Don’t you love those mornings when you wake up in an exceptional mood?
Last night I was on the couch not feeling great and had to cancel family dinner and got absolutely nothing done. But I needed to rest. My stomach needed a food break and I needed to be in bed.
When I did all those things, listening to what my body needed instead of pushing through, I woke up smiling.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about little things that have made a huge difference to how I view life and the more I view life with an open, contented, happy lens – the more joy seems to come into it.
There are little things on this list that can be easy to do and there are massive tasks, but every one of them has made an impact in my thinking and my happiness.
1. Unsubscribe to sites that will email you “deals” and ask you to buy something.
The wanting, the needing, the fear of missing out on something great….I get it….but it’s a self-created cycle. When I unsubscribed to every single site that tried to sell me something not only did my inbox clear up and cause me considerably less stress but the wanting disappeared. The fear of missing out went away and the thoughts that I “needed” to grab this bargain, disappeared. You know what’s left? Contentment with what I have. Believe me you will save more money by never seeing these deals in the first place and when you actually need something – paying full price won’t hurt like it used to because you haven’t bought anything in ages. And the best thing? You will like the item more than the price.
2. Stop watching the news.
I used to monitor the media as a job. I’d type up summaries of every news bulletin aired which would then be emailed to clients if it concerned or mentioned them. The news is so repetitive that if something is extremely important to know about it will get to your ears whether or not you read it, watch it, listen to it. You know what regular news does? Cause anxiety and worry about things that have never touched your world. By focusing on it it can bring fear, sleepless nights and a general ill-at-ease with the world. Its true that what you don’t know won’t hurt you.
I stopped watching the news about fifteen years ago. When I did this I stopped worrying about people breaking into my house at night, I stopped worrying about strange and rare diseases hitting my family, I stopped the anxiety I had about flying.
The only thing you have to gain by worrying is ill-health. Life happens. Deal with it then.
If its on in my house the kids are nowhere near it – can you imagine their fear when hearing about things like stabbings, motor accidents, death, robberies etc constantly? I did however become an avid follower of E-news. A light-hearted look at celebrities and what was going on with them. I watched religiously for years and you know what happened?
Comparison to my life. Judgement of them. Body image alterations. Aspirations to acquire luxury goods to emulate them.
When I stopped watching this went away and you know what was left? Contentment.
3. Stop gossiping.
I was never a huge gossip but I did like to indulge now and then. Loved the feeling of being part of something, liked being on the right side of the gossip. Now, there are statements of facts “so and so has a new boyfriend” and then there is gossip “so and so has a new boyfriend and she’s really being fake” or something similar. You know how it works.
You know what I realised? Gossiping leads to ill-feelings about yourself. Did I really say that? Will that get back to them? I’ve hurt someone by saying something I never should have said.
Ill-feelings about yourself are not a cycle that should continue. Most gossip is started because we don’t feel good enough. We like to compare, or make ourselves feel bigger by making someone else smaller.
So I stopped. When I hear it I try not to say anything or get involved. Silence is better than words sometimes. If I make a mistake and find myself dragged into a conversation that shoudn’t be happening I try and forgive myself or make it right. Whatever will hurt another less.
4. Stop Comparing
This is a huge one and definitely one that I am still wholeheartedly working on. Telling myself I am enough when I see a blogger getting huge numbers reading their words. Telling myself I am enough, I have enough, when I see an amazing outfit or a person getting a book deal. Telling myself my kids are enough and are exactly where they need to be, when some other kid their age is swimming, walking, reading faster than they are.
Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses and you can’t just choose the best parts of that person and compare it to you and your whole life.
Make your life something you are proud of – not something you think everyone else will be envious of.
I was going to write another point on judging but comparing and gossiping have really covered judgment. There is only one reason for it. You are not content in your own world. Let them be and you will free yourself.
5. Stop Dieting
When I stopped dieting and focused on eating the healthiest meal I possibly could eat each time I ate – I stopped worrying about food. I stopped feeling guilt about food. I stopped thinking about food as an enemy and embraced it for what it is – fuel and pleasure. Yesterday I ate the most amazing ravioli filled with collard greens and done in a walnut/butter sauce. It wasn’t a salad and I didn’t feel like a salad. I chose the healthiest thing that I felt like at the time and I was rewarded. A delicious ice-cream (without numbers but with actual real ingredients in it) is such a good treat as is real, good quality chocolate.
