This week started out pretty rough. I have some very bad habits, and they are NOT healthy. One of them is that I tend to look at other people, and imagine that their lives are easier and rosier than mine. As an only child, I grew up with a mother who loved me beyond compare and still does. She tried to show me how to live life and be happy, but I have let her down time and time again. It isn’t that I am negative, but I tend to feel that I am not enough. I know some of you feel this way sometimes too., so today’s post is for all of us who need a little reinforcement.
It is essential to remember that no matter how much each of us accomplishes in our lives, we will always see someone who has a better grip, at least in our minds. They are more successful, happier, richer, more self-assured – you get the gist. I find myself comparing myself to the mysterious “others,” who lead a more productive, fulfilled life. Who are they and is it true? It doesn’t matter. It’s MY reality, and maybe yours as well. This kind of thought process manifests into the idea that I could be living another, better life. What do I mean? Let me explain.
Often, we get stuck thinking that our past and the lost opportunities are better than our present situations. We muse, “if only I had done this and that, then I would be living my dream life.” Perhaps we feel that if we were living someplace else, we would have a more adventurous and exciting life. I’d be so happy if… and this is where the problem begins. Opportunities get lost because instead of being fully present, front, center, here and now, we are lost, well, nowhere. We are grieving for our past while denying our futures. Nobody can be happy that way. Trust me.
If we choose not to live in the present, then we feel miserable, victimized – my husband calls it the martyr syndrome. It is more like the feeling of not being enough, or of being a failure. This is a lie that reiterates itself, and it comes from my ego and my fears. By being mindful, I am letting go the past and all the should have’s and would have’s. I need to learn to listen to my lovingkindness voice over that of my fractured ego. Maybe you feel the same way.
For example, my ego voice tells me that life would be so much better if I were someplace else. I could be living my dreams and feel happy if only I weren’t stuck here. These thoughts provoke anxiety and the floodgates open as I join the self-pity party. My lovingkindness voice (thank you Dr. Chambers) reminds me that life is a gift, and mine is wonderful because there are so many possibilities. Right here, right now. It’s all a matter of being mindful and present to open my eyes to opportunity. So how do we eject ourselves from the ego rut? I made a list for myself, and I’m sharing it, maybe it will help you as well.
- Breathe. Take a deep, cleansing breath. Let it out and focus. See what is right here, right now. Instead of returning to the past, stay here in the moment. See the possibilities.
- Music. This is a biggie for me, even though I often dwell in the past here. Music, especially your favorite artist or song, gets you in the happy zone. You will find yourself humming or singing along, and soon enough, you’ll be out of that funk.
- Have a mantra. This can simply be a favorite quote- something to bring yourself to the moment, and free your mind of painful memories. My current is “All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream.” -Edgar Allan Poe
- Take a walk. Nature is nurturing. Sometimes, when I feel lost, I take a walk or head to the shore. Something about the waves is calming, soothing and reminds me that there is a bigger world, a bigger picture. I let the rhythm engulf me, watch the birds, and remind myself that like those birds, I too can be free and fly if I choose.
- Be thankful. Gratitude is a powerful antidote to feelings of disillusionment. It helps us to recognize the good things around us, now, in our little corners of the world. Don’t dwell on what others have that you don’t, but be thankful for what you DO have.
- Do one little thing to create the life you want. Ask yourself this: what can I do right now to create the future I see for myself? Make a plan, take a step and make it happen. It’s OK if it happens piece by piece.
- Enjoy today. Be present and notice all the interesting things around us that make life worth living. Enjoy being here, right now, and enjoy who you are.
I have my moments when I wish I chose a different path, or consider the life I might have lived; I am human after all. Now, I see these moments, frustrating and upsetting as they are, as a chance to practice being mindful. Once I gather myself together and pick up the pieces, I can start to make this life the one I will cherish. Or at least try writing the next chapter with motivation.
Stay motivated and caffeinated!😊☕
we are all human and must learn to forgive ourselves. well put, helene!