3 mistakes strong people can avoid to be happy​.​

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Strong women and men, do you want to be happier? Strong, defined as you get up early, grind out work all day, and help others to get better through your generosity? Strong meaning an inner toughness that gets the job done, often at your expense? Here are three mistakes to avoid to increase your time, energy, and happiness.

Avoid the illusion that you need to do it all yourself.

When I attended a cool new thing called a middle school, “I Am a Rock” by Simon and Garfunkel was considered poetry. I recall trying to drum up deep feelings of isolation but failed. It seemed to me at the time, and it still does, that being a rock island is grim rather than strong.

There is a lot to admire about being strong. Others depend on you. You get the job done. You make the world a better place. In this lies the risk of isolation by default. To believe there is no one on whom you can depend. To feel you’re the only one who can get the job done.

Ask, “Can I delegate this task?”

Ask, “Am I self-imposing this task or this deadline and can I drop it or change it?”

Ask, “Do I need help and where can I find it?”

Avoid doing work that others can do for themselves.

As a mother, I quickly learned that just because I can do my children’s work, doesn’t mean that I should. I can pick toys off of a floor faster than a two-year-old girl. I can wash dishes better than a seven-year-old boy. Decidedly, I can clean a bathroom better than a teenager.

That’s not the point.

Experiencing firsthand the shenanigans that children create to avoid their work is eye opening in how it mirrors behaviors in adults. Consider the worker who feigns an inability to meet a deadline. Or the relative who is chronically confused about their contribution. Or the friend who takes more than he gives. Where do you draw the line?

Start by helping the truly needy to include young children, the mentally ill, addicted, physically challenged, poor, elderly, marginalized, and grieving. More commonly, the key is to stand firm at the personal responsibility level of those involved. A healthy and capable two-year-old can pick up toys. A seven-year-old can wash dishes. A teenager can clean a bathroom. Young adults can earn income. Co-workers can meet deadlines. Relatives can understand. Friends can be generous. Respect their abilities and let them be competent.

Ask, “Is my spouse able to initiate and complete this task?”

Ask, “Is my co-worker paid for and responsible to meet this deadline?”

Ask, “Is my friend willing to bring fun, creativity, generosity, or depth to this relationships?”

Avoid neglecting your well-being and self-care.

The one-two punch of default isolation and doing the work of capable others is common, dangerous, and costly. Stress, mood, energy and weight can go from manageable to unmanageable:

  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population.
  • In 2014, an estimated 15.7 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. This number represented 6.7% of all U.S. adults.
  • More than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity.While we don’t always know the exact causes of mental and physical problems for an individual, we do know that symptoms reduce with proper support from others and improved self-care.Well-being includes your highest calling and relationships, your inner life, your work and the space you inhabit, your social life, and your physical body. Self-care includes tending to each aspect of well-being and a high-impact place to start is taking care of your body. Exercise regularly; I like to run. Make peace with food and eat well. Sleep tight but no need to obsess.

    Ask, “Am I giving to others to the point of depletion and exhaustion?”

    Ask, “Are symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, weight gain, and unhappiness increasing?”

    Ask, “If I asked for help or let others do for themselves in one area of my life, would my happiness increase?”

    A strong character, determination, and work ethic is a powerful gift to share with the world, a gift that can sneakily deplete you. By avoiding these common mistakes and asking yourself these insight-catching questions, your happiness will increase, and you will be stronger than ever.


    I’m Angie McIntyre, and I believe that care leaders merit support, running is better than complaining, and wellness is for everyone. Do you? Sign up for my Angie Mc Now newsletter and gain the wellness and care you deserve.

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How to care big with confidence.

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Being accused of over-caring ever since I was a child gives me the incentive to ask an obvious question; Is there such a thing as caring too much? As an eight-year-old girl who fell deeply in love with my newborn sister and wanted nothing more than to care for her, was I caring too much? When my husband takes calls from his mentally ill clients 24/7, does he care too much? As my daughter stays at home and raises her son through his formative years, will she care too much for too long? Watching my friend take off a week of work to travel out of state and ensure that her niece’s wedding goes off without a hitch, do some speculate that she cares too much? Does my friend wonder if their speculations are correct?

Caring is an adjective that means “displaying kindness and concern for others.” It is a noun that means “the work or practice of looking after those unable to care for themselves, especially sick and elderly people.” Caring is also a verb which means “feel concern or interest; attach importance to something.”

Lack of care relates to such things as being careless, cavalier, flippant, forgetful, inattentive, inconsiderate, indifferent, lackadaisical, lax, neglectful, negligent, reckless, and unmindful. It can lack consciousness and in extreme cases become bad faith, corruption, dishonesty, and dishonor. Personality disorders describe an inability to care about others as anti-social and only to care for oneself as narcissism. Being without conscience defines criminal psychopaths.

Caring is an act of a well-formed conscience.

The beauty of a woman is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows. ~ Audrey Hepburn

Why then is caring ripe for concern, something at risk of being done too much? The problem isn’t with the caring but rather with managing significant energy. When one’s care is as tall as a skyscraper, as wide as a western sky, and as deep as the ocean, one needs a plan that moderates without hindering an expansive heart.

Care big through steadiness and attention to basic needs.

Those who intensely care risk extreme emotional highs and lows, anxiety and depression, as well as exhaustion and burnout. Carers may give generously to one aspect of their lives while minimizing or completely ignoring others. Here’s the rub. Human beings have basic needs, and there are natural laws that when ignored dole out painful consequences.

There are five broad categories which every person must attend to regularly, even those, especially those, who are saving the world. One’s vocation includes marriage, parenting, creative brilliance and uniquely serving others for the greater good. Strengthen one’s physical body and expand one’s inner life. Perform work and manage workspace. Engage socially with friends and community.

Care big by prioritizing what is most important.

Those who care do so about many things. Carers fulfill duties necessary for functioning families. They listen to their friends and volunteer in their communities. Carers also feel intensely about many things from today’s hot and humid weather to the power-hungry Little League board, and the latest war declared on the other side of the planet. Because carers have an enormous capacity to care, they can take in a lot of noise through meetings, news, and social media. When left unchecked, all of this caring can rile up the mind, exhaust emotions, and deplete the body.

To avoid caring-fatigue, focus on 1-3 priorities in each of the five broad categories with attention to what is most important and will have the most impact then join with others who share these priorities. To care about everything willy-nilly wastes precious energy, is emotionally discouraging, and impedes action which leads to positive results.

Care big by believing others and giving them space not to care.

Carers find it hard to believe that others don’t care. There is the temptation to cajole, bombard, and press others into caring via lengthy monologs, social media blasts, pity parties and guilt trips. All of this devours energy. To genuinely care takes energy-conserving restraint so that respect for others shines first. When an adult says through her words or shows with his actions that they don’t care, believe them. Permission granted not to expend energy on others’ disregard.

Of all the blarney thrown around on this big, beautiful planet of ours, the myth of “caring too much” is one that grabs my heart. Our hurting world needs more care, not less. We need people who care big! Go forward with confidence by focusing steadily on the highest priorities and join with others who care with and for you. There’s no such thing as caring too much.


I’m Angie McIntyre and I believe that care leaders merit support, running is better than complaining, and wellness is for everyone. Do you?