Sarah’s Rap: Everyone has likely heard the oft-used quote by Mahatma Ghandi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” I’ve always loved this and try to live by it best I can. I try to treat others as I wish to be treated, I do what I can for the environment, and have a passion for helping others to grow and succeed.
But I’ve also had a personal motto that I try to follow over the years:
No one will make you happy but yourself.
Sticking to this hasn’t always come easy, but whenever I find myself struggling with dissatisfaction, I’ve tried to remind myself of this and use it to motivate me to make a change. This motto means two things to me:
- Even if I have everything I ever wanted, I may still not be happy unless I let myself. I can receive love, money, security, a family, or whatever I desire, but if I continue to think negative thoughts, don’t take time to appreciate what I have, carry around anger or resentment, never feel good-enough, etc, I won’t truly be happy.
- If I am unhappy about my circumstances, it is up to me to make changes to get to a desired state. If I am unhappy with my job, I cannot expect someone to read my mind, the perfect job to fall into my lap or some other miracle to occur in which the desired job is attained. Instead I’m much better taking action myself that will help me to reach my goal. In the end, I’ll actually be all the more happier for reaching it, by having taken control and gone after what I need.
The first interpretation is the one I struggle with the most. I’ve actually become quite adept at the second – it actually gets easier the more one does it. I imagine the first does as well, but I’m still working on it.
Over the last seven years of suffering from gut dysbiosis, Leaky Gut, SIBO and other digestive ailments, I’ve subconsciously expanded my motto to also include:
No one will make you healthy but yourself.
What do I mean by that last one? Well, it’s up to you to grab hold of your desire to be healthy and do something about it, whether it be to see a doctor, seek an alternative doctor to the ineffective one you may have, learn more about your illness or adhere to dietary and lifestyle changes. Illnesses happen for a reason and it’s actually up to us to get to the reason why. Miraculous things can be done if only we put our mind to it.
One way I’ve used this motto to achieve my end goal of good health (which is still a work in progress), is that I don’t sit back and let a doctor give me a pill to treat my symptoms without making any other changes. I prefer to get to the root cause and address that. It’s meant making some tough choices – giving up grains, dairy, sugar, soy and alcohol for one. Working to resolve stressful situations, seeking holistic healers, educating myself on my condition and recently switching to a part-time schedule at work in an effort to reduce stress, fit in more exercise and work towards a healthier self, mentally and physically. After only a few weeks of this, I am starting to feel like my old self, more relaxed and happy and on my way to better health. Finally!
I meet so many people who are suffering from a variety of ailments and complaints (either with their health or life in general), but they’re not ready to make any drastic changes. They suffer and sometimes bemoan their circumstances, but it seems they’d rather live with the situation as-is than make the changes necessary to bring about change in their life- whether it be giving up sugar, going to the doctor, making time for themselves, seeking a different job, talking to their “significant other” about relationship problems, etc. These are not easy things to do. Trust me, I understand! Sometimes we hold back out of fear, belief that the situation is out of our control, depression, low self-esteem, negative or limiting influence from others, or more. And sometimes an addiction makes it more difficult (when trying to give up sugar, cigarettes, etc) and for other habits you want to change it may be in such an ingrained state that we’ve become accustomed to putting up with it.
The problem is that many issues will worsen and fester if ignored. If action is not taken, you will likely become sicker, more depressed, less happy at work or so miserable in your relationship that it can have side effects on health, work and other relationships. What we all need to remember is that we all have the power to make changes in our life that will impact not only our happiness and health, but those of others. If you’re happy, your family and friends will reap the benefit of your positive mood. If you’re healthy, you can be a good role model for your children and for others.
At the end of the day, it should come down to a simple question: “Do you want the situation to change?” If so, here are some steps that have worked for me in moving forward towards a change. I hope that they can help you to accomplish desired change in our own life.
- For health issues, in addition to your medical doctor, seek professional help from a naturopath, functional medicine doctor, kineseologist or other natural health-care professional that will take a more holistic approach to healing. I can’t tell you how much more you can get from someone that will work to heal you from the source of your condition, not just treat the symptoms in a way that insurance and pharmaceutical companies dictate.
