The in-your-face, no-hype guide to getting happy...
Your life sucks if...
* You routinely make someone or something more important than you
* The life you are living on the outside doesn't match who you are on the inside
* You say yes when you mean no
* You try to fix other people
* You've forgotten to enjoy the ride
When your life sucks, it's a wake-up call. Now self-help guru and bestselling author Alan Cohen invites you to answer that call, change your course, and enjoy the life you were meant to live. In ten compelling chapters, Cohen shows you how to stop wasting your energy on people and things that deaden you-and use it for things you love.
With great humor, great examples, and exhilarating directness, Why Your Life Sucks doesn't just spell out the ways in which you undermine your power, purpose, and creativity-it shows you how to reverse the damage. Here is an encouraging but loud-and-clear reminder that in every moment we generate our own experience by the choices we make, and that today is the best day to begin your new life.
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November 28, 2005
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Excerpt from Why Your Life Sucks by Alan Cohen
You Give Your Power Away
Before baseball star Mickey Mantle died, he faced and came to terms with his lifelong alcoholism. As he was withering of liver disease, Mickey held a press conference at the Betty Ford Center. A reporter asked him, "How would you like people to remember Mickey Mantle?" Pale and gaunt, still sporting his Yankee cap, he replied, "I would like them to think that I finally made something of myself." I was shocked. One of the most loved and celebrated sports heroes of all time--my hero--did not respect himself until he took back the power he had given to his addiction.
A few months later, Mickey Mantle died. Soon afterward I saw a touching newspaper cartoon showing Mickey meeting God, depicted as a person. As the two ambled down a long road in heaven, God placed his arm around Mickey's shoulder. Mickey turned to God and wistfully remarked, "I can't believe all the errors I made." God turned to Mickey and answered, "But you gave them a ninth inning they'll never forget."
We have all given our power away to something--many things--and our lives have sucked for it. We have bestowed undue power to lovers, money, bosses, addictive substances, fame, dream homes, religious dogma, parents, children, doctors, lawyers, agents, therapists, psychics, teachers, policemen, politicians, sports heroes, movie stars, gorgeous men and women, business moguls, the news, and occult sciences. The list goes on; you can add more of your own.
You give your power away when you make someone or something outside of you more important than what is inside of you.
If you do not value who and what you are, you will seek to borrow worth from the outer world. You will look for validation from people whom you believe know or have more than you. But since everything you need is inside you and no one can know more about your path and purpose than you do, any power you ascribe to external authorities must eventually explode in your face and leave you feeling worse than when you started. The question is not, "Have you given your power away?" The question is, "How can you get it back?"
Unsucking your life is an inside job. You do not need to import power, for you were born with it; you just need to plug the holes in your bucket through which it is leaking. The quest is about peeling away the lies and illusions you have been told--and went on to tell yourself--that have kept you living smaller than you deserve. When you do, you will be amazed to realize how much you have settled for. Then you will have little patience for halfhearted living and reclaim your right to live from choice rather than default.
Any experience that leaves you feeling empty, less-than, or needy does so for only one reason: You
entered into it feeling empty, less-than, or needy. The illusion is that relationships will take away the pain that keeps you feeling small; the reality is that relationships magnify the pain that keeps you feeling small. And yet there is a gift in the process: You remember that the source of your strength is inside you.
Perhaps the final lines of Woody Allen's classic movie Annie Hall sum up how we stay trapped in painful situations: A man says to a psychiatrist, "My wife thinks she's a chicken and she's driving me crazy!" The psychiatrist asks him, "So why don't you leave her?" The man answers, "I can't--I need the eggs."
You don't need the eggs anymore. They are rotten, taste horrible, and don't nourish you. When you elevate others at your expense, nobody wins. When you source your life from inside out, everyone wins. As you strike gold in your own self, you will quit giving the people in your world a carbon copy of the terror that runs their lives, and give them a ninth inning--or a first, or a fifth--they'll never forget.
How You Give Your Power Away and What You Can Do
You Put People on a Pedestal
Former child movie star Shirley Temple Black discovered a flaw in the pedestal game at a young age. She recounts, "I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph." The savior she sought was also seeking a savior in her.
Idols always fall on those who worship them. The bigger the idol, the harder it crashes. If you think any person has the power, wealth, wisdom, beauty, talent, or strength to rescue you from your deficits, you set yourself up for trouble. Yes, there are people who can help, support, and teach you. No, there is no one out there who can save you. That is something you have to do yourself by recognizing you already own what you seek.
When you have a crush on someone, you will be crushed. That's why they call it a crush. You crush reality out of the other person by seeing them through the eyes of fantasy, while you crush your own self-worth. Face it: Crushes buy you a ticket to a wild emotional roller-coaster ride. For every giddy rush you experience, you will soon be plummeting. Mr. Right smiles at you and you are in heaven; the next day he looks the other way and you are in hell. And you call this a relationship? You wrap your soul in a little package, hand it to someone you don't even know, and instruct them, "Here, do with this as you wish."