Have you ever been in the situation where you’ve been browsing facebook, looking at someone’s holiday snaps, or even just catching up with friends, and you’ve had that nagging feeling that maybe your life doesn’t quite match up? I think a lot of people have moments of dissatisfaction with where they are in life, and some find that dissatisfaction gnawing away at them more relentlessly. It is really quite natural that we find ourselves comparing our lives with others, and the media does not always help this – setting up expectations about looks, lifestyle and achievements, which, really, are at best unrealistic and at worst terribly damaging when we find ourselves wanting. So how can we find confidence and contentment with ourselves and our situations?
This week I realised three things about life:
1. I have a rich, blessed, rewarding, full, lovely life.
2. I have some real sadnesses and some tough, hard work stuff too.
3. Most people could say the same about their lives.
I’ve just had a great second week away from work, which was full of exploring, fresh air, relaxation, food and friendship. We’ve walked on the moors, BBQ’d, spent hours talking with friends, eaten hot donuts by the sea, had long, luxurious soaks in a hot tub in the middle of the forest, wandered along the river in London, played with the dog, bought nice things… the list goes on. And I appreciated every minute. I was filled with thankfulness. But I also felt myself doing an awful lot of reflecting on some of the sadnesses of my current situation, and some of the pressures and stresses. I thought, ‘How can I feel sad when I have so much? Surely this is ungrateful and wrong!’ It was when I was talking with a friend about her life that something clicked – we all have good things and hard things about our lives. Admittedly, some will experience greater tragedy than others and we have to recognise this, but, whoever we are, it is rare that there is nothing at all for us to be thankful for.
I have come to the conclusion that allowing ourselves to cultivate appreciation and gratitude alongside a healthy dose of honesty and realism about the things we struggle with, will help us to find contentment and minimise the temptation to compare ourselves with others. If we do make this our way of thinking, then perhaps we will also find ourselves able to respond to others with less envy and far greater empathy.
Here are some of the things I’ve been thankful for this week:
Our beautiful British coastline 🙂 We are so lucky to live on an island!
I absolutely LOVED being up on the Yorkshire Moors! Beautiful!
What about you? What are you thankful for this week?
A little P.S. – If you are struggling in life right now, I do hope you are encouraged by this post rather than discouraged. I realise it can be a little lame to hear someone banging on about positivity when things are just hard. That’s why I think it’s so important we accompany our appreciation with honesty. Sometimes things are just rubbish, and I totally get that. My thoughts and prayers are with any of you who are low and burdened, broken hearted or alone… I hope that means something to someone somewhere and makes it a tiny, drop-in-the-ocean bit better… xxx