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166 Don't Outsource Your Happiness

by Claudine Sweeney
February 2nd 2023

Is your happiness dependent on others or your circumstances? When life isn't playing by your expectations does it affect your mood? Most of us do this. Today we talk about how to experience more ha... More

You're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches, we now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So, tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright, This is the Rise up and Shine podcast. Hello listeners, I have a question for you to begin, do you ever wake up in the morning feeling relaxed, calm, happy, then you start your day, you go downstairs maybe and then maybe there's a mean comment said or a careless comment or maybe someone's passing the blame onto you. Maybe you interact with a wilful teenager and all of a sudden all that calm and happiness disappears and that's what we're going to talk about today about not outsourcing our happiness because so often the actions that other people are taking affect our happiness and we need to remember that when we let other people do the job of controlling our happiness, we lose our ability to live a happy and fulfilling life ever happened to you, Ashley?

Yes, but you know, I was actually, I was kind of stuck on the part where when we wake up feeling good and refreshed and happy and it's sometimes it's been a while because you know when you have young kids and especially being a stay at home mom and you know, you're, it's like you wake up in the morning, Oh, here we go ahead. Yeah, so but yeah, I've had the moments going through the day where, you know, I'm all ready to be positive and happy and it's gonna be great, you know, kind of like birds chirping rainbows and then something happens where it just kind of takes that away. Like I agree. How often do we let other people control our happiness? And that's why we're talking about it today because it's important because I think so many of us do it. Certainly I do did it when my kids were young, now that I'm an empty nester, I still have a husband at home. And so often if he doesn't respond to me in the way I would like him to respond in the morning, it sets me off right.

And all of a sudden I started out happy and peaceful and calm and all of a sudden I'm not feeling it and this is something that's common. So many of us do it and we really can't outsource our happiness, our happiness is not dependent on other people's actions, although I believe a lot of people think that it is, oh, I was just going to say, I think there is that belief that well, someone didn't treat me well or say this or my kids didn't do what I asked them or they, you know, are being defiant and rebellious and we think that's just part of life, you know, but really if you think about it, wait, I am relying on other people to behave a certain way or to speak a certain way or to feel a certain way in order for me to experience happiness. So if you start kind of recognizing that in your day to day interactions, it's kind of mind blowing, wow, I do that all the time because something happens, someone cuts you off on the road or someone said something hurtful to you or your kids didn't do their chores or whatever it is.

And in that moment, think of how are you feeling right now? Am I feeling happy? Am I feeling irritated? My feeling disappointed, let down hurt. Think about what are you feeling and know that you can actually control that how you are feeling? Well, it's so interesting cause we talk all the time that our circumstances do not create our emotions right? And when other people say careless comment or cut us off on the road or all the things we've mentioned, what happens is we internalize those actions, we observe them and then we attach a meaning to it and we internalize them meaning. We make it personal. And then all of a sudden now we have a story that creates our unhappiness right? Or that we think takes away our happiness. But really it's still our interpretation of the observation or whatever. We just saw. It really has nothing to do with our emotions other than the meaning. We give to it. There's so much that we want to control and we've heard it said control your emotions don't let your emotions control you, but we live so much on default.

We don't actually take intention to see that happening in our own lives. I know I didn't, you know, I was just a what happened? I would feel b then C happened, whether that was maybe an argument with my husband or you know, then we just shut down and didn't talk for a few hours or whatever it is. But if we understand that things are just going to happen and we cannot control other people, we can't control how other people feel what other people say what they do, then that will be the start of being able to change this, right. And really recognizing when you do it, outsourcing is such a powerful word when we put that on to outsourcing my happiness and it makes you just think a little bit deeper do I do that and just kind of notice it throughout your day, and different relationships even and me being covering codependent people pleaser. This was a big one that I had to learn right, because I was especially when I would do something for someone that was from my heart and well also attached to that was seeking approval, but I do something nice and maybe it wasn't well received or someone takes offense or it wasn't good enough and then I would in turn just shut down and get super hurt and just feel miserable.

It even depressed at times and how much it really affected my life. But it takes being able to recognize that when we're doing it, just think of that word, outsourcing who do I outsource my happiness and just get curious, curious, Right? That's so important. Well, I love this definition of outsourcing happiness. It's a type of thinking error in which we believe that something outside of ourselves is responsible for our happiness or our well being. And I like that because it is a thinking error and we can correct those errors, right? And really when you look at it, when you think about unhappy people are waiting for something or someone to make them happy, right? And when we understand that we have the power to make ourselves happy, then nothing can stop us even a careless comment or an interruption or you know, all the things that so often we want to blame for our unhappiness. They really don't have the power over us unless we give it the power.

Yeah. I remember having a conversation with a good friend of mine and it was a lot of conversations about my marriage, right? And she would tell me why just don't let it bother you. I'm like, I don't like that. What do you mean? Just it's that simple. Just don't let it bother you. And for her she kind of learned it right. She's learned over the years. But for me I had no idea that that was one possible for me at least especially being a people pleaser and just not wanting to disappoint. But I did not think of as possible. And of course I had no idea how to do it. How do I just not let something bother me? But that makes no sense to my brain now it does now that we have all the coaching tools. It totally does. So some of the consequences about sourcing our happiness include becoming depressed and detached, blaming everyone else for our problems. We won't take responsibility of our actions, we give other people and circumstances the power and we will just always have bad days because we're giving it to other people or circumstances to make us happy.

