If You Spend All Your Time With Eeyore, You’re Not Going to Get the Honey Pot

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” -Jim Rohn

“Show me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.” -My dear friend Lorraine Castle.

As we blog about self care, self esteem, and personal development, I thought this was worth a visit. I’ve always loved Winnie the Pooh. As a child, the cute little bear with his gang of buddies fascinated me. The antics of Pooh and Tigger really made me laugh, and I deeply related to Pooh’s struggles to get his hands on enough sugar.

As an adult, I still like Pooh. He’s a cool dude who is loyal to his friends and goes after what he wants, event if he gets stuck in a door after filling his belly. I wish that I had his determination to go after what I want just as fearlessly, but I have a problem. I am not as much of an empath as AK is, and I’m honestly glad about that. I’m naturally too selfish to get TOO bogged down in other people’s emotions. I mean, I’m not a sociopath. I feel things deeply and can empathize with people, but I try not to let other people’s shit bring me down.

Unfortunately, I have a few Eeoyres in my life. You know who they are. They’re the friends or family members sucking the enthusiasm out of everything you want to do. Have a great idea for a new business? Want to start getting in shape? Want to take up  a new hobby that could be expensive or time consuming or both? That person is the first one to point out everything that could go wrong, and try to hold you back from trying. They may be naturally cynical; they could be depressed; or they could be just plain jealous. They dampen our spirits at every turn if we let them, even though, in my experience, they don’t even realize they’re doing it. The Eeyores in your life don’t take chances because they think that everything they try to do is just doomed anyway. They live under a dark cloud, and dark clouds are terrible places to be alone. Have you ever heard the expression “Misery loves company?” Don’t be the miserable company for that human.

Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to tell you to cut that person out of your life, it’s usually not possible. We live in the real world, where this person could be a beloved family member who has depression and/anxiety disorders. This person may not even admit their problem, and therefore do nothing to treat it, nor attempt to lift himself out of it. After all, it’s not like depression comes on overnight in most cases. It slowly becomes the new normal, and while it might be pretty easy to suspect from the outside looking in, that’s not always the case when it’s happening within your own mind. I WAS that person a few years ago when a Rheumatologist prescribed an antidepressant for pain when I wasn’t depressed, but failed to do any psychiatric testing to see if I had any underlying disorders that could make antidepressants dangerous for me. Spoiler alert: I did. I didn’t go from jogging 3-5 miles a day and working on writing a book to laying around like a slug, day drinking, and not giving a single flying fuck about my life overnight. It was a gradual process, and as I was being diagnosed with chronic illnesses and my discs were hearniating, I guess it felt right for me to be down and give up. It took a near breakdown for me to hit rock bottom and realize that isn’t who I am and that I needed to get on my feet and fight like the badass I am. I’m grateful that the people who love me loved me through that, and I’m committed to loving the people in my life through dark times as well. Still, only you can determine if your black cloud dweller is worth standing by. If she’s your boss or your spouse and her actions are directly affecting your day to day ability to care for yourself or others, it may be time to consider quitting that job, getting marriage counseling, or ultimately separating from the spouse. Those are big decisions and I can’t make them for you, but changes MUST BE MADE.

SO, you ask, how does this work? How do I stay focused and motivated when I feel like I have a 100 lb boulder attached to my leg, but it’s a relationship I can’t or won’t end?

Don't Let a Jackass Keep You From Your Honeypot

Here are some tips. Look at the first quote. You’re the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time. Find yourself a couple of Tiggers. You know who they are. They’re the people who are bursting with natural joy and energy. These people are their own best cheerleaders, and they generally are the kind of people who want to cheer for you too. LET THEM. Invite them to lunch. Try to spend time with them. I know I have some Tiggers at my office that are incredible people, and Tiggers usually have lots of time for more friends, but you’ll have to curb your own Eeyore impulses, because Tiggers don’t like to be brought down. They’re happy to spend time with you if you’re a Pooh who has her own goals, or an Owl who is distracted with learning a great deal of the time, or a Kanga who is a bit of a helicopter mom. We all have our things, but I also believe that there is room for personal development as long as we’re alive and kicking.

I also believe you need to be open and honest with your Eeyore. Let them know that you’re concerned about them, but be prepared for them to deny there’s an issue. Remember, Eeyore might not be suffering from depression or anxiety. She might just be a nasty bitch, a terrible human, or some kind of sociopath or narcissist. If it’s the former, let that person know how much you love them, but let them know you need a little distance from their constant shitting on everything you do or want to do. Let them know you love them (if you do) but that you need breaks sometimes because their negativity gets you down and you have goals. It might hurt them, but as long as you’re coming from a place of love and choose your words carefully, then I say “too damn bad.” Hasn’t this person been hurting you, by transferring their feelings onto many aspects of your life? Has he told you not to go back to school to pursue a career that you think you’ll love because it’s “never going to work out?” Has he told you not to start another diet because “You never stick to it very long and you just spend all that money on vegetables that go bad?” Yeah. That’s hurtful as hell, and you don’t deserve that, even if you have failed at things before. If we try new things, we either succeed or we learn. There’s no real failure with that perspective.

