Want to love your life? I mean it–seriously–love the life you have today, just as it is? Not the filtered version we put on Instagram or upload to Facebook but the real, messy, wonderful life we live each day. Here’s a few tips to help you see the joy, feel the love and embrace your life just as it is right now, in this very moment in time. And, best of all, these tips will not require you to declutter your home, lose 10 pounds, get a promotion, have a baby or take a trip around the world to eat, pray and love!
1. Accept yourself. This is easier said than done, I realize. We are constantly being fed messages by the media and our society that we need more stuff or that we need to buy this or that to be happy. Magazine covers are filled with ideas and tips to help us decorate, remodel or organize our homes, find “the one,” start a family and then love every minute of parenthood! Let’s take a break from all of this doing and simply choose to accept ourselves and our lives just the way they are today. Go to the bathroom and smile when you look in the mirror. I mean it! Show yourself the same kindness you show your children, your friends and your spouse. You deserve it! You are worthy of love, compassion and joy!
2. Stop comparing! Teddy Roosevelt once said that “comparison is the thief of joy” and that’s really true. It’s hard not to compare our lives to others but it’s a vicious cycle that leads to feelings of unhappiness, unworthiness and shame. You are awesome and unique because your life is your own creation. Spend less energy focusing on others and more on yourself. If you are not satisfied in an area of your life, direct your energy toward making small changes to get you where you ultimately hope to end up! I love social media and clearly feel comfortable sharing a lot of my inner thoughts with my friends and readers of this blog, but I am also careful not to spend too much time on Facebook perusing the lives of my friends and wondering if I should be doing x more often, if I should be signing up our daughters for x class or activity or if I should be planning our vacation and summer schedule now. Facebook is great for connecting with friends but try to strike a healthy balance between time spent online and time spent in the real world visiting with friends over the phone–or better yet–in person.
3. Have faith! I feel blessed to have a faith-based life and to have found a home for myself and my family in a religious community in Los Angeles. I know that not everyone believes in God and I’m not trying to convert you or my friends to any religion in particular. I respect each person’s beliefs and know that each one of us has our own path to walk to living a connected and spiritual life. I do encourage you to consider dropping in at a service at your church, synagogue, mosque or Buddhist temple. If nothing else, perhaps you will be inspired by the sermon or meet a new friend and, in the best case scenario, you may feel a real sense of community within those walls.
4. Make time for play! Our kids play every day. They have recess at school and/or PE because research shows that kids do better in school when they have time to play, be active and get some of their energy out of their young bodies. Adults need time for play, too, yet we often push exercise to the bottom of our priority list when life gets busy, full or stressful. In fact, when life feels overwhelming, we need play time all the more! Give yourself 10 minutes today to take a walk outside if the weather allows it. Before your next meeting at work, take 10 minutes to yourself to relax, drink a tall glass of water and walk around your office or to the coffee shop next store for a mini break. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, find a local gym that has child care on site and make working out a part of your weekly schedule. Play time is just as important for adults as it is for children!
5. Practice gratitude! Start a nightly gratitude practice by writing down a list of the 5 things/reasons/people you are grateful for in a journal you keep by your nightstand. If you’re interested in learning ways to incorporate gratitude into your family life, you might consider reading my post from September about cultivating an attitude of gratitude in your family. Living a life through the lens of gratitude puts everything into perspective. Grateful people see the glass half full because they are focused on the good. There is so much good in all of our lives, no matter our individual challenges and circumstances. We all have a lot to be grateful for!