Thursday, 18 February 2016

Learning To Appreciate Where I'm At

This post came about after a chat with my internet babe Sabrina. We were talking about how challenging it is to save money for the future and the stress she was feeling about moving home with her husband, and at one point she said, "You are so lucky. You only have to worry about yourself."

It struck a nerve because the past six months have seen me spending an unhealthy amount of time thinking that I was really unlucky. I saw myself as the 23-year-old girl who is always single, living at home with her parents, with no obvious next step career-wise. To have a happily married friend with a home of her own suggest that the grass might be greener on my side of the street was a genuine revelation to me.

I'm sure you have noticed it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the little voices in all our heads; the ones that say, "You should be doing X; you shouldn't be doing Y. Look at all these beautiful people who have it better than you." I am most certainly not the first to observe that social media facilitates self-comparison, and I have often caught myself wondering how much of our online worlds are driven by this desire to aspire; to focus on admiring the lives of others, rather than appreciating our own.

I've also heard it said that worrying is one of those things that feels seductively productive; paradoxically it is as if by mulling over our insecurities, we believe we are doing something about them. Stepping back and letting go of this urge to endlessly evaluate ourselves can seem to be an incredibly tall order.

I have found that it helps to remind myself that in fact, any one of us can become convinced that someone else's life is rich with blessings that we lack. At least she is pretty/skinny/smart, our brains are so well trained to blurt out. At least she has a wonderful home/career/family life.

It hasn't been easy to say to myself that hey, my circumstances mean I can travel this summer, just as I've always wanted to do. What's more, all in all I am actually very lucky indeed... and such a critical part of my minimalism journey has been learning to stop believing that I need something and training myself to see what I have.

This month I started a little gratitude jar. It's not been a daily thing, but when something unexpectedly nice has happened I've written it down so that I can come back to it and feel thankful. Slowly but surely I am learning that it doesn't matter what I have; in my book, what matters is what I do and how well I treat people in my life.

Do you feel the pressure of self-comparison? Is it something you struggle with, or have you been able to find ways to deal with it? You guys always have excellent insight so I would love to hear from you!


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