These days life can sort of… assault you in some whirlwind of work, and box ticking, and relationships, and people wanting time, and others not giving you the time of day. Wanting things, needing other things, helpfully social media reminds you of what you need, want, should be…
…and it can be kind of discouraging sometimes.
Then because you feel discouraged, you feel even worse because everyone else seems to be able to put up with life while you feel on the brink of needing either a King Size Chocolate Bar or a LONG vocation.
Of course when you meet up with people and they ask how you are, you tell them that you’re ‘fiiiiiine,’ and add a ‘just busy.’ for good measure.
I have done this a lot. Especially recently.
Constantly feeling on the outside of what you should be or should do.
The reality is this: who you are right this very second is actually okay. This sounds like a gift card, but it is true.
The more I look at the world we live in the more I think a lot of our day to day is unhelpfully dominated by this constant desire to chase something.
It could be a new job.
It could be a specific look or style – that dress you want, or that make up that you’ve seen.
It could even be a kind of relationship – a friend who truly understands you, a boyfriend, whatever.
We are all chasing something, and these days, more than ever it is like no one is happy to be what they are right now, and allow themselves the time and space to grow.
Personally I feel a part of this wide reaching discontentment comes from being constantly assaulted with an idea of what our lives should look like – but in reality, will never look like.
Photohopped models, products which promise the world, Facebook reminding us constantly just how much more interesting everyone else is than us.
But that’s the issue, those pictures are not a reality. And if we pin up our expectations of life on things that aren’t real themselves, well… the things we are pursing are going to be doomed to fail.
Anyway, so I figured I would share some self revelations I have had recently, in the hope that you too will feel a little more liberated and not constantly standing up to measure yourself up alongside a list of fictitious expectations.
Number One: Relationships are not Transactional.
It seems obvious to say not to be friends with people just because of what they can do for you, but I believe this point extends further than that.
Don’t frame friendships around what you feel you can do for other people.
Sometimes when it comes to friendships you can feel like you need to bring something to the table, to be cool enough, trendy enough, smart enough, interesting enough to be in someone’s friendship circle.
Actually, you don’t. You just need to be you. You don’t need to justify yourself in any way to validate yourself as an ideal friend. The most important friendships are built on relationship.
Don’t feel like you have to offer something to someone other than what you already are. Don’t try and market yourself to them like a product. When it comes to friendship, just be you, it takes a lot of the stress away.
Number Two: (Very closely associated with Number One! And something I have told countless young people over the years) You Don’t Need Ten Million Friends.
As far as I am aware the whole expectation that you need to have a hoard of close BFFS is solely the fault of Facebook.
This is because Facebook has rather unhelpfully spawned this society which resolves around doing things/saying things/being things worthy of ‘likes’ or ‘comments’ all of which are tallied up and the number of which give you some kind of delight knowing that you either a) matter or b) are popular.
This whole concept is really, really unhelpful.
The reason I say this, is because society today is pretty random. You can hold an ‘Emoji Convention’ but it is a huge struggle to get people out to vote in general elections, or remember important news events.
We live in a society which hashtags every single pop culture news event (like western based terrorist attacks or whatever) and yet people forget quickly, and go back to posting memes about super lame things.
Facebook has made a lot of our society based upon popularity. Upon a false sense of what friendship actually is.
Friendship is when people know you, make time for you, you make time for them, and you care about one another. That doesn’t have to be with ten million people.
Taylor Swift and other celebrities have spawned this idea of ‘Squads’ and people try and construct the same social structures but the fact is this: It is super difficult to be super close to that many people.
It is also unhealthy as to be a well balanced human being it is important to have boundaries, and boundaries mean not telling every single secret or feeling to every single person you have listed in the contacts on your phone.
I meet a lot of people – young and old – who say they feel lonely, or wish they had good/proper/real friends. This whole sensation, I believe, has come from a society where we feel like we need ten million friends.
You could have one, or two, or three really good friends. Friends you can talk to about anything, friends who will be there for you regardless at any time of night. That is sufficient.
Number Three: Ignore FOMO.
Society is built around FOMO (Fear of missing out) oh my gosh!
Constantly feeling like you need to be at or do everything otherwise you’ll miss out on something awesome.
The problem with this is that being at and doing every single thing can actually make you exhausted, and being really, really busy, and ticking boxes for everyone is actually unhealthy.
The bible says let your yes be yes, and your no be no. I take this to mean, if you do something or want to be at something, be there with your whole heart, not because you feel you have to. Otherwise you turn into a social zombie, constantly ticking boxes to feel important and included but actually missing out on life in its fullness, rested and relaxed.
If you find yourself becoming one of those people who always says, ‘Busy.’ when people ask you how you are, stop and just chill out instead of trying to be at everything.
PS this will also make you a much better friend. Because people who suffer from extreme FOMO are almost always tired or never free to actually spend quality time with. Make space (practically, emotionally, whateverly) in your life.
Number Four: Don’t look in the mirror and wish you were different.
I have to admit that I am a massive common offender when it comes to this one.
Wash your hands, look up in the mirror, make a self assessment.
See yourself in a photo, make a self assessment.
Get ready to go our, change, put on your make up and think, ‘that will do.’
I don’t want to reach the end of my life, when I AM really wrinkly and old and realise I spent my youth thinking I didn’t look good enough.
Or spend my money thinking there is some magic product or piece of clothing that will make me feel better about myself.
How about, how you are is actually okay. And those images that you compare yourself against are basically as fictitious as Harry Potter.
This is the reality: Nothing will make you feel better about yourself than a change on the inside of how YOU look at yourself.
Audrey Hepburn said it, ‘The happiest girls are the prettiest.’
See weekdays start pretty early for me (5am) and as a result I can sometimes stop and look in the mirror and think one or a combination of these things:
- Gosh, I should use that eye spray so my eyes aren’t so blood shot.
- Wow that foundation I use really makes my skin look flakey
- My fringe is sitting so randomly, I look like a member of Hanson
There are a million other things I suddenly critique at the sight of myself, skin colour (I am pale) frizz of my hair parting, pimples, etc. The issue is that it has become part of habit. That I look at myself and thinking, ugh, I wish (Insert something about yourself) looked different.
One day, feeling bad about the ‘dark circles’ around my eyes I went to a local department store and asked some lady about eye creams. She basically spent the rest of the time telling me about how much of my money I needed to spend in order to deal with what were ‘very tired looking eyes.’
The same weekend I went into the gas station and someone thought I was like seventeen. Go figure.
So if you’re like me, stop the habit of critiquing your appearance when you look in the mirror and DO NOT listen to shop attendants – they are only trying to sell you something – because no product or item of clothing will make you feel better about yourself.
So those are them, my four recent self revelations.
We need to understand that the only thing we should be pursuing is contentment of who we are, how we are, rather than embracing these awful mindsets, which in themsevles are just symptoms of a society that lives for the chase.