I do want to caution you that everyone who wants to sit you down and go over pros and cons is an Eeyore. For example, if you tell me that you have no savings but want to quit your $150,000 a year job that you like pretty well to go into real estate because you think it’s easy and a lot less work,  I’m going to let you know you’re wrong. I will, however, help you work out the details of what my job is really like, and help you set realistic expectations and goals. If you tell me you’re going to go from the couch and P90X workouts twice a day, I am going to suggest you go to your doctor first to determine if your body can actually handle that, and tell you to ask him what level of activity you SHOULD start with, and then find you a program that will fit your needs.

Lastly, Eeyore in the children’s books is a melancholy, but loving and loyal, donkey. You need to figure out if your Eeyore is more like the donkey in the books, or a toxic jackass who will always try to keep you from your honey pot.

With Love and Positive (Bouncy Bouncy Bouncy) Tigger Energy,

-Selfish Mitch

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Want Better Relationships? Start With Yourself!

SelfI know. It sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Don’t we all have that friend or family member (or maybe it’s you) who is always there, giving selflessly of her time and talents? I mean, everyone loves that woman, so don’t you want to be that woman, or just like her? Don’t you imagine that she has a ton of friends who love her right back and will drop everything to help her right back if necessary?  (I suppose this person could be a man, but yeah, not so often.) Often times, though, this friend is drained and not feeling great about her friends not reciprocating. She might just think that’s how things work, that friends just take advantage, and you either deal with it or have no friends. Does she think she doesn’t deserve friends who love her right back? Damn, I hope not.

Rlationships function best when there’s give and take. In most relationships I’ve witnessed, there’s an imbalance there. There’s generally one person who is the giver; the caretaker; the one who has it all handled. If the balance is pretty close, and both partners give almost as much as they take, the relationship is usually a good one. For example, if you like cleaning and your husband loves cooking, you care for one another that way. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you cook, clean, organize, work full time, do the majority of the child care tasks, and your partner works, comes home, throws his socks on the coffee table, and falls asleep with the remote in his hand, I hate to say it, you have an imbalance, and you shouldn’t take it.

I recently heard a quote that made more sense to me than just about anything I’ve ever heard or read. Ready? “You date at the level of your self esteem.” It’s so simple, but I look back at my life and see that it’s completely accurate. When I met my first husband, my self esteem was at an all time low. I was 20, and I realized that I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was drinking WAY too much and that’s not good for anyone, but it was the only thing that didn’t make me feel empty. It gave me the social courage to meet new people. The problem is, when you make friends and the bond you share is binge drinking, those are not healthy relationships. I’d gotten out of a serious relationship with someone I thought was going to be “the one” about a year and a half prior to meeting my ex husband, and I dated some real losers in the meantime. Unfortunately, these losers and users seem to have a sixth sense for women who are down on themselves. They can somehow sense that you don’t think you deserve much. When your self esteem is at its lowest, you’re a magnet for the biggest turds on the market. My ex started out charming and kind, and slowly turned into a jealous ass who slowly isolated me from my friends. These men find ways to get you away from people who know and love you and have your best interest at heart. He has reasons, and while you’re being gaslit, his reasons *kind of* make sense. One friend smoked a lot of weed, and I was really, really not into that, so she wasn’t “good for me.” Another drank a lot and slept around, so I shouldn’t be around that, should I? Plus, he had a good group of friends. They were almost all really good people who had absolutely no idea what kind of an emotionally abusive ass he was in private. Still, I really couldn’t sack up and convince myself that I really, truly, deserved better than that.

Of course, looking back, would I change anything? I mean, he’s my son’s father. I’d never trade my kid for anything. Still, if everything happens for a reason, usually the reason is that you make bad decisions. I think if I’d had more self esteem, more belief that I had power, I could have changed that relationship for the better. It ultimately wouldn’t have worked out, but it might not have been the lonely, isolated, living hell it was, especially at the end. I’m actually glad it got so bad, because that lead to me GETTING OUT.

Look at your beautiful, talented, hilarious friend. She’s this strong, amazing woman and she’s dating one of these toxic turds. Why? She may not really grasp it, but she probably thinks Todd the Terrible Turd is the best she can do and she’s lucky to have him. She’s not dumb. She knows he’s not a very good dude, but when a woman has a low self esteem, sometimes being with Larry Loser seems better than being alone. She equates being alone with being lonely. I can tell you from experience that when you feel like shit about yourself, the last thing you want is time alone to think about it, so you stay with Alexander the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Dude and make excuses for him.

