When I ask my clients what they are looking for in their work with me, many of them say that they are looking for contentment or happiness in their lives.
There is a struggle happening out there, the war between our deepest selves, and the self we are presenting to the world, and it leaves us feeling unbalanced and fragmented.
There is SO MUCH PRESSURE coming at us from all sides. We live in a time where thousands of bits of information flash before our eyes on a daily basis. We are constantly seeing the highlight reel of the WORLD on social media, the peak moments of the highest achieving people on the PLANET; the best athletes, the prettiest models, the highest earners. We see entrepreneurs, philanthropists, artists, all ‘living their best life’ online every damn day, and it’s hard not to compare ourselves to that.
Where does this leave us? Feeling inadequate, not enough.
This could play out in one becoming an overachiever, constantly struggling to DO MORE, DO BETTER. OR, it could cause one to just say ‘f@*! it, what’s the point?’ and not even try.
Either way, we are left with a feeling of discontent and unhappiness. There is a feeling that we are falling short of our potential, that we are not living our fullest lives, that we should be doing more. There is a feeling that we are not enough.
SO. What to do about this?
First of all, DROP THE COMPARISONS.
Comparing ourselves to others is a useless, futile practice. There will always be people doing ‘better’ than you and there will always be people doing ‘worse’ than you. No matter what. Always. This is YOUR life. YOURS. What other people are up to has no bearing on YOUR life whatsoever. They have been living a completely different life than you, with completely different influences and opportunities for every single second up until this moment so comparison is pointless.
Ok, now that we’ve let go of useless comparisons, what’s next?
DROP THE SHOULDS.
We are constantly ‘shoulding on ourselves’. We should be getting up earlier, we should be eating better, we should be working out more, we should be writing that book. We take all the pressure from the outside world, internalize it, and make it our inner monologue. All this does is make us feel ‘shouldy’ about our lives, adding to the feeling of discontent and unhappiness.
Ok, once we’ve cleared away the ‘shoulds’, what is left?
This is the interesting work. This is the part where we get clear on what is REALLY, TRULY important to you. What are the things that fill you up, light you up, energize you, calm you? Together we will mine for those moments in your life where you felt truly STRONG and ALIVE. When you are connected with these important things, whatever they may be, acting on them has a positive impact on yourself, and can have a positive impact on the people around you. This is the stuff that matters, and this is the stuff that will bring you contentment and happiness.
Sometimes these important things don’t look how we expect them to. Some part of our mind, the ‘should’ part, might tell us these things are meaningless or trivial, but the deeper part of you knows better. If it brings you joy to make things, garden, connect with people, be in nature, or go see a movie in the middle of the day, then DO those things! Cultivating these moments in your life allow your brain to relax, the stress to melt away, and it helps top up the energy reserves.
Here’s the big secret: happiness/contentment is not a long sustained state of being, happiness is found in a moment. The more MOMENTS of happiness you bring into your life, the more overall happiness you will feel.
So stop putting so much pressure on yourself, get clear on what really matters to you, and do more of THAT. Those little moments add up to a life of contentment and peace.
And if you need help with any of this, I’m just a phone call away!