- Educate yourself – read everything you can get your hands on for your situation,
whether it be for health, depression, parenting, asking for what you want at work, relationships, you name it, there are likely more books, blogs and articles than you can read on the topic.
- Join a Facebook or local support group – a support network of people that understand and are working towards similar goals is such a great motivator and will help you through difficult times.
- Acknowledge that there is not a single answer or solution. Also, a solution that works for one person may not work for another. Seek multiple opinions, learn from the varied experiences of others in similar situations and weigh different alternatives, but at the end of the day find a solution that works for YOU! Only you know what will make you happy.
- See a therapist – A therapist can be life-changing for those struggling with relationship problems, health issues, past traumas and more. Going to a therapist is a huge step for most people as it requires them to admit they have a problem and also talk about it with someone they’ve never met. It often carries a stigma that one is “crazy” if to have a therapist, but this is far from the truth. The majority of people that see therapists are probably everyday people like you and I, struggling with life’s curve balls.
- Get a mentor – If you are having problems at work, a mentor is an excellent way to gain insight into ways that you can improve the situation. Look for someone that has done what you want to do or that has some knowledge that you think would help you accomplish your goals and ask them to be your mentor. That’s it. Just ask. Most likely they will be flattered and say yes, especially if you have a specific thing you want to work on rather than a vague request. If they say no, don’t get discouraged, just ask someone else. It will be easier than you think to find someone willing to help.
- Use affirmations – declarations such as the ones I use for my mottoes mentioned above, or things like “I deserve to be happy”, “I deserve to be loved”, “I am the right person for that job”, etc. They might sound hokey, but they can be a source of unexpected strength.
- Try a Paleo or Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. Exercise. Even if it’s a relationship problem, mental health issues or self-image that you’re struggling with. Eating well and getting your body in a healthier state is conducive to clearer thoughts, greater well being and a more positive attitude. Don’t discount the importance of this. Just by making dietary changes, you might find yourself happier and lighter of being, which should trickle into other aspects of your life.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you revert to your old tendencies. If you fall off the wagon, so to speak, pick yourself up and try again. Sometimes it means removing that temptation as much as possible from your sphere (when it comes to food you shouldn’t eat, for example – don’t even have it in the house!) or enlisting someone to help.
- Remind yourself that it may take multiple changes to reach your end result. In fact, breaking up the plan into several smaller changes may be easier for you to handle, with a higher probability of success in the end than it might if you tackled the whole problem from the start.
- You may find that your desired state changes as you get closer to it. Be flexible and welcome new ideas as they come to you. If you feel that what you first wanted is no longer the case, know that you have the power to adapt. No one is holding you to that original goal but you.
- Don’t forget the adage, “fake it til you make it”. If you want to be more bold, for example, try it on for size. Be more bold on the outside even if you’re not feeling it on the inside. You may realize it’s easier than you think. Also, our behaviors become ingrained in us as habits (ruts), which often require drastic deviations from the norm to modify.
- Acknowledge the difficulties, but don’t let them hold you back. You DO have the power to make changes for the better if you put your heart and mind to the task.
- Know that you are not alone. Every desire or issue that we experience has most likely been experienced in some fashion by thousands of others, possibly by millions. They may have even blogged about it, written a book or provide therapeutic support to others in the same condition. At the very least they may be willing to talk to you and share their experiences. Help is out there if only you take that step to find it.Thank goodness for the internet! Support and answers may be at your very fingertips!
- and finally, remember… tomorrow is another day. Undesirable situations often take a long time to reach the point where they makes you unhappy, therefore making changes also are going to take time. Remember you don’t need to solve it today. You only need to take steps towards your end goal. These small steps will build momentum and help motivate you to continue. Before you know it, wham! You’ve done it and the accomplishment will feel wonderful! Until then, don’t give up!
No one is perfect, least of all me. Although I wanted to share with you some things that have helped me over the years, life is always shifting and my desires often shift along with it. I’ve had great success over the years taking ownership of what I want out of life and going after it, but I’m only human. There are some stubborn issues that even today I struggle to overcome. All I can do is take my own advice by keep trying, taking baby steps when possible and reminding myself that I hold the power to make changes for the better in my own life. As you do in yours.