Everyone is responsible for their own feelings.

When we tell everyone that they’re “responsible for their own feelings,” we lose something we need desperately in our world: compassion.

I see it time and time again when someone mentions being triggered, or when someone has a hard time dealing with a confrontation. There’s always that one person (or several people) proclaiming, “no one controls your feelings but you.” Or “You’re responsible for your own feelings.” Or they quote Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  And while all that might be true, it ignores one very important factor: the aggressor is responsible for the actions they take, too. And they’re responsible for the consequences of those actions.

Yes, you have some responsibility for how you make people feel.

There have been a couple of times in my life when I was going through a terribly difficult time, and along came the straw that broke the camel’s back. You don’t know what people are going through, and you don’t know if you’re going to be that straw for someone. So treat people with kindness.

True, you don’t have control over other people’s feelings, and you can’t live your life stepping on eggshells in fear of setting someone off. However, that doesn’t give you license to demean others, call them names, and tell them to just deal with the feelings you’re causing. Yes, you do have partial responsibility for how you make people feel. And you should act accordingly.

 

"You're Responsible for Your Own Feelings." But where does compassion come in? www.marianamcdougall.com. In an age of "me first," we need to take responsibility for how we make others feel. BackgPhoto by Rémi Walle on Unsplashround

 

So the next time you feel inclined to tell someone “you’re responsible for your own feelings,” think back to what you have said to that person or what might have been said to them. Consider the history you might not be aware of—how this person might still be working really hard at healing from an abusive relationship. How this person might have a loved one on their deathbed and is especially vulnerable in this moment. How this person needs compassion and unconditional love desperately, and how all you’re giving them is disdain.

Consider how your own self-development journey into being someone who isn’t affected by “triggers” might be playing out for the people around you. It’s great to be strong and “trigger-proof,” but if that makes you someone without compassion and without love for others, was it worth it? Consider that perhaps not everyone is as strong as you. That everyone experiences things differently and is at a different point in their journey. That in the time it takes for you to say, “only you can manage your feelings,” that person may be having physical symptoms from an anxiety disorder, and you’re exacerbating those symptoms with your lack of compassion. And that’s just one example.

Stop judging others for their reaction to events and start offering a listening ear, a “walk a mile in their shoes” attitude, and learn that your way of dealing with things doesn’t have to and never will be everyone’s way.

And most importantly, remember this: people won’t always remember how emotionally strong you were, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Want to leave your mark on this world? Stop belittling those who are still healing from emotional upheaveal and are struggling to not let things affect them. Want to leave your mark on this world? Let people remember that you made them feel wonderful. Want to leave your mark on this world? Be kind. 

Stop Comparing: You’re Good Enough As You Are

I’ve been having a hard time lately, comparing myself with people two to three decades older than me. On days when my pain is especially bad and my joints aren’t cooperating, it’s hard to see a 60-year-old who can move better than me. On days when I compare myself to people like this, I tend to get depressed. And therein lies the problem: we have to stop comparing, because wherever we are, we are good enough.

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Make Time for Reading

I love reading.

But this love didn’t start early. As a child, I loved writing, but reading really wasn’t my thing. Recently, I had an epiphany. When I was a child, I was pushed fiction books to read all the time. That’s about all we were given (other than textbooks, obviously) as kids in school.

There were never books about various interests, just “stories.” And while I enjoy reading the odd fiction book now, my  preferred genre is non-fiction. Whether it’s business, self-development, or my favourite, memoirs of those with interesting stories to tell, I love learning through reading.

Perhaps I didn’t enjoy reading as a child because I was never given the choice of what to read. That has all changed now, of course, and my love of reading, combined with my love of acting, has created a great opportunity to read to my children and use all the different voices and accents I can make up. This means I’ve been reading more children’s literature, as well as more fiction. 

Our family enjoys both fiction and nonfiction, and of all the things we left behind before we came on this trip, the most difficult to put into storage were our books. We did bring some books on the trip, however, as well as eReaders and a tablet for ease of book carrying.

