It is important to realise that based on each individual’s life experiences, passions, likes and dislikes, family upbringing and culture, we have each developed different priorities in our life. Some priorities we are aware of and some we are not.
For instance, while I may find "having fun" a priority, someone else may find, "getting things done" a priority. In relationships with others, it is important to be aware of each other priorities and what they see as a sacrifice.
Couples often argue about money. One may say, we should spend our money because we need to enjoy it and you only live once! You could get hit by a car the next day or get ill and you can’t wait until retirement to enjoy your money. While the other partner may say, we need to have savings first before we travel. We need money for retirement. If we make sacrifices when we are young, we’ll have more for later. These two opposing views could lead to many arguments at home.
So, how do we resolve different priorities from others?
First, it is to be aware that everyone comes to their thoughts and options based on their culture, upbringing, and life experiences. Therefore, sacrifices need to be based on the individual. What may be easy for you, isn't what’s easy for someone else. It may be easy for you to give up your leisure time to drive your kids to all of their activities. It might not be that easy for someone else.
When you have a disagreement in relationship to someone else, ask them or try to find out what is a priority for them and find a compromise that will work for the both of you.
For me, I place my exercise as a priority. So much so that I wake up at 5am to get to the gym 4-5x/wk for 6am. I understand that not everyone does this. They may have a different routine or work out late at night or work early that does not allow for this. While it’s a small sacrifice for me, it’s hard for others and I am aware of this. So, when I recommend exercise to my patients, I need to figure out their priorities before making recommendations for better follow through.
Next time you’re in an argument with someone else, ask yourself do we simply have different priorities? Or Am I weighing my sacrifices against theirs, which is not fair as they do not have my same life experiences.
When an event happens to us, we tend to label it good or bad. I.e. a relationship ended, a new job, financial trouble, health issue, etc. Based on how we label something, we will experience emotions and take actions accordingly.
Different emotions will lead to correspondingly different actions. Different actions will lead to a different life. The quality of your life will be determined by the quality of your thinking and your actions.
If we were to label a relationship breakup bad, then we might take actions to prevent us from getting into the same situation again or might take it out on the next person we meet.
Instead of labelling something good or bad, we can ask: how can I evolve from this? This isn’t a “always think positive” kind of question. We still want to acknowledge if something didn’t go as we planned. I.e. getting sick, laid off, etc. However, we also want to examine what else we can learn and grow from our experience.
I had a patient who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her life before breast cancer was as a lawyer who worked 80 hours a week, rarely saw her family and was always busy doing something. Due to her diagnosis, she ended up slowing down, changing the field of her law practice into something she was passionate about and spending more time with her family and friends that were important to her.
On the other side of her diagnosis, she often said that her breast cancer was a turning point in her life. She evolved and learned from her experience and in the end, evolved through the life challenge. She says she’s never had a better outlook on her life than now and she no longer does things out of obligation but because she wants to. That is a life well lived!
Ask yourself: how can I evolve from this situation?
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Is it more important to be consistent over time or to do things with great intensity? Similar to the old fable of the tortoise and the hare, consistency wins out over the long term.
Let’s take working out for example. If you go consistently 3x/wk for a year you could develop more skills and take your time learning proper exercises versus if you went to the gym 1/month and worked out 5 hours each time you went. The body, as with life, enjoys routine and being consistent.
If you were to transfer consistency to business or work, showing up every day over long periods of time, would get you further than showing up once in awhile and working like crazy. It is often seen in the newer stages of a business that founders will work crazy hours at first until it’s not sustainable anymore and either crash, give up or close their business.
It’s not to say that at times, we won't need bursts of intensity where we may have more activities that need our attention. It’s simply not sustainable over a long period of time.
Sustainability is key! Even in change, when you want to change a habit or routine or another pathway from your nervous system to your body, you can’t simply do things once or twice. You been to be consistent and do things multiple times until they become a part of your physiology and then the habit becomes a sustainable habit. Think learning to ride a bike.
If you find yourself going crazy with your to-do lists and doing a million things at a time, ask yourself, is this sustainable? Then re-think your priorities and think long term.
"Everyone gives what he has. The warrior gives strength, the merchant gives merchandise, the teacher teachings, the farmer rice, the fisher fish."
"Yes indeed. And what is it now what you've got to give? What is it that you've learned, what are you able to do?"
"I can think. I can wait. I can fast."
"I believe, that's everything!"
"And what's the use of that? For example, the fasting-- what is it good for?"
“"It is very good, sir. When a person has nothing to eat, fasting is the smartest thing he could do. When, for example, Siddhartha hadn't learned to fast, he would have to accept any kind of service before this day is up, whether it may be with you or wherever, because hunger would
force him to do so. But like this, Siddhartha can wait calmly, he knows no impatience, he knows no emergency, for a long time he can allow hunger to besiege him and can laugh about it. This, sir, is what fasting is good for."
So, what is it that you have to give? What abilities do you possess that others can learn from?
One of my qualities is that I am dedicated. I wake up 5x a week and go to the gym. I’ve been doing this for years and years. This dedication has allowed me to keep my body fit and strong.
I am dedicated to my meditation for which I’ve been practicing for years. This has allowed me to have moments of peace in my mind.
I am dedicated to learning and to my practice. This has allowed me to continuously learn and also give my best to my patients.
Write a list of 5 of your best qualities and see what you have learned through them. If you have trouble, you can ask me for some or people who know you well.
This blog was written a few months ago and I've come to appreciate it even more....
I have been in quite some pain for the past 2 days. I had been fighting a cough and 2 nights ago, I was lying in bed and I coughed and felt a pop in one of my ribs and then intense stabbing pain. My first instinct was to scream and wake up my husband to take me to the hospital. For those that know me, I don't take going to the hospital lightly. It was 3am. I then gave myself a few minutes of lying there to assess the damage before I decided to do anything else. Talk about life deciding to stop me in my tracks.
Once the initial pain started to subside, and now that I was awake, I got to thinking how this could happen. I am 8 months pregnant which means my body is releasing lots of relaxin to get my body ready for childbirth. This causes loose muscle and ligaments, making you more susceptible to injury. That was on the scientific level. On the emotional and mental side, I knew it was my body’s way of slowing me down and getting me to take a break.
Lying down was the worst position for me so I walked around which helped, meditated propped up on pillows and even had time to journal. By then, I had already decided to clear my day and focus on rest and healing.
The next day, I was able to call a friend and doctor to further assess my ribs for a home visit. I am so grateful that they were able to come. I felt better after her visit but was still in intense pain each time I coughed.
I managed to get a nap in, not cook or do the other million things I would normally do but just rest. I talked to friends on the phone and enjoyed a visit from my friend and rested the entire day.
When I went into work the next day, I was able to get taped up by the physiotherapist and use other modalities available for healing at the office. Once again, so much gratitude to have the tools I need to speed up the recovery process.
Even in the midst of pain, there are opportunities for gratitude.
Dr. Amanda is a non-traditional chiropractor who focuses on Neuro-Optimization in Ottawa, Canada.