Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Are You A Shoplifter?

Are you a shoplifter?

As we all know, shoplifters take what does not belong to them. They take items and stuff them in hidden spots. Some shoplifters are brazen and walk around openly toting the things that don't belong to them. Shoplifters will tell you there is a "high" that comes from it in that moment. The "high," though, doesn't last. In the end, the rush is replaced by feeling deflated and a bit ashamed.

I am sure you also realize that I am not talking about stealing tee-shirts and candy bars. I am talking about taking what doesn't belong to us. I am talking about "stealing" other people's responsibilities. "Shoplifting" others duties might make us feel good about ourselves at first, but in the end, it leaves us worn out and used up.

I like to call it shoplifting. For us shoplifters, we have other names we have been called. Co-dependent. Coddlers. Control freaks. These terms are okay. But lets call a spade a spade. When we take other people's responsibilities, we are stealing. We might feel important and helpful. But we are only preventing people from owning what is theirs.

For instance, what happens when it's bedtime and your child tells you they need baked goods, a certain outfit, etc. for school the next morning? How do you handle that situation? What happens when your child is 5....9.....13...16? Typically, we might just pick up the slack. But really, we are creating a pattern of "taking" our child's responsibilities. In the end, the child will learn that they are not accountable and we have yet another item that doesn't belong to us tucked in our bags.
Here is another example. You have a co-worker who's personal life is a bit out of control. They are a "captain chaos." You feel sorry for them. Once again, they miss a deadline. But they have to pick up their child. You agree to take over the project. Because of this, you leave late and miss the first part of your social engagement that night. It would have been good to be there and chat with the people you wanted to catch up with, but you just made the curtain call. Helping her felt like the right thing at first..........
The keys to stop shoplifting......
1. Awareness.
This week, watch yourself. Look at your life, your relationships with family, friends, coworkers and your community. See if you are "shoplifting."
2. Try it different.
Make it your goal to shoplift one less thing each day.
3. Create a house rule to get you there.
You could tell your coworkers if they want help, all requests have to be in before 2 pm.
You could tell your kids anything needed for next day has to be discussed before 6pm.
4. Create a consequence.
If things aren't in by that time, you will not help. If you stick to this, people will learn very quickly. Right now, they have learned that you will take from them. So, they need to learn something new.
5. Try it with only one thing and be consistent with that one thing. Guaranteed, you will have better relationships and more time!

WARNING: This will be extremely uncomfortable at first! You will want to grab that item that you have always taken! But, if you can try it.....wow.....you will have more time, feel more replenished....and you will help the people in your life that you have been stealing from!

Click on my website below and check out my book, Simply Put Together. The book is full of tips like these that you can use to enrich your life as you plan your everyday!
Make the moment happen!

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