It’s already been a long one over here, but I’m not complaining. I spent most of the night not sleeping, but thinking. After meeting with my small group and an amazing circle of friends last night, I started thinking about life and how we go about living a happy one. I pondered what defines our happiness and what holds us back from grabbing it.
I didn’t plan on writing an entire post on this, but all of these words poured out when I sat to write this morning. It’s been a while since I put a Coffee Talk together, so I thought it would be the perfect time to revisit the series.
If you’re one who thinks I’m ridiculous and rambling about nonsense, then you might want to pop back in to the blog tomorrow. For everyone else, grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat!
• comparing yourself to others
These days, it’s easy to keep up with a lot of our friends and family members through a filtered online version. Without actually talking to the person on a regular basis and really understanding what is going on in their lives, that is what we see, and, in turn, that is all we see.
Sometimes, the grass really does seem greener on the other side. Someone without kids could see a friend post a cute baby picture and instantly yearn for a family of her own. On the other hand, the tired mother of three could see a picture of her friend traveling overseas and get jealous of her freedom.
We often want what others have, especially if it’s different from what our lives involve at the time. If you often find yourself comparing your life to those you see online, just remember it’s only a glimpse into what is really going on for them. Nobody can compete with that, so don’t!
• living in the past or future, not present
Are you living for today? Seriously. At this moment in time, what are you stressing about?
Is it something that happened a couple of days or even years ago? Is it something that you are planning on taking place later this year or even five years from now?
What about today? What is going on in your life right now that you need to be thinking about? If you say you are just excited to eat dinner with your family or meet with friends after work, I’ll call you bluff. Unfortunately, most of us spend too much time stressing about things in the past or future to really enjoy the time we are present with friends and family. Sometimes, we build our hopes up so high that everything is supposed to happen a certain way, and as a result, we get frustrated about what new situations are and what they aren’t: what you’re used to.
That’s just it. The concept of change can be scary. Transition, adjustment, moving forward… all of these things equate to taking an unfamiliar step into a new direction we can’t predict the results of. So what do we do?
We live for today, enjoy the people in our lives, and take baby steps, day by day. We see how everything turns out, and the smart ones do so without those preconceived expectations in tow. The wise ones accept change, take situations for what they are, and move on. They find and create their own happiness by enjoying every today and living in the present!
• thinking reality television is reality
I can’t help but to tune into Keeping Up With the Kardashians every now and then. It’s a guilty pleasure I absolutely hate admitting, but I find their family so intriguing.
Do I think they live anywhere close to reality or have even a glimpse of what “real life” consists of? Not at all. They have a television show and fame for literally existing. That’s it. And, that’s not reality. Please remember that the next time you watch anything filed under the “reality” category.
• thinking blogs or social media channels share everything
Please see my post on In-person vs. Online Relationships if this one gets you.
In summary, the biggest misconception online is that our lives are perfect. Newsflash: they aren’t, and nobody posts the bad stuff!
Who wants to hear you complain or continuously point out the negative things about your day? Nobody. So, nobody talks about it.
• planning your life to the tee
You can plan your life and set timelines towards major life goals and accomplishments all you want, but that doesn’t mean life is just going to happen that way. Of course, some of the decisions we make affect the outcome of certain situations, but we’re talking about the bigger picture here.
As someone nearing her 30th birthday, take it from me: timelines are silly, and, in my opinion, borderline immature. Who are you to say you need to be married by 25 or wrap up having your children before 30, most likely as someone in their early twenties? I absolutely love everyone I tell this to, and I have said it time and time again:
Stop deciding what and when things will take place in your life. What happens when your perfect little plan doesn’t pan out? Regret? Second guesses? Depression? None of that sounds like a great time.
You just have to let go, (let God do His thing if you’re a believer!), and let life happen.
Set goals, not deadlines!
• ignoring relationships
Whether the relationship is with a spouse, family member, or friend, it is important to nurture any relationships you have with the ones you love. Is there someone out there you wish you talked to more? Are you too busy to pick up a phone and give them a call? We all are.
Nobody gets too far on this walk in life completely solo. There comes a point where we all crave community, and having one you can trust requires work, just like any relationship or marriage. Don’t fall prey to the “I’m just to busy” excuse. Everyone is “too busy!”
