In a recent episode of The Mindful Midlife Crisis podcast, host Billy sat down with guest Steven English to delve into the intriguing concept of finding joy in disappointing others. Steven shared his personal journey and insights, which were initially inspired by a TED Talk he delivered.
The Journey to Self-Discovery
Steven began his discussion by addressing the role of his drinking habits in his life, particularly during his time in South Korea. He emphasized that he couldn’t blame his drinking solely on the environment but acknowledged that it exacerbated a pre-existing inclination toward alcoholism. His drinking habits had red flags earlier in life, but he was in denial.
The Power of Habits
Steven highlighted the significance of repetitive behavior when it comes to developing habits, especially pleasurable ones like drinking. His five-week stay in Korea, filled with nightly drinking sessions, intensified his relationship with alcohol. He noted that it was both a social lubricant and a personal inclination.
Alcohol and the Body
Steven discussed how his body reacted differently to alcohol compared to others. He mentioned that genetics plays a role, with some people being more prone to alcoholism due to how their bodies process ethanol. His ability to consume alcohol without feeling nauseous or tired was a warning sign, leading to an eventual decision to quit.
The Chicken and the Egg Dilemma
Billy raised the question of whether the social environment heightened the desire to drink or if alcohol itself intensified the social experience. Steven shared that he would drink alone before going out, indicating that he didn’t need a social setting to enjoy alcohol. This acknowledgment led to a realization about his relationship with alcohol.
The Importance of Setting Boundaries
Steven shared valuable strategies for dealing with social pressure to drink. He recommended being assertive about not drinking and having a non-alcoholic drink in hand to discourage offers of alcohol. He emphasized that it’s crucial to prioritize one’s well-being over social expectations.
Finding Joy in Disappointing Others
The conversation shifted to the concept of finding joy in disappointing others, which was central to Steven’s TED Talk. He explained that his inclination to please everyone led to resentment and, eventually, drinking. He discovered that by asserting his true self and making his needs a priority, he could build more authentic relationships.
Reinventing Relationships and Self-Discovery
Steven discussed how he transitioned from reading the room and adapting to please others to being more assertive about his values and needs. He encouraged listeners to explore what truly makes them happy and to act accordingly. While he didn’t explicitly focus on rebuilding relationships, he did share his journey of self-improvement.
In conclusion, Steven’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance of self-discovery, setting boundaries, and prioritizing one’s well-being. Finding joy in disappointing others may sound counterintuitive, but it can lead to more authentic and fulfilling relationships. The key takeaway is that embracing one’s true self and asserting personal values can ultimately lead to a happier and healthier life.