It’s all too easy to get caught up in the “what ifs” and the “if onlys”. But that way madness lies. It’s wonderful to have dreams and hopes for the future but it’s also important to embrace the life you have now.
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Embrace the Life You Have
When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100 percent of the time. – Byron Katie
Allowing regrets, disappointments, envy or dissatisfaction much head space makes for an unhappy life.
We all know we can’t change the past yet many people spend too much time there, regretting choices, reliving past tragedies and generally feeling sorry for themselves.
Then there are those who can’t enjoy the current moment because they are always focused on the next thing. Never satisfied with what they have, they live in the future where they are certain the next purchase or life change will finally make them happy.
I believe the answer to these problems is to fully embrace the life you have now. Face up to the reality of your life as it is in this moment. Your current location, home, job, weight, family situation, etc. Look at each of these honestly and determine to enjoy your life today. Not sometime in the future when you are making more money, are a size 4, have married the man of your dreams or are living in Paris.
I’m all about actively and intentionally creating a life you love but we have to be careful not to become so future-oriented that we fail to love where we are today. Dream and plan and work for what you want but don’t forget to enjoy the journey.
Here are some aspects of our lives to look at and ask ourselves if we are embracing the here and now:
Do you love the city/town where you live? Many of us have mixed feelings about our current location. Some of us dream of moving to a specific place.
What is it that you love about your dream location? What is the feeling you experience there? Can you figure out a way to have some of that in your current location?
I have long dreamed of living in New Orleans. Although that is looking pretty unlikely, I’ve thought long and hard about how I can bring a bit of The Big Easy to my life in rural Oklahoma. One of the things I enjoy in New Orleans is sitting outdoors in a shady courtyard, listening to music and perhaps enjoying a cocktail. We don’t have a courtyard but we do have a lovely front porch, a covered patio and a huge balcony across the front of our house. I can sit in one of those places and listen to one of my many Spotify playlists. I can even occasionally make myself a cocktail to sip, and more often, a cup of tea or glass of iced coffee.
If you long to live somewhere else but it’s not in the cards right now, ask yourself how you can incorporate some aspects into your current location.
I once had the privilege of living in a house that resonated deeply with my soul – a 1930’s era cottage with all the vintage architectural details I love so much. There is much I truly love about my current house and I’m deeply grateful for it. While it was never my preferred style, over the years we have made improvements and changes. I find that the more I personalize areas of my home, the more I love it.
If you aren’t living in your dream house what can you do to make it more to your liking? Sometimes even a fresh coat of paint can make a world of difference. Look for ideas in magazines or online and flex those DIY muscles.
Some jobs are just not a good fit and if possible, it’s wise to find something you enjoy more. After all, a job eats up a significant portion of one’s life. However, when you find yourself in a job that may not be your ideal you can make it much more tolerable by changing your attitude. Decide that you are going to be the very best at what you do. Go the extra mile and you might just find your job more rewarding.
This one can be pretty tricky. No one makes it through this life without some difficult relationships. Most of us have at least one relationship we wish were different. Try as we might, the success rate for changing another person is pretty dismal.
We can choose to accept things the way they are. We can…and should…set boundaries and determine in advance what to do when those boundaries are crossed. And sometimes, we might need to let a relationship go entirely. Only you can decide the best option but pretending it’s something it’s not or living in the past when it might have been less complicated doesn’t fix anything. Accept the reality of the situation and go from there.
Few of us are completely satisfied with every aspect of our appearance. Maybe we wish we were thinner or taller or had different hair or…
Some things simply cannot be changed. I will never be more than 5’4″ and I’m okay with that one. I do, however, wish I were significantly thinner. And I’m working on that. But it’s important to accept ourselves as we are in this moment, even if we are working to improve some aspect of our appearance.
Dress for the body you have now. Wear attractive, well-fitting clothes. Find a hairstyle that suits you and if you wear makeup learn to apply it. Do the best with what you have to work with and then love yourself exactly as you are.
We are all dealing with challenging circumstances right now. Our lives have been significantly altered by the pandemic and probably will be for quite some time. None of us expected this and it can be really difficult to realize there is so much we can’t control right now.
It’s totally normal to grieve for our former lives and if you’ve lost someone dear to you, grief is compounded exponentially. We’ve all faced disappointments the past several months. Vacations have been canceled. Weddings have been postponed or were dramatically different than planned. Perhaps saddest of all, families have grieved loved ones without the comfort of funerals.
I think the best we can do is acknowledge our feelings, give ourselves grace for however we are coping right now and try to make the best of this crazy time. It is what it is and no amount of wishing will change that. Instead, think of this time as an opportunity to learn what is truly important to you.
Embrace the life you have right now. For most of us there truly is a lot to be grateful for.
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