• making excuses
Speaking of making excuses… you should probably go ahead and give those up. Really. How far does validating not hitting your goals get you?
You couldn’t finish your homework because your dog ate it? (That’s obviously the only clear explanation.)
You don’t have time to fit in a workout? (That’s only up to you.)
If you want to keep moving forward, you have to stop making excuses and make a plan!
• knowing you’re always right
Opinions are like belly buttons… everybody’s got one. After being married for almost four years now, I have realized that agreeing to disagree is a beautiful thing. There are just some things you are never going to agree on.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but chances are… nobody reading this is perfect. You’re going to be wrong every now and then, so you might as well accept that and embrace the opportunity to learn from disagreements when they arise.
Your opinions might stray from others. You might believe you are right, no matter what the others are telling you. Take a step back, appreciate opposing thoughts, and relish in the fact that one of you (most likely) is right. Do you really have to fight the subject to death?
Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and check your ego at the door when you walk into relationships.
• thinking you need to impress others
I recently walked into an environment where I was one of the only people in the room not dressed to impress. While others were wearing heels and short dresses, I sported an oversized top, jeans, and Sperrys proudly. I just wasn’t there to impress anyone.
I wasn’t disrespectful, and in fact, I made fun of myself a few times in front of others to acknowledge that I was in the minority there, but when it all came down to it, it didn’t bother me. I know for a fact that this wouldn’t have been the case a few years ago!
Girls are funny. We get dressed up for a night out on the town, but it’s usually not to impress the opposite sex. The motive is either to feel good about ourselves (and if this is you… go for it, sister!), to impress our friends, or even to simply post a cute picture on Instagram.
Can I let you in on a little secret? I was probably one of the few people who didn’t buy a new outfit to attend this event, and I still had a great time! Only dress to impress for yourself.
• living up to other peoples’ expectations
It breaks my heart when I hear people talk about degrees and occupations someone’s parents’ or spouse pushes them to achieve. Support is one thing, but if you put your future on the scale of someone else’s hopes and dreams, you might be setting yourself up for failure. If your drive isn’t connected to what you are doing, where is the motivation coming from? Them? Call me crazy, but that, dear friend, might just be a fancy way of nagging.
Set and achieve goals that are important to you! Stop worrying about what others think (see point above) and live and work towards the dreams that really matter to you.
In summary, happiness isn’t just a choice, it’s your choice. If you are guilty of any of these things mentioned above (and, believe me, I have been there too!), break them now before they become habits. Only you can choose the path towards your own happiness!
Recent Coffee Talks:
• In-Person vs. Online Relationships
• Moving Past What Doesn’t Matter
…and more on the Coffee Talks page!
Lake Shore Runner
Thank you for these great reminders! It is always great to have these written down to bring to light and remind yourself of things to keep you happy. Great post Heather! Brought a smile to my face. Happy International Moment of Laughter Day!
Thank you Sara, and how appropriate! I had no idea 😉
Spot on. I just wrote a post about planning everything in your life and how it sucks haha All of these are great reminders!
I used to be very guilty of planning. Eventually, I realized that what happens in life is out of our control. The sooner we accept that, the better off we’ll be!
Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries
Excellent reminders! I think we all have been a little guilty of these here and there because well, we’re human, so to be reminded of them is great. I’ve definitely improved in these areas with age and life experience, but every once in awhile one or two of these creeps in and I have to tell myself to snap out of it and remind myself of all the blessings in my life.
Very true! It happens to all of us. And you’re so right… we’re human. It’s okay to snap every now and then! It’s just nice to have reminders to get us back on track!
Love this post. With online it’s especially easy to compare. Even when people are trying to be real you know they sugar coated it a little bit and posted a photo or whatever that they still liked!
Definitely! It takes a lot more effort and heart to actually admit when things aren’t perfect. I always appreciate posts and bloggers to include a glimpse into “real life” every once in a while. 😉
Katie @ Live Half Full
I agree with this post 110%! Thanks for the great reminder. I like to remind myself “you do you” on a regular basis. That’s all you can do, no need to worry about the past or what other people are doing. Just do what makes you happy!
I like that. You do you, girl! <3
Erin @ Her Heartland Soul
I love this post so much!! So much good perspective. Happiness is our choice! And that is a beautiful thing!
Amen! Such a beautiful gift.
