You may have seen this slogan in my Instagram profile or in one of my posts. I use it quite frequently and try to live by it every day. But what does it actually mean? Why do I focus on it so much? How did I come up with this phrase? And how can YOU practice it?
About 2 years ago I started getting serious about Instagram and searching through other bloggers feeds and posts. I wanted to start blogging and needed to find out more about this whole new world of digital influencing in social media. I looked through super popular bloggers like Lauren Conrad and Barefoot Blonde, and also some local Chicago and Milwaukee ladies in the scene. What they all had in common was comments praising their perfection in some aspect of their look or their lives. Other women wanting someone else’s life or wanting to BE the blogger… “OMG You’re perfect”, “I want your life”, “I wish I had your hair” . It made me kind of sad for womankind. We can be so envious sometimes. Once a girl at a party complimented my dress and said she wanted to BE me… it made me so uncomfortable. I can’t even remember my awkward response.
Flashback to little old me in the second grade. A new girl transferred in to my school a year above me. Her name was Brynn. Tall, blonde, so pretty with this unique name I’d never heard of. She also made that plaid jumper look amazing. I distinctly remember staring at her at recess one day, thinking “I wish I were like Brynn. She’s so cool and pretty.” But then immediately thought, “Wait. I can feel cool and pretty too!” I swear this moment was where my self confidence was born. Brynn didn’t stay at my school very long, and I probably only talked to her a couple times. But she made this incredible impression on me. I almost named my new daughter Brynn. Truth.
As women, we fantasize about other women’s lives being so happy and perfect. But why? Because she’s a 5’10 blonde? Has a giant kitchen full of carrera marble? Honeymooned in Bali? Has a husband, 2 kids and a dog? But she also has struggles and stress that we don’t know about. Sure some girls get all the luck and some are straight spoiled. Their biggest dilemma being where to vacation next! (Insert eye roll emoji) Either way, we need to get over it and love living in our OWN lives. You’ll never be her. You’ll never look like her. And most of all you’ll never be happy trying to copy or be like someone else! Sure we all like to be inspired and have goals to strive for. But don’t let it consume you or turn into negativity. I don’t agree that jealousy can be inspiring. It’s a negative emotion and honestly, it’s unnecessary. I don’t like feeling jealous or anyone feeling jealous of me. Don’t hate, appreciate! I wasn’t always married with a beautiful baby girl, and a garden in the backyard. I spent a lot of time as a single girl in my Chicago studio, with approximately $100 to my name. Those were especially the times I had to find ways to love living in my life.
SO… how did I do it? How do I do it now? How can you do it too? It’s actually kind of easy and only requires a positive mindset. (Be realistic with yourself, no one is Positive Polly all the time. We all turn into Negative Nancy’s occasionally. Be kind to yourself and ride it out. This too shall pass.) Essentially it is just focusing on the little joys in daily life. The “flashes of delight” if you will. The moments that give you those good vibes even if they’re fleeting. Here are some examples of things that make me love living in my life:
• Drinking my favorite tea at exactly the right temperature. Maybe I should time it out? Because burning your mouth is the worst! But seriously a cup of hot tea in the afternoon is calming and delightful. At work or at home, sipping some tea is a great feeling. Bonus points if it’s cold, rainy or dreary outside.
• Getting into a made bed. I mean, wow! I just love it. Something so simple that brings joy every night. Yes, I make the bed every single day. Partially because it makes the whole bedroom feel cleaner and more together. But mainly because I love getting in at night to rest and relax.
• Indoor gardening/plant life. Filling the house with plants and succulents is a sure way to make me love every space in my home. Bringing nature inside is super important here in the Midwest since everything outside get grey and cold for half of the year. Plus indoor plants help with the quality of air me and my family are breathing. Keeping my plants alive and growing gives me a sense accomplishment and is actually a relaxing task.
• Clean and vacuumed living room. Similar to the bed being made, keeping a clean living room feels like you’ve almost got your whole life together! This is most likely the room where you watch TV and spend the most time with your loved ones. Regular vacuuming, dusting and clearing any messes reduces the visual clutter that can be distracting. If I let it go too long or get too messy it will incite anxiety and I’ll go into super stress cleaning mode until it’s acceptable and allows me to relax.
• A healthy, organic meal and lemon water. “Let thy food be thy medicine.” Eating raw, organic fruits and vegetables feels amazing! I know that I’m practicing preventive medicine, putting the best fuel into my body and taking care of myself. I remember the first time I bought a lemon and sliced it up at home for my water… man did I feel frickin’ fancy! LOVE lemon water and my digestive system does too.
• Wearing a favorite outfit. For me looking good has always equaled feeling good. Just yesterday I put on new top, that actually fits with my maternity jeans and new flats. And even though I did get spit up on, I know my day was bettering because I didn’t feel gross and lazy in my robe.
• Manicured nails. I’ve been doing my own nails since I was 11 or 12. Ever since then I try to keep them nicely painted because it’s a sure way to feel better and put together. I actually kind of hate having them unpainted or even chipped. We see our hands SO much throughout day and our lives. So why not manicure them and make them nice to look at?!
• Amateur photography. Taking pretty pictures has become one of my favorite hobbies. Not just for Instagram or blogging, but to capture beautiful moments and the feelings they evoke. There’s still a ton on buttons and settings on my Nikon DSLR that I don’t know how to use. But practice makes perfect and I love snapping pretty pictures on vacation, at home or just out and about ni everyday life.
• Dining al fresco. YES!!! This is an easy one for us here in the Midwest. Once that weather warms up and patios are open it feels like such a treat to sit outdoors and enjoy food and drinks. In the Summer I would eat every meal outside if I could. There’s just something about hanging out on a roof deck or patio that equals almost instant happiness.
These are just some mine. (And most of them do not require spending much money or any at all! Because money can be a big source of stress.) Maybe it’s reading a book, chatting with your BFF, adding to a savings account or going out for a walk/run with your dog that makes you love living in your own life. I recently heard a quote from a new book called Solve for Happiness by Mo Gawdat. It went something like “We find happiness when life is meeting our expectations.” Holy cow! So simple and so accurate. If you have moments throughout each day, when those little expectations are repeatedly being met, it will contribute to love living in your life more and more! So set some intentional expectations, like that afternoon tea or wearing your favorite booties that you’re certain can be met. And then focus on those feelings of joy when they happen. Pause. Feel the warmth in your soul. Then go about your day, just a little bit happier. I want you to love living in your own life every single day! And next time you see that social media pic of the pretty girl, huge house, or perfect style, just send love and hope that she is loving living in the life that she has too.