If It Hurts, Stop Doing It

Be Mindful of Your ChoicesThe other day my 7 year old son came to me and said it hurt when he moved his leg in an unusual way.  I looked at him, wondering why he would want to move his leg that way and replied, “Then don’t do it.”  He seemed happy with the answer and walked away.

I immediately thought about how often we do things in our everyday lives that cause us pain and we continue to do them, usually without thinking about it.

This is one of the many ways we lead comfortably uncomfortable lives.  We think it’s just “the way things are” without questioning anything.  This is how we sleep walk through life.

Do any of the following sound familiar?:

  • Saying yes to every other request people make of our time, knowing that we’re already over-scheduled and stressed.
  • Living without a daily schedule or routine and wondering why we can’t get much accomplished and being frustrated about the whole situation.
  • Spending money on things we want but don’t really need and wondering why we can’t make ends meet.
  • Blaming the other person for our unhappiness in a relationship which only causes the relationship to further deteriorate.
  • Eating and drinking crap and wondering why we have no energy or can’t lose weight.
  • Allowing our monkey mind to convince us that we’re not good enough or don’t deserve a better life, forcing us to play small.

waking up

In order to add more happiness to our lives, we need to slow down and notice all the painful things we do to ourselves and consciously make different choices.

Frequently our monkey mind is there to tell us why a different choice may work for other people but it just wouldn’t work for us. 

The monkey mind is also the master of limiting beliefs telling us why we’re not good enough for great things, why we don’t deserve happiness, why we can’t do things that others can.  Obviously it’s all a bunch of BS but we let the monkey rule our lives all too often.

It doesn’t take long to look around and find people in situations much worse than our own who have made different decisions and taken different actions leading to the results we want or much better.  Actively doing this is a great way to burst our bubble of resistance to change.

You are not your mind.  Your mind is trying to keep you safe and any change seems like a threat, even if it really is in your best interest.

A different choice may initially seem painful but that pain comes from steering yourself out of the giant ruts you’ve created in your life.  The deeper the rut, the harder the turn.

Ask yourself:  What’s the worst thing that could happen?

You might just bring a little (or a lot) more happiness into your life and move yourself closer to living your dreams.

simple steps

For the remainder of the day today, notice what is causing pain in your life.

What are you frustrated, stressed or angry about?

Pick one thing and ask yourself what decisions you made to put yourself in that situation.  You may not be able to control other people or situations but you made a choice to be where you are and act the way you do.

What thoughts are keeping you stuck?  What will happen if you make a different choice?

Now make a new decision.  A new choice.

What is one small thing you can do differently that might lead to a more favorable result?

Do it.

If it works, keep doing it.  If it doesn’t work, stop and make a different choice.


Where are you making a different choice in order to bring more happiness into your day and your life?

Mindful Living GuideThe Mindful Living Guide

Enter your name and email below to receive The Mindful Living Guide and the latest from the blog. You know your life will be better for it.

Having trouble focusing? Here are my secrets and those of 36 other very smart and focused people: 99 Smart Ideas: How to Focus: 37 Experts Reveal Their Best Tips.

Join Up Dots podcastHear the story of my life on the Join Up Dots podcast! http://bit.ly/jud-465

David and I discuss what was going on in my head when I left a great job in Boston to venture west and into the unknown to create the life of my dreams.  We also discuss my approach to life that anyone can adopt that keeps me happy.  Check it out HERE!

Find out how to easily (and happily) manage your weight and improve your health with mindfulness using the Mindful Body Program.

Get your copy of the Mindful Body Program here!


Like what you read?
If so, enter your name and email below to get your FREE copy of my comprehensive guide to inviting more joy, peace and happiness into your life. You'll also be the first to receive updates and news in the Simple Mindfulness community. Just enter your name and email below:
Posted in: Comfort Zone Challenges, Personal Growth, Personal Responsibility Tagged: , , , ,
Return to Previous Page

23 Responses to If It Hurts, Stop Doing It

  1. Pingback: Be Bold, Be Amazing, Be Yourself!

  2. Pingback: What Does Success Look Like To You?

  3. Pingback: Letting Go | SNY Ideas

  4. Pingback: Letting Go

  5. Pingback: I Want To Change the World and I Want It Done Yesterday!

  6. farouk
    Commented:  01/25/2012 at 3:01 am

    this post came in the perfect timing
    you are so right, i cant agree more

    stephen budd
    Commented:  01/22/2012 at 7:26 pm

    Good article. Simple but so true. I like the suggestion to take time daily to ask questions. Questions like: What’s keeping you stuck, what’s causing stress, etc. Just being in that moment and taking our inventory can produce amazing results. It’s like you said, most of us are on auto-pilot and don’t really think about what we could do to change. It’s always the simple truths that are the most powerful. This article is filled with simple truths. I, of course being a father, love that it was spawned from a question your child asked you.
    stephen budd recently posted..Leo BuscagliaMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/23/2012 at 8:44 am

      Thanks Stephen! Kids are our best teachers. They’re always in the moment and so honest about everything. When I’m not being the kind of person I want to be, they call me on it. To them, everything is a simple truth. I frequently wonder at what point in life do we start making everything so complicated.

