By Barton Goldsmith Tribune News Service
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Barton Goldsmith, author of the "Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness A Habit One Little Loving Thing At A Time" challenges readers to ask themselves some tough questions to evaluate what can make their lives better personally and professionally.
Tribune News Service
When you learn how to ask yourself the right questions, you immediately become empowered. This is not an easy thing to learn, but it is pretty simple. Here are a few questions to get you started.
What did you used to be good at? Revisiting things that you did as a child or teenager can help you get inspired, strengthen your brain, and even relieve depression and anxiety. If you played a little guitar back in the day, pick it up again. Did you like to paint but don't want to go out and buy the art supplies you'd need to become the next Rembrandt? Try an adult coloring book. It's fun and a little meditative when you color in mandalas. This is not about getting in touch with your inner child but about relearning what made you great and using that energy to be great again. At anything.
What is the step you are avoiding? Any success, even on an interpersonal level, requires some risk. If you are avoiding taking that next step, calling it procrastination is just being self-defeating or even making an excuse for what can be seen as a simple flaw. The real truth is that you may be too scared to move, and that's only human, but it also can be changed. Once you realize what you are afraid of, you can say, "Damn the torpedoes," and put yourself out there where you belong. That's better than never having tried, and if you try once, you can do it again.
Where did you go right? In some situations, and with some people, it can be hard to see what you did well when things didn't go the way you planned. For example, if your relationship ended, you may only see all the things you did wrong, and while it's wise to look at those actions, it's also good not to focus too hard on them. Make yourself see the actions you took that were good for you and the one you loved. This can be tough to do, especially when a loss is new, but it is so important to your healing and your growth. You will choose more wisely the next time.
What changes should you make? While we all know what we have to do to be healthier (I should be writing this on a treadmill), figuring out what will make us happier may be more complicated, but there are always steps you can take. These steps usually involve changing in some way. It will help if you learn to embrace change, but that being said, you need to feel the fear and do it anyway. Change is the only constant in the universe, so rather than wait for it to happen to you, be proactive and do what you need to do.
What can you do to help? Being involved is a great healer for you and for those whose lives you touch with your time, talent, or treasure. Locally or globally, if you lend your influence and energy to things that will improve the well-being of humankind, you will create a brand new stream to your heart. Regardless of how you value yourself, this will make you feel better and increase your sense of self-worth.
Learning to ask yourself real questions is one of the best ways to keep your life on track, your goals in perspective, and your heart from being broken. It's amazing how things clear up when you get real with yourself. ___ (Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.")