STOP THAT SHIT RIGHT NOW.

So wait, what am I saying here? If your husband is a lazy ass that fully takes advantage of you, should you just up and leave him, or kick his ass out? Probably not. If he’s a good man and he’s not an emotional, financial or physical abuser and your relationship is pretty good, besides your constant resentment brewing, take charge.

Find what makes YOU happy. Find what makes YOU feel good. I see a lot of this when I’m working on my fitness coaching business. I talk to women who are super disappointed with the their weight and their lack of energy. They want to be healthier, look better, and be able to chase after and play with their young children. Do you know the reason I hear most often? These are women who are sometimes in tears when they decide not to join my 30 day challenge groups. They want to do it really badly, but they say they DON’T. HAVE.TIME.

OK, single working mamas to little ones. I was one of you, and I KNOW that sometimes your days are packed from dawn til dusk and beyond and you’re probably not getting much sleep. I get that. If there’s a way that you can trade childcare even 1-3 times a week with another single or married parent, or if you have a friend who would be happy to spend a little time in kid-land, take that time. Fill your cup.

The majority of these women, though, are married to the fathers of their children. They tell me that they have no idea when they’d find 30 minutes, 4-6 times a week, to work out and work towards their goal. Even with all they’ve told me about their fitness goals, they don’t think that they can leave the kids with the husband for 30 minutes to work out in a different room of her home. I just wonder. Does Mr You have time to tinker on an old car that hasn’t run for 9 years? Does he golf or bowl or play hoops with his buddies? Does he run? Does he sit in a chair and watch TV for three hours a night?

Now think about this. Do you deserve 30 minutes to yourself, to work on yourself? Even if you’re not using it to work out, do you need that time to center yourself? To meditate? To go have a drink with your girlfriends?

Here’s another thing. If you see yourself in what I’m writing, and you can hear that man snoring on the couch while you read this a few paragraphs at a time in between loads of laundry and dishes, I have a hard truth for you. This man, this sleeping man who lives in your house, probably has NO FUCKING IDEA that you feel this way. I mean, he’s aware that you’re pissed that your jeans don’t fit, but he really, truly, doesn’t know how you’re feeling and what you need unless you TELL HIM. Turn off the distractions. Ask to talk to him for a minute when the kids are in bed or elsewhere. If you do all of the cleaning and all of the cooking and all of the other bullshit on autopilot, all but the very best of men who are vying for sainthood will LET YOU. You bet your ass they’re going to keep that status quo. After all, it works for him. If he’s a good man, he wants to know. He wants a happy wife, but homeboy has no freaking clue how to make that happen.

Decide. It’s up to you. Decide that you’re worth it. Decide that your kids don’t need Pinterest lives every day. Your Elf on a Shelf doesn’t need an elaborate set up every day. If that brings you joy, then great. But if these things are draining you, take back your power! Tell that man that you’re feeling tired and down, and that you need time for YOURSELF every day. For some reason, over the course of your life, you’ve decided that you don’t deserve it. You don’t deserve self care? I think you do. I think we all do. For me, that means I MUST have time home alone, just me and the dogs, for several hours at least twice a week. I need to move my body. The JOY that pumps through my bloodstream with that release of endorphins can’t be replaced by organizing someone else’s underwear drawer or vacuuming under the feet of a grown ass man. The clarity of mind I have when I’m eating clean, healthy foods 90% of the time can’t be replaced by hate-eating leftover macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets my kid didn’t finish.

So this is my purpose; my manifesto.

I DESERVE TO BE HAPPY.

I DESERVE TO TAKE TIME FOR MYSELF.

I DESERVE A PARTNER WHO GIVES AS MUCH AS HE TAKES.

I DESERVE TO FEEL AMAZING.

I DESERVE TO FEEL STRONG.

I DESERVE TO BE HEALTHY.

I DESERVE SELF CARE.

I LOVE MYSELF.

I DESERVE JOY.

I DESERVE STRONG, CARING FRIENDSHIPS.

I DESERVE ABUNDANCE.

I DESERVE TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF SO I CAN TAKE CARE OF MY FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND CLIENTS AT THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE LEVEL.

CALL ME SELFISH. I’LL WEAR THAT BADGE WITH PRIDE.

And guess what? YOU DESERVE ALL OF THAT TOO. Not when your kids are grown. Not when your career is established. Not at some arbitrary point in the future. There will always be demands on your time, on your energy, on your body. There’s never a magical time when your world stops and you can do all the things you always wanted to do. Do it now. Take back your self esteem and power and realize YOU DESERVE THIS.

I can’t decide what that thing is for you that builds you up, recharges your battery, and makes you feel amazing about yourself and your life, but whatever it is, don’t delay. When you’re a happier human, you’re a happier mom, a joyful wife, a  caring friend, an energetic employer or  employee.

Love, power, and light,

-Selfish Mitch