A piece of my personality is always striving for more, for better. This can be a good thing when it comes to learning and growing and being the best version of our self.
However, if I am not careful, this mantra of MORE, BETTER can lead me to a place where the thought process changes ever so slightly and becomes “NOT ENOUGH”. Before I know it, I am looking around me and thinking…
“I am not enough.” “I could do better.” “I should do more.”
“I do not have enough stuff in my life.” “I wish that I had more.”
And then maybe there is another subtle shift in thinking that leads to a bad case of the IF ONLYs…
“If only we replaced the roof and siding and painted the inside of our house….then I would be satisfied with our home.”
“If only I could find a little more time to exercise each week….then I would be satisfied with my body.”
“If only we had a little less chaos in our family life, a little more space in our schedule….then I would be relaxed and happy.”
The problem with this mindset is that you never ever get to the end of those statements. Because once those first conditions have been met, you simply substitute the next one. Now we need to pave the driveway and refinish the basement before we are satisfied with the house. Now I need to be able to fit into those pants in the back of my closet from before I had three beautiful babies if I am to be satisfied with my body. Now I need to find quiet time to meditate every day if I am to be happy and relaxed.
Maybe this is starting to sound depressing and pessimistic. But I like to think of myself as a glass is half full type of person so that’s not my point at all. My point is just that we need to be mindful of where our thoughts can lead us if we are not careful.
And, you know what, I don’t want to go through life always feeling like I’m two steps behind Happiness. Or like I’m always chasing Satisfaction around the corner but never catch up and get to sit down and have a cup of tea with her. It’s exhausting. And, in the meantime, I have run right past all of the other people and places on the road and missed out on all that they could have showed me. I want to stroll purposely through life with a big ol’ smile on my face and learn as much as I can from the people and places along the way.
This doesn’t mean that we should let the house fall to pieces or never work on a home improvement project again. This doesn’t mean that I should stop exercising or eating healthy. This doesn’t mean that I should stop looking for downtime in our schedule or making time for meditation and family bonding activities.
But it does mean that we should look for that sweet spot where we are feeling productive in whatever way is most meaningful to us at the time but not feeling bad about the things that are not getting done. And it means that we experience each day as it is happening and look for small joys that light up our life. Easier said than done. But, if we are not careful, we will forget what it is we are chasing in the first place and might become lost along the way. I am constantly reminding myself to stop running to the next thing and to slow down and experience the moment that I am in right now. So, for 2017, I have a new mantra…well, maybe two new mantras….
“I’ve got everything I need, and nothing that I don’t.” – Zac Brown Band (Homegrown)
“We’ve got everything we need right here and everything we need is enough.” – Jack Johnson (Banana Pancakes)