A few people have been asking me the very reasonable question of whether my daring deeds are making me feel happier and more confident. The answer is, I don’t know. Right now, they’re making me feel tired.
But on the whole it’s been good.
The main benefit has been that I don’t have time to over-analyse little things as I normally do. I wake up every morning and think ‘God, what is it today?’ (It’s karaoke tonight) and just get on with it. Well, sort of. I panic a bit but it’s getting less with each day.
Last week parallel parking was freaking me out but compared to getting your kit off for strangers, it’s a breeze. I’ve noticed little changes too: I’ve been sending off important emails in seconds, instead of faffing for hours as I usually do.
Jeffers says that everything we do that scares us expands our comfort zone a bit further so that eventually we are doing all sorts of things that we would never have done before.
It’s true that there is a real feeling of exhilaration and power that comes with doing stuff as opposed to talking about stuff (my usual approach). However, there is one area I’m still struggling with…
I’m still avoiding the affirmations/positive thinking side of things that Susan Jeffers says is crucial. I tried listening to an affirmation recording this morning and I lost patience. It was telling me to be grateful for the chair I sit in, the fridge that stores my food, the stove that makes my meals… it said that ‘Appliances are like people, they need love too…’ Huh?! There was then a line saying that if you love your car it won’t break down? WTF?!
I’m all for gratitude – and that’s a whole movement in itself, focusing every day on what you’re grateful for is proven to boost happiness levels – but I can’t quite bring myself to love my fridge. But maybe that makes me heartless. Is that why I’m single? Am I dead inside?!
I listened to another set of affirmations last night focussed on the body. ‘You’re eliminating perfectly,’ said a woman’s robotic Californian drawl, over plinky-plonky music. So there! Going to the loo is the secret to happiness.
However there are two phrases that go around in my head nearly all day and which I think will be with me for life. And I’m sorry if I’m going on about these too much (think I’ve written about them in an earlier post) but I really think they help.
They are Susan Jeffers’ favourites: ‘It’s all happening perfectly’ and ‘Say yes to the universe.’
IT’S ALL HAPPENING PERFECTLY
‘It’s all happening perfectly’ is a brilliant one. By nature I am somebody who constantly thinks she’s f*cked things up and I will go over and over in my head how things would have gone better if I’d just done something differently.
This little phrase ‘It’s all happening perfectly’ undoes that. Jeffers says that whatever is happening, even if it feels like everything is going tits up or that you’ve messed it up – you haven’t.
She believes in a big picture where everything happens for a reason. Often things don’t happen the way we want them to but we can learn from every situation.
My mum thinks this is ‘deluded’ but if it makes you feel better so what? I’ve spent half my life beating myself up for things I have or haven’t done and that doesn’t make the world a better place.
This little phrase, on the other hand, lets me take a deep breath and surrender. What will be will be.
SAY YES TO THE UNIVERSE
‘Say yes to the universe’ is a very similar idea. Again it’s a way of just accepting what’s happening and not fighting it. So when Susan Jeffers had cancer she said ‘Yes’ to it. Sounds weird but she realised she could either be consumed by anger and fear, or accept it. She then learnt everything she could re nutrition and treatments and embraced all the lessons and love that came her way through the experience. She then said that it was one of most important periods in her life.
On a smaller scale you could say ‘Yes to the universe’ if you’re stuck in traffic or your train is delayed. Getting annoyed and frustrated gets you nowhere but say ‘Yes’ and you’ll instantly relax.
I did it the other day when the floods messed up the trains. I was tired and cold and just wanted to be home but I said ‘yes’ to the train delay. The guy next to me started talking to me and instead of brushing him off I talked back. He was a chef and was on his first day off in 10 days. He was working 14-hour shifts in a kitchen that was ‘hot as hell’. He was getting paid a pittance to do it.
He wasn’t saying it in a moaning poor-me way. I think he was just grateful for someone to talk to. He had come to London from Ireland after breaking up with his girlfriend and it had all been a lot harder than he was expecting.
Talking to him reminded me of how easy I have it and how hard a lot of people have to work for very little money. He then went off and came back with two hot chocolates for us. That encounter was the nicest thing to happen to me that day.
The truth is that fighting the bad/annoying/unplanned things that happens is usually a waste of energy. Accept it, say ‘yes’ and go with the flow. That’s when the good stuff happens, says Jeffers.
Alas, I have slightly hi-jacked the phase by making it an excuse to say ‘yes’ to far too many Negronis* on Saturday night and ‘yes’ to too many glasses of red last night. I’m also using as a reason to say ‘yes’ to cake and ‘yes’ to cheesy pasta. Oh well, sod it – it’s all happening perfectly…Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action
*Until Saturday I was unfamiliar with the Negroni cocktail – which you might like to know is made of one part gin, one part vermouth rosso (red, semi- sweet), and one part bitters, traditionally Campari. Very strong but very nice.