So therefore we're not in control of our own happy days. What you said a little bit earlier was really important and I wanted to shot it just really resonated with me because this is what I had to learn. This was my aha moment that I gave other people the power and expected that it was their responsibility for my happiness. And so and that just again, it took me some time just soaking in that thought and that idea before anything could ever change, right? I mean it's not like an easy fix. Like well I'm just going to decide not to let this bother me and I'm going to be happy no matter what, right? And we also don't want to get apathetic and or anxious. That was another one on my list. But just be curious, just think about it. You know, I mean when I do this, how do I feel and have I essentially given over the power to other people or circumstances for my happiness and my well being. That was a huge one. I mean think about even just your well being, that's your overall how you're feeling about yourself, your belief about yourself.

That was huge. But that was a big aha moment. Like wow, I essentially handed over power to somebody else and let them be in control or in charge of how I feel and think about that. I mean if you really again just sit and dwell on that a little bit and you think, what do I do this and just try to take notice in your relationships and just day to day and just, it's very fascinating in your relationships. That's a really powerful point because I look back and I think in my first years of marriage many years, I'd say I expect my husband to be the source of my happiness and anyone who's married knows that that is not always true, but I would blame him if I was unhappy. It was definitely his fault. Like he was falling short whether he didn't treat me the way I wanted to be treated or he didn't behave in the way I wanted him to behave, right, he didn't meet my expectations. So then I was unhappy and I really blamed him for so much of my unhappiness and I don't even think it was conscious, some of it was that some of it was so unconscious.

So then you respond, I mean if you feel someone's responsible for your happiness and they're not doing their part, then most of us respond in a way of pulling back or you know, it's not a loving place to come from, it's like I'm going to hold back, I'm going to build a wall around, right? I'm going to retaliate exactly. So I look at that in our relationships and then even with our Children when they're small and little they're so joyful for most of the time for most of it. You know, they're just joyful, happy little creatures and then they grow older in their teenagers and they start to push back and all of a sudden they pushed back a lot earlier than that though these days. Okay, Isn't that what the terrible Yes, but once you get over there over that little hump but really there's a much bigger mountain to push back in the teen years, not with all Children, I mean we had four, some of them pushed back more than others. But it's funny when you first experience it as a parent because it really can rob you of your happiness when your Children start rebelling or pushing back or making decision that are out of line with the family values.

And so again, I threw so many years before I had these tools before I had this knowledge, I struggled with my happiness levels because I was outsourcing it. I was expecting other people to behave and act in certain ways. That would make me happy instead of owning 100% my responsibility for my own happiness. And now it's amazing because now that I've taken ownership of it, I can be as happy as I Choose to be each and every single day and I don't live in 100% happiness because there are times of exactly all emotions are part of the human experience, but I do have the power and the choice to choose to be happy. Even one thing I've kind of been catching myself lately is feeling like I do so much for my kids or my family and they're not appreciating it. It's like if I just ask you to do your chores and you're all upset and pushing back on doing your chores. Do you know all the things I do for you? Funny story I actually told my husband today, I said you know what we should do maybe since we're all home, you and I don't clean up after ourselves at all.

And then at like two o'clock we say, okay guys, you need to clean up the kitchen and you need to clean up the living room and then they'll complain that, but it's not my mess. Oh, oh, is it not to teach a little lesson? Is that wrong? Yeah, that's an interesting take. I should have tried that years ago. Never did. But we do. We even outsourced to our Children, right? We have certain expectations. Our spouse, coworkers, siblings, parents, everybody. So when we realize that we're doing that, then we can take that power back because that's essentially what we want. We want to be empowered women, We don't want to be powerless. So this is a huge take on it. This is a huge thing you could do to be more empowered and take that responsibility. And when we say take responsibility, that's not an easy thing to hear. I should take responsibility for this. That's hard. I mean don't beef fooled and think that, oh, that's just so easy to do. It is hard to take responsibility because we don't want to always acknowledge that we're in the wrong or maybe I'm not doing something very well or right.

But if we do in a loving graceful way right and give ourselves self compassion and self love and, and I understand that hey, I can take responsibility for this and I can choose how I want to feel and not fixate on what other people are doing or not doing or how other people are treating me speaking to me and that's huge because we prolong our suffering. We've talked about that in previous episodes. We prolong our suffering emotions come and go, right, just like the waves of the ocean they come and they go. But if we keep fixating on the hurt or the disappointment, we're going to keep feeling that feeling right over and over and over and we just prolong that and it steals our happiness. Absolutely. Well, actually, let's share some practical with our listeners and I'll start with number one, which is acknowledging that circumstances and other people are not responsible for our happiness.

