I want to preface this week’s post by first saying that I am grateful for the life that I live. I’ve got a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and a car to take me places. I feel safe in my environment and am surrounded by people who care about me. I have the freedom to work and earn money, yet the ability to prioritize my education and hobbies. Life is good, but recently I’ve been preoccupied by the thought that I am not living my best life. So, I’ve been taking some time to reflect recently in order to pinpoint why it is that I’m feeling this way. It has taken me a few journaling sessions, some serious venting to my mom, and a long walk with my neighbor’s dog (I was dog-sitting) to finally come to a realization, a few of them actually.
I prevent myself from living my best life by focusing on what I “should” be doing. It’s not that there aren’t things that I should be doing like laundry, homework, and things of that nature. What I’m saying is that some things that are done by others aren’t things that I should necessarily be doing. For example, my amazing twin sister aspires to travel, so last week, she booked a one-way ticket to Australia, where she will be an au pair for anywhere from nine months to two years. I thought to myself, that’s really cool; maybe I should travel. In reality, I’m a home-body and traveling hasn’t proven to be something that I highly enjoy. I also have a friend who works a summer job for 60+ hours per week. When she told me that, I thought wow, I bet she’s going to have a really nice paycheck; maybe I should be working more. I have to remind myself that I have the rest of my life to work when I graduate from college and that working 60+ hours per week is not what I want to be doing. I could go on, but the point is, when I focus on what everyone else is doing, I tend to lose sight on the value in the things that I do and develop a sense of missing out.
I prevent myself from living my best life by subjecting myself to unnecessary self-criticism. The other day, I spent a solid hour ruminating over a failed conversation that I’d had. I berated myself for being awkward in a social situation that, in reality, may not have been as bad as I imagined. I have social anxiety, so sometimes I say the wrong thing or speak too fast. Sometimes, I say too much because the quiet makes me uncomfortable, or I say too little because I get nervous. Usually, I push past the anxiety and it doesn’t have an impact on my social interactions (or I can make a joke about being quirky, which honestly sometimes adds to funny conversations). On occasion, though, I’m just plain awkward. What I need to realize, though, is that awkward situations happen to everyone, and I need to do a better job of being gentle with myself, rather than beating myself up over little things.
I prevent myself from living my best life by my inability to be present in the moment. During my journaling sessions, rants, and walks, I was becoming increasingly frustrated. I kept asking myself what I needed to change in order to be happier, although there’s nothing in my life that I necessarily want or need to change. That’s when I realized, maybe it’s not what I’m doing, but how I’m doing it. I seem to have forgotten how to be mindful of the present moment. I spend so much time analyzing the past and looking toward the future, that I often miss out on the now. Sure, the past and future are both important to consider now and then, but the present is the fleeting moment where you can feel happiness, not just remember it in the past or imagine it in the future.
So, warriors, I hope to find each of you to be living your best lives. If you’re not, I challenge you to consider what it is that makes you feel as though life could be better. If you find that your current situation is in need of an adjustment, I wish for you to achieve that. I believe that our thoughts can be powerful, so if you find that it’s your current view of your situation that needs changing, I send you positive vibes!
Peace & hugs (and positive vibes),