I’m not on a diet. I’m not on one of my “cheat” days when I have something decadent. This is my life and I am choosing to eat good food. I have never felt better and I am never sick with guilt over the choices I am making.
6. Throw out things that do not bring you joy
Declutter, declutter and declutter again. Look around your house and your closet and give. Or sell. Sell for a cause. Sell for your cause. Maybe those designer handbags you never use will give you money towards some awesome accommodation on your next trip?
When I look back at my favourite moments and think about my memories it’s all about places I’ve been, experiences I’ve had and the people in them. Things are just things, although I have spent much of my life pursuing material possessions and experiencing extreme guilt over the money used for them.
7. Start Thinking Of Your Children As People
We all love our children. We know that every person with a child shares that same unique love you can see your children’s perceived inadequacies as a sign that you are not parenting right.
They cannot right wrongs that have occurred to you. If you wanted to be a musician and your parents wouldn’t let you – sending your child to music lessons when they don’t like it will not fix the problem.
You cannot over-schedule them into being an athlete, musician, academic. Children will find their own gifts and let you know where they want to spend their time. As long as it’s reasonable and safe, listen to them.
Cruel to be kind is not the way forward. Always think from their point of view – would you choose to cry alone or do you like your husband/best friend/mother to comfort you. Do you like being thrown into terrifying situations – new job, new skill, public speaking…without any empathy, understanding, comfort, coddling?
I have done it – I’ve left babies to cry, I’ve thrown kids into the pool.. when I thought they were being silly and I’ve downplayed how scary “news” at school can be. Each and every time I’ve regretted it. I was either comparing, judging or believing that I was being judged.
In fact every time I yell I try and think about what I could have done better. Children want to please you. They love to be helpful, they love routine, they love to follow lists and they love to know you are on their side and that you understand.
Every day I try and be a better Mother by trying to understand that they are not something I control but someone I can offer guidance and love to. They are their own person, let them be themselves.
8. Lose the guilt over money
Guilt does not mean that over-spending when you can’t afford it is fine. Feeling guilty doesn’t change a thing. It’s a nice diversion for your brain to avoid the real issue. Why are you feeling guilty? Why did you spend? Why did you choose to spend then beat yourself up about it? Do you not believe you are worthy? Do you not feel enough?
Mostly I was overcome with perceived “need” to keep up with everyone else, to have the latest and the best and to alleviate that wanting for a small period of time. But at the end of the day I didn’t believe I was worthy of spending money on myself and I didn’t believe that I was enough without the things.
When that “want” goes away (for me by not regularly reading fashion magazines, visiting the shops more often than needed and not getting a flurry of things sent to my inbox) the result is peace.
Start by removing the temptation. Work on comparison. Work on self-love. Thank the bill senders in your mind for believing you can afford to pay instead of dreading them and start to change your mind-set.
Love is free. Fun is free. Laughing is free.
Don’t get hung up on money and it won’t get hung up on you.
9. Know that this is a new day
Your past does not define you. Everyday you get up and have the opportunity to be better. Every time I have rehashed the past or used it as an excuse it feels wrong. It is wrong because you change, you grow, you learn and you move forward.
If you are feeling guilt because of your parenting past, your past life and loves or your past way of viewing the world then know that you are growing and that the issues are coming up for you because it’s time to let go and not let them define who you are today.
It is always a challenge to live and let live but work on it and be free.
That rude person behind the counter was having a bad day. Your husband truly didn’t realise he’d given you more than you could handle. Your friends didn’t leave you out on purpose.
Or maybe everything you thought was true.
Either way by holding on to the resentment instead of taking action to rectify the situation you are hurting yourself. You are feeling bad because you are allowing yourself to believe that someone else’s actions mean that you are not enough. You do not feel worthy.
The pesron who truly needs forgiveness is yourself. Forgive yourself for not saying anything, for letting things get like this, for your past, for today, for yelling at your kids and be better.
Forgiveness allows freedom of thought. It allows happiness in and you are not trapped by your own perceptions.
Forgive to let yourself be free and then be honest with who you need to be honest with and move one. With or without them.
These 10 things listed are so important to my well-being and ingrained in who I am that I wanted to share because I am happier because of them. I want you to be happier. I want the world to be kinder. I want people to feel the peace and contentment that I feel and realise that joy is yours for the taking.