While some would argue that listening to an audiobook isn’t “reading,” to me, it doesn’t matter. Yes, of course you should read print whenever possible, but just like tablets in education, there’s a time and a place for listening to audibooks.

Make time for reading, www.marianamcdougall.com, man wearing a hat sitting on a windowsill and reading, Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

For example, for children who don’t yet read, listening to audibooks (or a parent reading) helps them to develop a love for literature early on, and I would argue, even an interest in learning to read. For children who need to be in constant motion, audiobooks provide an opportunity to enjoy literature while still allowing for energy expenditure. And for those who are on the road, like us, audiobooks means being able to carry as many books as we like, and still have a chance to discover new and re-discover old literature.

On this trip so far, we’ve had lots of time to do reading, whether that be on our own, through audiobooks, or with me reading to the family while my husband drives. But what if you’re not on a road trip, and you simply don’t have the time to read? Make the time.

Reading is such an amazing activity, and has a tonne of benefits. It expands your knowledge, relaxes you, and builds your vocabulary, among other benefits. But in today’s rushed world, it’s hard to find the time to enjoy these benefits. Here are some simple ways to enjoy reading, even when you’re short on time.

1. Do it in short bursts

Even 5 minutes of reading a day will relax you and allow you to take a break from your busy life. Set aside 5 minutes of your lunch break or 5 minutes after a meal to read a page or two.

2. Put the phone down (unless you’ve got a eReader installed)

Stop scrolling through social media during your commute or when you’re bored, and replace that time with reading time. You can even use your phone for reading time if needed.

3. Make use of the tools available to you

If carrying a book is burdensome, use an eReader or even an eReader app on your phone. Reading is reading; use the tools available to you to read in the most convenient and efficient way for you. 

4. Multitask

Although multitasking has earned a bad rep in recent years, when it comes to reading, it might be worth a try. If you’re already fitting exercise into your day, why not add reading to you exercise? Here’s where audiobooks work wonderfully. Listen to a book as you run, cycle, or lift weights.

5. Remember to read what you like

I didn’t like reading as a kid because people constantly told me what to read. Now that I’m an adult, I pick books that interest me, and I enjoy reading so much. If you pick books you enjoy rather than the ones you think you “should read,” you’ll be much more successful in your quest for more reading time.

How do you fit reading into your day?

 

Seek to Serve: Improving Yourself by Helping Others

I love connecting people to resources, whether those resources are other people, information, or places. And whereas that looks helpful, the truth is, it could be seen as a pretty selfish thing to do. I help others because helping others makes me feel good. And we all like to feel good, don’t we? And making me feel good is not the only advantage of helping others. It turns out that it helps people remember who I am—and that’s pretty good for business.

I’ve met many people in my 36 years. Wonderful people, helpful people, people who are truly interested in helping others succeed. And I’ve also met people who will do anything to ensure they themselves are successful—including throwing others under the metaphorical bus to get ahead.

And in my experience, those people who’ll do anything to get ahead—including hurting others—get ahead in business, all right. But eventually, it all comes crashing down. They might be making a tonne of money, but they slowly lose friends, and end up alone and miserable. Money doesn’t bring happiness—though it sure makes life easier sometimes.

Seek to serve: improving yourself by helping others, www.marianamcdougall.com, several hands holding each other in background

I may not be rich in material goods, but collecting material stuff is not what I want out of life. I have what I need to live a good life: water, shelter, food, and friends and family that I enjoy spending time with—both in person and online. And to me, personally, that’s what life is all about: friends, family, and spending time with the people who bring you joy.

A long time ago, I adopted a “seek to serve” mentality. I’m always thinking about how I could help others, though I’ll be honest, on days when I’m having a lot of pain, that’s hard. And sometimes, it’s OK to “take a day off” from being super nice. I’m not mean to people when I’m having flare-ups, but I make sure I’m taking time away from people when I need to concentrate on self-care. But on any other day, I do what I need to do to take care of myself, while also looking to help others. 

