Hey guys, welcome back to the Finding Clarity Series! This post is perhaps the most important one for me, so give it a chance to really work for you.
Remember this: you get out what you put in.
The important book that helped me with this part of my journey was The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson. The book isn’t as it sounds, trust me! It’s about getting rid of the mental clutter of things you just don’t need to care about so you can finally focus on the things that actually matter for you personally (your values, health, loved ones etc.).
This part of the finding clarity journey is crucial for:
- Not seeking outside validation anymore
- Less comparison
- Celebrating yourself
- Intentional living
- Authentic living
What are the pillars, the floor work, the grounding for which you live your life? Where your decision making, sense of success and happiness, self-worth and aspirations are born? Are they sturdy foundations? Did you lay the bricks yourself or did someone else? Are their cracks, leaks, missing pieces? Is it time for restructuring?
How can you change your life or build great things or grow tall and awesome, if you don’t address and stabilise your rocky foundations first? Even if the new methods you’re implementing (working out, meditating, writing 1k a day towards your novel) works for a while, it’s doomed to fail eventually or not make you feel as good as you’d like because your ideas behind the whole thing come from a bad place.
You’re doing what you’re doing for the wrong reasons.
Let’s dive in…
Outline the wrong metrics
As with the other elements of this series, we must become aware of how we’ve been going wrong/out of alignment so far. This isn’t about judgement, blame, guilt, shame or hatred. You are working on yourself and reshaping your mindset, that takes time and awareness of what’s not working right now.
To help you, here (briefly) are some ideas of wrong metrics for success and happiness that I’ve had:
- Intelligence = a good grades, top of the class, proving others wrong, reading impressive books, knowing the answers, getting references and complex concepts…
- Creativity = writing every day, other people liking my work, completing at least one manuscript every year, publishing
- Happiness & Future Success = a future where I’m making a lot of money, am a published author and have an awesome family in a big house
No, no, no!
You see how I have set myself up to fail here? To hurt and be disappointed? Healthy values and metrics shouldn’t be so rigid, focused in this way, or external…
Taken from Mark Manson’s book:
“Values to avoid:
Always being right
Good values are:
2. Socially constructive
3. Immediate and controllable
Bad values are:
2. Socially destructive
3. Not immediate or controllable
Good values include:
Honesty, vulnerability, self-respect, curiosity, charity, humility, creativity
Good healthy values are achieved internally.”
And as Brene Brown says, “Put down the measuring stick even in this culture that uses acquisitions and accomplishments to assess worth.”
Your values, as seen from the previous post, should be more wholehearted than being external, uncontrollable, centred around the material, outside validation, being perfect or other.
Exploring healthier metrics
Here, you need to have a keen awareness of when you feel good. Yeah, you probably feel good from a good grade on your assignment, but truly, it’s because you worked hard on it and that was valued. However, with good values and the right metrics, you can feel good from a decent grade, purely because you know that you worked hard and that is the metric, that is the value.
Let me explain with my own…
I broke my metrics and values down into categories for exploration, first:
- Physical Health
- Financial Health
- Emotional and Mental Health
- Communication and Connection
I then explored each one deeply to redefine a healthier way to measure what success looks like for each and what would/should make me feel happy in that area.
Rather than measuring my relationships by the metrics of never arguing and all skipping through a meadow together (unrealistic, uncontrollable because we’re all emotion-filled human beings who are flawed). Instead, I said things like mutual respect, boundaries, unconditional love, support system, belonging, joy, etc.
I wrote out my paragraphs with the following guidelines:
In relationships (finances, mental health, selfhood, creativity etc.) I value XYZ.
If I X, Y, and Z then I have succeeded in this area.
This way, I know how I can do well in each area, and also see where I have let myself down in any area and can improve next time.
Here’s my breakdown for Emotional and Mental Health:
I value good, clear intentions and awareness.
- Mindful and consciously aware of thoughts and feelings
- Explore and attend to them without judgment and with compassion
- Use my journal, books, and other people to help with difficulties
- Keep up regular practices for clarity and awareness (journal, meditate, mindfulness, energising activity, reading, yoga, etc.)
It is good to get specific and controllable. For example, I have the choice to move towards learning and growth with my studies or my writing or I can say to myself “No, you’re not good enough because you didn’t get an A or you didn’t write a whole chapter.”
Yes, I control what I write, but I can’t control what grade I get.
What you do and how valuable and worthy and loved you are should not be the same thing. Whether I write a chapter or not, I am worthy. Therefore, I don’t want this sort of thing to be listed as a metric for me to follow for my value of creativity.
Self-compassion and self-awareness should inform your decisions here. Be fair, realistic, and honest. For me, with my new metrics, I’m very much focused on growth and learning, kindness and fairness, good communication and connection over trying to be productive, perfect, and proving myself to others like I used to strive for and hold myself up to.
Your metrics and your values should always be self-worth focused. What makes you feel worthy? What helps you to realise that you always were?
Watch out for the following…
Never enough and scarcity
Brene Brown is the queen in this topic and the following one. Her books (listed on the resources post I will share later on in the weeks) really try to make us understand that our world, our culture, breeds a scarcity mindset. That there’s not enough for all of us, that we are not enough to be worthy, that we must chase and hustle and strive for value.
You actually get to decide what is enough for you and your life. You free yourself by doing so. Tell yourself that it’s okay and you have succeeded in your relationships, for example, because you reached out to that person and told them you love them. That you’re enough in your finances because you have paid the bills, fed your family, and put a little into savings. It’s not about abundance (having loads and loads in infinite amounts)…
Brene says the opposite of scarcity isn’t abundance, it’s ENOUGH.
Again, Brene holds the crown for this one. She is first and foremost a shame researcher. We all feel shame, especially when we fail to reach our own or other people’s expectations. When we don’t measure up.
Don’t have a university degree? You’re not valuable, you don’t belong, you should be ashamed…
Don’t have children? You’re not valuable, you don’t belong, you should be ashamed…
This comes down to old agreements of what life should look like, what you should do, who you should be. I give you permission now to say f* you to that! Society, your parents, your teachers or whoever don’t get to shame you anymore. They don’t get to decide what is worthy.
You are worthy, in all your imperfections, whatever you decide to do in life, and whoever you want to be (except killers and rapists and all that, which should go without saying, surely…)
Validation and other people’s measuring sticks
And of course, as I’ve said, don’t measure yourself by other people’s standards. Let them have their own values, their own measuring sticks. If they find worth, success and happiness from a million dollars and five kids, so be it. If they find it from living in a caravan and growing their own vegetables, so be it.
Be someone who doesn’t take other people’s lifestyles are a criticism of your own. We all get to decide what is best for us. What success and happiness looks like for each of us.
No one is better than another.
I for one want to set myself free and finally feel a greater sense of peace and clarity by living by metrics that are less restrictive and therefore make me less of a failure each day!
I want to have things that are on-going, progressive, loving, kind, gentle, fair, growth and learning-based. Less fixed because goals can be ticked off and then what? No, always just grow and value the journey. I want to choose life, make decisions, and be me from a better point of view.
I hope you do, too.
I’ll shed light on more of these things in the next few posts. Check back next week.
Download and check out my workbooks and journal prompts to help you dive deeper and analyse your beliefs and emotions.