If you want to make things good and different in your life, you usually have to work at it. But if you find work hard, especially if it’s something that you have to do, it’s a good idea to know how you work in the first place. Ask yourself: do you put things off until the last second, thinking that for sure you are going to be able to do what you need to do in time? Do you rush things early, and then make yourself nervous because you suddenly think that you didn’t have all the information you need? Do you do the hard stuff first and then the easy stuff, or do you do the easy stuff and let the hard stuff drive you crazy later? Perhaps you have learned that doing stuff earlier is much smarter; maybe you have learned that rewarding yourself after the work is done makes things much easier.
And do you do things to make the work light and happy? Do you reward yourself after you’re finished with something nice like a good time with friends, watching your favorite TV program or computer game or do you reward yourself before the work is even started? If this is work that you can do with a friend, do you reach out to someone to help? Do you take little breaks now and then?
All of these are good ideas to make work easier and better. Some of you might like rewards but some of you might like company when you’re working. Some of you might like an award, a certificate, when you’re done, something you can put somewhere special and look at it, thinking, “I did all of that! I did well!” Some of you feel very sad and hurt if no one says “Thank you!” when you have done something. Some of you have to work by yourself, and some of you cannot work unless you have someone there to help and encourage you.
Know how you work! Think about how you can change things to make them better, and do it!
Our parents and friends are very good people to have, usually, though of course there are exceptions. Of course the obvious exceptions is if your parents or friends are truly mean, or they do foolish or dangerous things, you should best avoid them. But sometimes, even a very good friend or a very good parent can make the mistake of helping you too much. If you are helped too much, you never learn how to do something hard all on your own. If your parents make things too easy, then you won’t know what to do when things are difficult; if your friends always let you get away with stuff then they are keeping you from having your own ethics: your own standards of how to treat others well.
But one thing that your parents or friends can do that can actually make you weak: they can make sure you do something you’re supposed to do, that you promised to do, but that you just feel too lazy, resentful or unprepared to do it. If you’re lazy, that is something you can change: someone taking the role of your conscience and reminding you all the time makes it too easy to for you to forget what you promised. That is bad enough. But the really bad thing is that, if someone always keeps you going, keeps you working, then you forget how to work by yourself and for yourself.
This may not seem like such a big deal but it is. When that someone goes away for a while or even forever, then you won’t be able to do anything. You will forget the important things because, of course, your parent or friend remembered it for you, reminded you, got you out of bed to do it, dragged you away from your computer or phone of whatever and made you do what you needed to do: and now, you can’t make yourself do anything! You can’t start anything: you don’t know how. You can’t finish anything: you don’t know how! Being helped too much can be a very bad thing.
Most of you feel put upon, burdened, bothered and irritated when someone asks you to do something for them. You start thinking about what you wanted to do now, what you were planning to do and what you wanted for yourself. It seems this kind of thing happens all the time: just as you’re getting ready to do what you want someone has another idea based on what they want.
However, feeling sorry for yourself and angry at them doesn’t help. For one thing, all that anger and resentment don’t make you feel well: in fact, the more you feel these feelings the more unhappy it makes you. It’s not a good use of your energy! You want your energy for doing good things for yourself, right? But there is some magic here: when you do good for others, you can feel well. When you do something well, you feel good. Amazing!
And there is some even stronger magic, too. When you’re asked to do something you don’t want to do, you can change it all around by doing either of two things. First, even when you’re working, think of anything you love. Do you love your sister, your best friend, your cat, your favorite book, your front yard with the great place to play? Do you love the clouds, the rain or maybe the hot sun? The magic is: that it doesn’t matter what you love: when you are loving something you’re not angry, you’re not feeling resentment, and you’re not unhappy.
And a really special magic is that, if you can tell yourself, really and truly, that you like to do something: you’ll love it too! We all know that there will be things that no one would love, and there’s no point in pretending that you love saying good-bye to a friend or losing a beloved pet. However, you can love that you are able to clean the garage, especially if you think of people that never could do it, like someone in the hospital or someone that can’t see. Love that you can see and that you’re feeling healthy! And magically, you will always feel better.