Jessie @ Just Jessie
These are all wonderful reminders! I’ve been working hard the last year or so to really try to have a positive outlook on life and, while I definitely fall sometimes, I love trying to be as positive as possible! Happiness is definitely a choice and it’s something I choose to strive for. I especially love the one about living in the moment. That’s definitely something I struggle with – I’m a future girl. When will I get married? Will I even GET married? Will I ever even have a boyfriend again? What about this? What about that? It’s exhausting! That’s definitely something I need to work on. Even my job is based in the future – I’m an event planner – can’t get away from it! 🙂 Thanks for writing this, I love reading posts like this.
Ha, I was too! Guilty of everything I mentioned in that point. I did get married, but I still questioned things afterwards and asked when THIS and THIS will happen. It’s a battle you’ll never win or get answers to! It’s exhausting is right. We’re much better off seeing where life takes us than trying to plan every little detail. Just try to stick to event planning and leave the life planning out of your hands! 😉
Emma @ Life's A Runner
I love everything in this post, but especially the “living in the present” one. I have so definitely been living in the future – I’m so excited to go home in 2 weeks, and not have to deal with awful roommates / school stress, but I should really just take a step back and appreciate everything I do have here! Tons of close friends, nice weather, and independence. 🙂
Aw, I bet. I remember those times too. Enjoy the time in school while you’re there! I’m sure people tell you that all the time, but it’s so true!
Ashley @ A Lady Goes West
Oh Heather, how much I try to LIVE IN THE PRESENT, and it’s so not easy. 🙁
Fit Life Pursuits
These are so true and it has taken me a while to learn a lot of these lessons! Now at 30 years old I have to say that I have finally moved past it all and am much happier!
Me too! Awesome, Lindsey 🙂
New to your blog and today this really resonated with me thanks for putting it out there for me to remind myself and teach my girls what I sometimes forget
Welcome, Jenn! Thank you for reading, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. <3
Pretty Little Grub
Love, love, love this! I think I need to remind myself of a lot of these points often though. Getting caught in the comparison trap happens easily especially with other bloggers. But I try and remind myself I don’t post everything and neither do they. They have crappy days too.
Oh girl, it does. You just have to keep telling yourself that. Everyone is human. Everyone struggles and has bad days, just like the good days shared online. 😉
Great tips we all need to remember sometimes 🙂
This post is really great. I needed to read this today!
Aw, thanks so much for reading. <3
Thank you for this post! I’m usually very positive and a “live in the moment” type of person, but this week I’ve been focusing on future stressors (job changes and paying for grad school in the fall) and feeling uncharacteristically down. This was a good reminder that happiness is a choice, not something that just “happens” to us.
Thank you for reading, Kimberly! Job changes and financial commitments are definitely stress-worthy. But, you just have to take it one change and day at a time. We all have our good and our bad days, promise. You have a choice to wake up in a good or bad mood every day! 🙂
I totally agree with all of these. I’m personally really bad at living in the moment… and not planning obsessively. But I’m working on it! (And it is making me happier, even if it’s hard.)
It’s a struggle a lot of us deal with. Planning is natural in our nature, so it’s hard to let go of control. But, the sooner you realize it’s not all in your control, the more at ease you will be with wherever life takes you!
I definitely reheated my coffee before reading this! So, I was just thinking about buying a new outfit for an alumni event next weekend. I’ve lost weight and could use some smaller clothes, but this has reset my concern about impressing people while there. Why not focus on having fun instead? Thanks!
Aw, hi Mandy! Thanks so much for reading. Congratulations on the weight loss! I say dress however makes you feel confident, like your best you. You’ll have fun no matter what you end up wearing!
Jenny @ Support Your Beauty
These things exactly tell me who am I right now. That is why I always have confusions and doubts. I am always holding back and take things for granted. I want to say thank you, for touching people’s lives. This blog is an inspiration. I want to wake up every morning with positive thoughts and focus only on the present. Thank you!
Thanks for your great story. It gives me a helpful knowledge.
You have mentioned and explained this article very well. The most loved point is, living up to other’s expectations. This is so true. No matter how much you do for others. You will never be able to fulfill their expectations. Every person is different, and have their opinion towards the things. It is impossible to have exactly same view as others. So, it is better to live your life the way you want.