LOVE THE LIFE YOU LIVE
Do you ever think you should be living a more extraordinary life? Yes? All the time? Of course you do! We’re all under immense pressure to keep up with the Joneses. Deep down, we all want to feel connected and relevant. (Spoiler alert: We are, just by being alive.)
It’s easy to see this as a character flaw and point the finger at social media, but the truth is, we’re actually programmed to care about what others think of us as a matter or survival, and, like it or not, how we feel about ourselves often hinges on it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be admired and loved, but the anxiety it causes can create a lot of problems. So, how can we approach this fact of life in a healthy way?
The Zen writer William Martin says: “Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
Here are three secrets to living an extraordinary ordinary life:
1/ Create rituals.
99% of life is sameish. We go through the same motions, day in, day out. Brushing teeth, doing laundry, going to work, making dinner, paying bills, washing dishes. You get the picture. Don’t waste life waiting around for the big stuff to happen. Learn to find joy in the small stuff and everyday will feel special. Rituals bring joy to the drudgery and give meaning to the mundane. As a challenge, think of the most annoying, or most boring, or most challenging part of your day. Got it? There’s probably more than one, but just start with one. Now, set an intention to make it one of your favorite parts of the day by creating a ritual around it.
2/ Define success.
Do you ever find yourself comparing yourself to someone else and falling into a deep hole of despair? I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there. Here’s the thing: Life is a struggle. As Teddy Roosevelt said: “Nothing worth having comes easy.” And here’s the other thing: You can’t have it all, at least not all at once. As Alain de Botton says: “Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.” So you have to decide what you are personally willing to struggle for and how much you are personally willing to sacrifice for it. Everyone’s answer will be different, which is why you have to stop living by other people’s rules and start living on your own terms to ever feel content.
3/ Maintain clarity.
We live in a society that puts undue emphasis on what we do for a living, when our most important work is being a good person, maintaining a loving relationship, raising a well-adjusted child. Know this: If you’re doing the important work of life, then there is already so much to admire about the life you’re living — even if it’s not always Instagrammable.
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