I know we've been talking about it, but really acknowledge it. I mean really believe that that they are not responsible for our happiness and that it is our thoughts about the circumstance or that person's behavior that create the emotions. And I have a really great exam this many years ago, I was leading a small group of women and one of the moms was in tears because her child had gotten a C on their report card. And she created this whole story that her child would not get into a good college and would not get a good job and that their life was going to be over because they received a C on their report card. And at that time I had a child who if they had gotten to see, I would have been very excited, it would have been exciting to me like, yes, it's passing grade and I just remember being so impacted by her reaction. Like this was creating her so much suffering like you said and all it was the circumstance was child received a C.

Grade and the meeting she attached to it became so big and so negative that fearful, fearful that it caused her to the point of tears. So certainly she was outsourcing her happiness. Meanwhile for me had my child received a C. The meaning I would attached would have been great job way we're passing ye and I wouldn't have attached this meaning of future failure and once I learned tools through life coaching that our circumstances do not create our emotions. That story was so powerful to me because it just it happened years before and I just remembered that and I'm like it's true our circumstances are neutral. It just depends on the story the meaning that we attach to it. A C grade is just a C grade. In fact it's not even failing, it's just average. But this mom had created such a story to it that it stole her happiness and created a lot of suffering stayed with me and think about how much happiness of ours gets stolen.

Even just going on facebook or instagram or Pinterest and seeing all these, wow look at how beautiful wow look what they made. Oh wow. Look how put together they look look at this amazing vacation there A lot of stories that I can put to those things like, well I don't get to go into my kids and I don't, my circumstances aren't there circumstances well we know that comparison joy, we've talked about that. Yeah, so number one acknowledge that your circumstances and other people are not responsible for your happiness huge. And again, as we mentioned earlier in this episode, just bi curious, bi curious, you know, last one we have second and final is find things that make you happy that don't rely or depend on others outside of you because again, as we said, we can fall into that outsourcing trap again because it's so ingrained in our brain that we're just going to keep going back to the same habits. So once we are aware and we work on that, then just find things and incorporate things that make you happy, that for you, it could be self care and there's so many various ways to self care that can be having boundaries, that could be one for me was even being able to say, no, it was a skill I had to learn, I had to learn to not just do do do for others because it wasn't coming from a place of love, even it was coming from a place of seeking approval or fear of rejection and so just being aware of that being able to say no.

So asking yourself what are things that make me happy that just bring a little bit more happiness, it could be even right now it's raining, it's been here, we've been sitting by the fire reading or watching a movie as a family, those kinds of things bring me happiness that it's not dependent on what's going on. If one of my Children doesn't want to watch the movie, I'm not going to get all heard about it like well that's okay, we're all sitting here and watching the movie by the fire. I'm Going to be happy watching this is powerful because as an empty nester, these are things I had to rediscover because for 25 years everything revolved around my Children willingly. So and happily so and so their sports, their activities brought us a lot of joy and a lot of happiness. I loved going to my kids sporting events, it was fun, there was Camaraderie with the other parents, it was getting out of the house and doing something. So when they grew up and they were all moved out all of a sudden I had to sit and think what is it that makes me happy just me because for so long I decide yeah, I had to rediscover, its like there were foods, I loved that no one else in my family like, so I would never make them for dinner because I'm not going to make two dinners a night, so I just never ate it.

So once they were grown I'm like well wait now I can make this and my husband can either eat or he could make him sound something different. But I mean I had to rediscover those things and what does make me happy and that sounds so easy. It sounds like everyone should know this, right? But if you've spent decades taking care of others and putting their needs typically as moms, that's what we do put their needs before are so often. It was quite an interesting time to rediscover what makes me happy. And you know, I love things like going to beach now. I'm in northern California. So that's not really something that happens a whole lot here. But we have bodies of water. We have lakes and rivers. But when we lived in southern California, I'd go for a drive just to the beach just even whether I got out of the car, not just to see the ocean that made me so happy. Certain music, you know, certain foods, spending time with my friends, which now I had more time to do because my kids were grown. So yeah, really figuring out what makes you happy. It sounds easy. But if you're a mom and if you've been mommy for many years and have put their needs before your own, it is an exercise worthy one.

But it is an exercise and that's why it's important to even if your kids are still at home to have that self care or find those things now that you can incorporate in your life, it's not going to be, you definitely don't want to have that mentality that oh well when the kids are gone, I get to do all this again. You definitely don't want to wait. There's a movie I watched, Oh Trip to Paradise or was it with George, Clooney and Julia roberts and she says, why do the good things have to wait? And I thought that was so great because we can put things off oh well later or not right now or we're too busy or all this. But if we can incorporate some of those things that we really enjoy and bring us some happiness now, then awesome. And it might not look like what we expect it to look like, it might be small things here and there. But find those things that you do truly value and that give you those warm fuzzies, I like that. The warm fuzzies. Yes. So hopefully my friends, you guys have gotten something out of this and just remember that your happiness is an inside job.

Don't assign anyone else that much power over your life and think of the things that make you happy and what you look forward to every day. So you can rise up and shine and live your best life yet until next time, take care. Alright, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the rise up and shine podcast if you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button so you never miss an episode. And while you're at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at Mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.

166 Don't Outsource Your Happiness
166 Don't Outsource Your Happiness
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