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!
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