Do you know someone who complains all the time, blames everyone else for her problems, and will tell even the clerk in the checkout line just how lousy her life is?
Well, what if that person was you? Paula Renaye knows exactly how that feels.
“I didn’t realize it at the time, of course, and honestly, no one does,” she said. “But I was that whiner. I complained incessantly about how horrible things were for me, how none of it was my fault and that there was absolutely nothing I could do to change it. And I was convinced I was right.”
Then one day, after she’d sung her same old song of ‘poor me’ to her best friend, the friend paused and said, “Isn’t it great that for the rest of your life, no matter who you tell that story to, they’ll say ‘you poor thing.’ And you, my friend, can be a victim forever.”
“It stopped me in my tracks,” Renaye said. “It was definitely a defining moment, and I couldn’t get mad about it because I knew it was true.”
“Choosing the hard-line approach to self-improvement takes courage,” Renaye said. “It’s hard to take that first look in the mirror and not blink. But it’s absolutely essential. It’s also critical to remember that while this is about facing hard truths, it’s not about beating ourselves up over where we are in this moment. We’ve all made plenty of mistakes, and if we had time machines we’d probably go back for some do-overs. But we can’t, and keeping our shame and guilt fresh just keeps us stuck, feeling guilty and ashamed, which serves no one.”
Renaye calls part of her method the “Stick and Carrot” formula.
The Stick – Denial + Delusion = Long-Term Increasing Pain. If you keep ignoring reality and continue to create delusions so you can live in denial, your pain will get worse. Even though it may give you the illusion of relief in the short term, reality always pops up and things go bad. At some point, one of two things will happen: you’ll either reach your personal threshold tolerance for pain and snap like a twig; or you’ll give up and become sad and bitter, blaming others and perpetually complaining to anyone who’ll listen.
The Carrot – Self Respect + Action = Joy. Freeing yourself from an unhappy situation will not only relieve you of that internal turmoil but will also clear a space for joy that you can’t have now because your energy is focused on avoiding pain. Once you make friends with reality, reclaim your self-respect and do what you need to do, you’ll be amazed at how good you feel and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. You’ll also be amazed at how much time there is for fun and happiness since your world no longer revolves around how you can fix or spin your unhappy situation. In your new reality, you don’t need a spin doctor to make things “seem” okay, because you’ll be living in and enjoying every moment.
“Unfortunately, until we’re forced, most of us stay right where we are, tolerating what we know we need to change and making excuses for why we can’t,” she added. “The bottom line is whatever you find yourself continually complaining about, either make changes or admit you don’t want to and shut up about it. It’s the only way to get what you really want, which is to be happy.”