I often used to do this, look at my friend’s lives and think how much better their life is than mine. Or not even just friends, people walking down the street, or on the bus or driving a car. Anyone really. Envy and if I had what they had then I would be happy.
It’s taken me a lot of work to move away from that very destructive thought process, because really that is all it ever was, my thought process, and my brain persuading me that my own life was crap. Which is of course nonsense. When I looked at my own life properly, I have a wonderful life. I am healthy, well with a few middle aged issues thrown in, but nothing of any consequence. I have children, which at one point in my life I never thought would happen. I am surrounded by a loving, caring and consistent family. I have a job, in fact a part-time job which is even better. I even have a really really cute dog. So what’s not to like, what’s not to love. What in fact is not to invest in.
Society today bombards us with images of other people having a fantastic time. But the key word here is ‘images’ because that is all they are, a snapshot, a photograph, which with today’s technology could bear absolutely no resemblance to the original image. The image does not show the models anxiety before the shoot because her skin is covered in spots because she doesn’t eat properly in case she gains weight. The perfect 6 abbs man with the hair free, glistening chest who is saving up for a nose job as he is just not happy with how it looks right now. He puts himself under so much pressure to ‘look’ perfect he can’t be in a relationship because he can’t stand himself and won’t commit until everything about him is ‘perfect’.
Facebook shows people surrounded by friends at various occasions, everyone smiling, looking their best. People on holidays with their perfect family setups, their wonderful achieving children, who are doing so well in school or working so hard towards their exams.
They don’t show the bickering that happened before the photograph, the person who wishes they were somewhere else other than with these people. They don’t show the teenage boy struggling with school because he doesn’t fit into this rigid educational system and is constantly being told he has failed.
They don’t show the hard everyday slog of life that we all have to endure to just get by, the relentless cycle of working and paying bills. The person sitting in a crowded pub, surrounded by people and yet they feel so alone, so depressed, or even just a bit fed up.
All the time we are looking with envy at other people’s lives, we are neglecting our own. All the time we are striving for perfection, we can’t see that we have it already. Our body is an amazing thing. No matter how tall, small, what size, shape, or even where it actually is. It works for us. It enables us to move around, it enables us to have deep pleasure, it enables us to laugh, to cry, to feel, to sense, to see, to hear, to smell. It’s incredible and yet we spend so much time moaning about it.
My boobs are too big or small, my hair too curly, too straight, my legs are too fat, thin, and so on. We spend vast amounts of time wanting to look and feel different and if we did, then we would be happy.
Yet if we simply accepted ourselves exactly as we are and enjoyed it, what would that feel like? If we praised ourselves on our own body everyday in the same way we do for others, how would that feel?
If we accepted that where we are in our life is where we are, what would that feel like? If we stopped wishing our life away and started living our life as it is, what would that feel like?
How much better would your life be if you invested all that time ‘worrying’ about the life you don’t have into ‘enjoying’ the life you actually do have
Try doing that this week, every time you feel yourself wishing for something different, try saying to yourself ‘actually I am OK exactly as I am’ ‘I like myself’. Do a loving kindness meditation everyday for a week and see how you feel in 7 days time.
Water your own garden until it blooms, because you really are worth it.