The “seek to serve” mentality has served me well over the years. I use this mantra because it makes me feel good, but the side effect is that people remember me. And that’s how I get most of my business through word-of-mouth. After seeing me answer questions in many Facebook groups for writers, or after witnessing me connect people with useful resources, these same people remember me when a client is looking for work that they’re not experts in, but that they know I could do well. This is how one of my largest clients “landed on my lap:” a referral from an online friend who’s seen me help others online.

So if you want to grow your business, remember this: put helping others first, and the clients will follow. You still have to do your marketing, of course. But you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how helping others can also help you succeed. Here’s a quick recap of how the Seek to Serve lifeview works:

1. Be genuinely interested in others.

Gecko looking straight into camera

 

Take interest in what other people are doing, in what their business is about, and in what their interests are. Because when we are “aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits… [and] we all help one another, everybody wins” (Jim Stovall).

2. Truly listen.

Two women talking, Photo by Trung Thanh on Unsplash

Study good active listening skills and practice them daily. Listen to what others are saying, don’t interrupt, truly take in information, and think about how you could help them based on that information.

3. Always be thinking about how you can help people.

two older women talking and laughing on a bench, Photo by Dario Valenzuela on Unsplash

 

As you truly listen to others, always be thinking about how you could help them with resources you know about, be those resources people, information, or places. Tell people about things that could help them in their business: not unsolicited advice about how to do things, but things they may be interested in researching or checking out. This actually provides people with useful tips, without making you seem like a know-it-all or a bossy person.

4. Wait for those referrals (don’t ask for them—yet).

man sitting at airport looking at plane taking off, Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

 

I rarely ask for referrals, yet I frequently get them. I believe this happens because people tend to remember those who help them, and subconsciously, at least, they want to help them, too. Again, I don’t help people just to get referrals. I truly take joy in connecting people with resources, because seeing others succeed makes me happy. 

So, remember: seek to serve, and you’ll see success.

How do you seek to serve?

Setting Goals That Actually Work—FREE Worksheet!

So… you’re a procrastinator. It’s OK, you can admit it.

Most of us had no issue calling ourselves out in school. When we were up all night finishing an assignment that was due the next day, we’d just say it: I procrastinated. Then we became adults, and realized adulting is hard. Missing deadlines now have bigger consequences than failing a class. Especially if you’re a freelance writer. Or a mom who’s also a freelance writer. If procrastination is getting you down, it’s time to make things right by setting some goals that actually work.

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Accountability in Practice: How I Stay Accountable with My Personal Goals

I’m not great with accountability. Let me rephrase that. I’m an accountable person when it comes to my work. But when it comes to personal goals, I often don’t do well with accountability strategies, such as checking in with an accountability buddy. But I think that’s just because I hadn’t found “my people” yet.

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Emotional Eating Is a Form of Self-Harm

Emotional eating. Behavioural Eating. Disordered Eating. Food Addiction. There are so many names for it, but no one ever calls it what it is.

Self-harm.

Emotional eating is a form of self-harm. And most people who engage in this behaviour, myself included, don’t see it. We see it as comforting ourselves. Even when it just makes us feel worse. It’s time we call our own selves out on it.

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Unleash Your Creative Self

You’re more creative than you think.

I’ve been neglecting this blog since I started building the MultiTalented Writers site. With 3 young homeschooled kids at home, managing a household, building a new site, trying to maintain an exercise routine, maintaining some semblance of a social life, building a site from the ground up, and creating a new YouTube channel, there really isn’t that much time left to work on this blog. 

But since I love writing posts and I’d like to keep writing about my parenting, homeschooling, and general life experiences, I’ve returned for a few more posts 🙂 My hope is to post something at least weekly on this site, but we’ll see how it goes. I like to keep it real, and reality is, when you live the crazy life I live, not everything gets done. And I’ve learned to be OK with that.

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