Hello everybody, welcome to episode 38 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you have on life and give you answers on the show. I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino.
Today we have one of our more interesting episodes, for sure. An atypical series of questions sent in will give us a good opportunity to look at many of our most pressing questions differently, I think. So let’s get into it and try to follow along. Here’s today’s question…
QUESTION: “Why am I so bitter of other people's happiness and successes? Why am I constantly paranoid that my partner is using me for security and doesn't actually love me and desire me? Why am I so terrified of dying?”
Breaking Big Questions Down
So like I said in the intro., not necessarily the standard style for our episodes, but there’s a whole lot that can be learned here nonetheless. I received these questions, and initially, I was unsure as to whether they were intended for three different episodes, whether it was just a means of sorta venting and getting it all out there as we all have to do sometimes, or maybe something else.
But as with every episode, I’m going to offer the best lesson or advice I can based on my interpretation.
Questions like these — these massively pressing questions about our lives — are not really capable of being answered in one back and forth, even by a life coach, a therapist, a psychiatrist, Gandhi; whomever; certainly not if the person you’re asking doesn’t know you personally.
But what you CAN do with questions like these if you’re not talking to a professional on an ongoing basis (which is the best means of getting to the bottom of these types of questions, by the way), is turn the “whys” into “hows.”
What we want to seek to do here is break big questions down, get to the meat of them a little bit more, and start to develop steps we can take once we have enough valid information to work with.
Being Bitter about Others' Successes
So let’s start from the top with the first question of the three, which is: “Why am I so bitter of other people’s happiness and successes?”
If you’re wrestling with a question like this, you’re wrestling with a sense of competition. You’re threatened by the success of others, which means you’re dissatisfied with your own success — regardless of how successful you actually are — which is highly subjective anyway.
Go from “Why” to “What”
This “why” question now turns into some “what” questions, such as, “What instilled this sense of competition and is it worth living by? What are you not grateful for in your own life?”
A lot more “what” questions can be developed here, but already we have enough insight to turn this into a “how” question. One that comes to my head is “How can you be more supportive of both others and yourself?” Now, that’s a question that can be answered more easily by anyone, yourself included.
Keep in mind that envy has been found to decrease life satisfaction and well-being. It's also positively correlated with depression. Furthermore, the hostility it creates may actually make you sick.
Consider the things you can do in your daily life to be more gracious for what you have, to celebrate others for what they have, and to see all parties first through their intentions rather than their accomplishments.
Paranoia in Relationships
That second “why” question was, “Why am I constantly paranoid that my partner is using me for security and doesn't actually love me and desire me?”
Same process. This kind of question reflects a sense of insecurity in the relationship; totally normal. It also reflects upon your concept of self-esteem.
What questions can you start to ask of yourself with that in mind? Maybe some of the “what” questions would be, “What are you consciously offering to your partner besides security? What kind of love and desire, if any, are they showing you?”. The “how”, then, seems to be “How can you become more clear about your partner’s intentions?”
Again, it’s a question that’s easier to answer now once it’s reframed. You can start to pay attention to whether or not you’re being the partner you want them to be, and truly offering them the type of love they need that would give them reason to value you beyond security.
Another “how” question would then be, “How can you make sure you’re giving them that love?” You can also become more observant of how they’re treating you. Are their actions generally more reflective of monetary gain or genuine affection? Pay attention to that. It might get cloudy, but whether or not it is, you can always ask them these questions firsthand. Communicate with them rather than trying to come up with answers on your own that are much harder to find when left to your own devices.
Fear of Dying
That third and final “why” question was, “Why am I so terrified of dying?”
What does that type of question tell you about yourself and your feelings? Probably a lack of control — that’s a big problem for a lot of people when it comes to thoughts about death. Whether you have an anxious personality also contributes to the fear of dying.
Also a lack of completion, I’d venture to guess; feeling as though your life will end before you’ve done enough things to make it valuable in your eyes. I’m sure there are some others you can come up with on your own.
Based on those, though, the “whats” would become, “What do you need to accept that you can’t control? What do you need to accomplish for yourself that you’ve put off?” And as the formula would go, a “how” might be, “How can you both come to terms with life as it is and simultaneously make the changes you want to make while you still can?”
You’ll inevitably find your own answers to these questions, but answers that come to my mind quickly are finding methods that help you with doing things that you want to do for yourself, practicing gratitude for what you have, and appreciating who you are right now.
Conclusion: Seeing Patterns
The episode winds down on an interesting note here, folks. When we think about some of the quick answers we’ve come to, it’s worth noting that there are patterns on patterns. Things like gratitude, seeing beyond accomplishment, doing things for oneself rather than others have broadly been repeated at least two out of three times.
When we ask these huge questions of ourselves and break them down, it’s not uncommon to find patterns or links that are truer foundations; the underlying issues that are affecting several areas of life. Though having a large number of stressors may be exhausting and make it feel as though they can’t all possibly be solved, the truth is that the more we take time to be introspective and ask ourselves sub-questions about all of them, we’re likely to find that our wide array of problems is stemming from only a few core concepts.
So don’t be afraid to break these questions down like we did today, get closer to the crux of each problem, and take action accordingly.
Like I said, my dear sweet friends, a bit of a different speed today, but an important topic nonetheless.
So I thank you for sending this question in, asker of this question. I sincerely hope that all of you guys listening were able to take from this episode a new strategy for dismantling big questions that seem to running your life with no end in sight.
If you still have those questions that you can’t seem to shake, though, you know that’s our bread and butter so don’t be afraid to email them to us at advice AT oldpodcast DOT com
You know we love helping you guys out so don’t be shy. We also love handing out free books, and we’ll be doing that for those who submit a question and would like a free book. Have a wonderful, wonderful rest of your day. Thanks for tuning in, and looking forward to talking to you again!