
xo