Happiness. What does that mean? Happiness is a warm brownie. A brand new box of ammo for your favorite rifle. Stopping by the gas station to get pizza for lunch and the only slice left in the case is your favorite one.
But what about not-happiness? Let’s call it crappiness. And good gravy, is it contagious or what?
I have always had this intense drive to be my best me, but there are really some days where I just have absolutely no interest in doing that. I’m going to walk with my head down. I’m not going to smile at that stranger. I’m going to settle, for once. And that’s okay.
As a young mother in this bizarre and ever-changing world, I am really completely sick and tired of people telling me how I should be. “Feed her this.” “Wear this.” “Whoa, don’t do that!” “Why is your hair always wrapped up in a mom bun? Can’t you wear it down?” “Don’t discipline her; let her be a kid.” My response:
Let her…STAHP. Hooooooold it. How about let me be me? A mom? A wife? My own person? How about let me make decisions that will affect the future of me and my family? What a strange concept.
Human culture has long been conceived on sharing ideas with one goal in mind; how can I make life easier, different, run-a-little-more-smoothly for someone else? Sometimes I let it roll down my back, but sometimes it pulls me into a funk, and that’s okay. But how can we power through that barrier, that funk?
Never forget: You control what you do. This is probably the easiest thing you can ever forget. I was powering through a round with my Sensei when I uttered, “ugh, I can’t control my breathing.” Much to my surprise, he responded (I just expected him to continue pummeling me with the pads) with a “then control your breathing. Your brain tells your lungs to inhale, right? Control it.” I was so out of breath, and my muscles were so fatigued. Yet, that was so powerful in that moment, after this tough week, and I immediately focused on my breathing and brought it under control. Similarly, when we are wrapped up in our roles and to-do’s, it’s so easy to tell ourselves “I can’t.” I can’t stand up to them. I can’t fit this in. I can’t go there. I can’t say this. But really… why can’t you? Who says you can’t? Only you says you can’t; don’t fall hostage to you.
How about let me be me?
Be wary of burning out. We live in a busy world. Everyone is busy. It’s all relative, of course; your busy ain’t my busy ain’t El’s busy, but that doesn’t mean the stress isn’t there. Spending too much time finding outlets, expressing those outlets, and trying to resolve the busy can end up turning into more busy and actually add to your stress. Make sure that you are taking time to do the things you want to do; not the things you think you should want to do. Bottomline: Don’t continue to push yourself through something because it fits society’s dynamic. This is your show.
Quit comparing yourself to others and allowing others to compare themselves to you. Yeah, your kid is smart. Yes, my hair is a mess. No, I don’t have money to go out to eat for the fourth time this week, and that’s okay. (Notice a trend here?) I’m not sure when forming comparisons became a basis of life, but I definitely feel like it’s influenced by social media. The availability of information is overwhelming, and as a result, we look at it as a way to say, “ahh, yes. Here is a good, solid set of guidelines by which I should conduct my lifeway.” Wrong. Run far away from that concept, as fast as your legs can carry you. You should only compare yourself against yesterday’s you–what have you done to improve your wellbeing? Also, remember that crappiness we talked about? Totally contagious. (When you openly compare yourself to others, consider your effect on their goals, aspirations, and status! ~The Golden Rule applies.~)
To piggyback on the last point… Screw schedules and timelines. Be married by 25, have kids before 30, and oh, yeah, before any of that… you better have a doctorate or forget your dreams. Poppycock! Everyone has their own way of knocking things out, and what works for one does not work for all. Again, don’t get swallowed up by society’s dynamic. Don’t be afraid to step outside the box and do what makes you happy, even if society says, “lol you’re doing it wrong,” because it’s just as easy to say, “lol, nope.”
Establish a list of goals, little league or big-time. It’s challenging to focus on a reward when you aren’t sure what you’re working toward. Start small: feed myself, do my make-up, buy a new pair of jeans, FaceTime Mom. Go big: start a new degree program, find a better job, start a business, find yourself. Make steps for each goal, and cross them off as you achieve them. It’s not about how far you have to go, but how far you’ve gone. I have learned more about myself in the last year than in the last six years of honest soul-searching by keeping myself accountable through this system.
Set goal; crush goal.
Set goal; crush goal.
Disregard the nay-sayer. You can be the finest, juiciest peach in the entire world, and there is still going to be someone who doesn’t like peaches. Hear me when I say… ain’t a damn thing wrong with that. Again, you are the one who controls what you do, and you are the only one that can set barriers and boundaries and simultaneously crush them. Don’t allow anyone to limit you, and do not fall victim to their crappiness. When you bust through your barriers, they will take note.
Stay focused and goal-oriented. Whether those goals are huge or small, stay focused and crush them. When it gets rough, remember why you started. What influenced you to make the changes to meet this goal? Rome was not built in a day, and neither will you be. Give yourself an adequate amount of time (shoot, don’t even establish an end-game!) for transformation. The biggest let-down to progression is the failure to achieve a timeline. Be mindful of your achievements, and not the time it takes you to achieve them. Finally, remember that reward. An organized apartment? A clean car? A higher-paying job? Feeling comfortable in your own skin and mind? When you crush these barriers, you are reminded of your own capability. Keep your eyes on the prize.
Times are tough, but you are tougher. For the love of experience, be sure to love yourself.