    Commented:  01/22/2012 at 11:24 am

    Hey Paige,

    The tile got my attention. I recently was talking to a patient who is in a trouble some relationship and she keeps thinking she shall move on but some how she hasn’t been able to do it as yet. She fears losing the person she has been with all these years.

    The fact is that we sometimes continue to bear the pain and trouble in fear of losing something bigger imagined. What we fail to realize is that there is nothing and no one worth putting your dreams, your life and your spirits to pain and sorrow. It will take time and it might hurt but it is better to move away from the pain. There will be better relief when this is realized and done.

    The post was absolutely amazing.

    Hope you have a lovely day!
    Hajra recently posted..Will they call you over for a bloggers party?My Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/22/2012 at 12:50 pm

      Thank you very much Hajra!
      We see it so often – people staying in painful and sometimes abusive relationships because they fear the loss of the other person even though that person is so obviously not good for them. The answers seem so obvious to us, the objective observer, because we haven’t developed the emotional ties to the relationship. Since we can’t control others, the best we can do is be supportive and offer guidance. The decisions are up to the others.

      Have a beautiful day!!

    Commented:  01/20/2012 at 12:33 pm

    I can’t remember a time years ago it seems when I did everything on that list, but NOT ANYMORE! This is really, really a great post for so many people! I’ll tell you when I elected to start my own personal journey it was theeeee single best thing I ever did for myself (and my family really!)

    Anyhow, great job on this post! There’s no such thing as not deciding… because that just let’s someone else make the decision for you. And as for frustration and anger…that’s never a feeling that does anything for a person except make them more miseraable for a longer period of time. Learned that one the hard way, lol. Now I just focus on something else that’s positive. I’m getting great at it too! Practice makes perfect, lol!
    sheila recently posted..Extra! Extra! Guess where I’m at today!My Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/20/2012 at 12:55 pm

      Sounds like you’ve done a lot of work. Great for you! Whenever I feel frustration and anger bubbline up, I have to stop and think of how I’m giving my power, my decisions to others. Once I understand how to take responsibility in the situation, I’m more free to improve my own situation.

      Keep up the awesome practice!

    Commented:  01/12/2012 at 12:54 pm

    Loved this post.

    I totally agree with making a decision and then going with it. And if it doesn’t work, make another decision. Keep knocking on the door, and one will open soon enough!

    Noch Noch
    Commented:  01/12/2012 at 6:29 am

    thats so true. my eyes got tired and almost painful this afternoon and i just had to stop staring at the computer screen
    however, i tolerated it for more than necessary
    sometimes we do push ourselves and subjugate ourselves to unnecessary pain and hurt. for what reason? dunno
    so yes, stop it if it hurts!
    Noch Noch

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/13/2012 at 8:01 am

      I do the same thing sometimes, Noch Noch. I think it’s that old programming to produce, to achieve more. It’s a struggle for me to stop and change focus to something that’s better for me but, as I practice more, it gets easier.

    Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog
    Commented:  01/11/2012 at 4:02 pm

    I can DEFINITELY picture my own seven-year-old son having the same reaction, shrugging his shoulders, after a lightbulb moment, and walking away. Somewhere along the way, we become inundated with guilt, responsibility, ambition…and we feel compelled to do things that don’t ultimately make us happy.

    Don’t get me wrong – there is a need for sacrifice, compromise and even grief in our lives. But we don’t exert nearly enough control in managing those elements (and putting them into perspective!)

    Great post Paige.

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/11/2012 at 4:52 pm

      I couldn’t agree with you more Ruth. Most of us are so busy and distracted that, just when we need it the most, we are less than capable of filtering the things that aren’t in alignment with our values.

      Good luck with your year at Ending the Grind! Let me know how I can support you!

    Commented:  01/09/2012 at 3:20 pm

    Absolutely! I’ve really started noticing all of the mindless things I do that aren’t in alignment with the life I want to live at all, especially in relation to how I spend my most valuable resource– my time. In 2012 I’m choosing to focus on what TRULY matters to me… and I’m dropping all the things that don’t.

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/09/2012 at 3:27 pm

      That’s awesome Therese! Making that conscious choice about what to allow in is key to being happy. There are so many people and things competing for our time. Not worrying about what others think and doing what is right for us is the only way to live. Hope your 2012 ROCKS!!

    Commented:  01/06/2012 at 9:36 pm

    This is a great post. As I read through your list of “Do any of these sound familiar?”, I have to admit that I do everthing on your list at least part of the time. I really need to stop doing that!

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/07/2012 at 12:12 am

      Yes, Tony, it’s amazing how much of our lives we live on auto-pilot, not really considering the impact of our choices. Just stopping long enough to notice what we’re doing is enough to elicit a more effective choice.

      Thanks! Love your blog!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

Get your FREE Mindful Living Guide here:
Find your happiness