“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius
[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ost of us have forgotten the true purpose of living, instead masking it with a complex assortment of work, chores, and duties, and then complaining about how difficult life is. However, you can just as easily create a simple life as you can a complex one; it just takes some time to reflect on what you can change, and actually going through with it.
Do you make your life harder than it has to be? Here are 10 ways to find out:
1. You compare yourself to other people.
“The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.”
Don’t subject yourself to measuring your life against other’s lives; not only will this distract you from improving your own life, but it will likely make you feel bitter and jealous. People take a multitude of paths in life, and no one’s journey will look quite like yours. It doesn’t mean you should feel threatened or inferior based on how other people live; you should instead compare yourself only to the current version of you, and use that as an incentive to become better.
2. You let fear make decisions for you.
As children, we might have feared the Boogieman hiding under our bed after our parents turned out the lights, or maybe the overly nice clown at the county fair. Gradually, we added more fears to the list as we got older. Fear of not earning enough money to survive. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of other’s opinions. Fear of making a big change. And the list goes on.
However, remember that fear is just like the Boogieman; it only exists in our minds. The more you tell yourself that, the more your fears will dissipate, and you can start really enjoying life again.
3. You buy things you don’t really need.
In a comprehensive report written by experts from the American Psychological Association, a survey found that money remains the leading cause of stress for Americans, with 3 in 4 adults feeling stress about money at least some of the time. While money does somewhat determine our standard of living, we shouldn’t abuse its power; we should use it to buy things we actually need, not just want.
Excessive spending largely contributes to the financial stress so abundant in society today, and you can easily nip it in the bud by scaling down what you purchase on a regular basis.
4. You say “I’ll start tomorrow,” but never do.
You want to go on a diet, but you’ll start tomorrow. You want to quit your job, but you’ll wait until you feel more prepared to tell your boss. You want to take a vacation, but you’ll do it later when you have more money saved. You want to start your own website, but you’ll start when you have more time. Does any of this sound familiar?
When you procrastinate, your goals only become more unattainable as time wears on, because your excuses will only pile up higher and higher. Today is as good a day as any to start, otherwise you will have a long list of regrets about the things you never set out to do.
5. You live your life betting on some future moment instead of being here now.
This moment is the only one we have, so putting all your stock in future events will only lead to anxiety about the present. You will miss everything going on around you by living in a reality that doesn’t yet exist. Instead, consciously create your future each day, and adopt an attitude of gratitude about your life in the moment. Then, you can enjoy both the present and the future, instead of betting all your happiness on future conditions.
6. You talk down on yourself daily.
Pay attention to your self-talk; it determines everything else about your life. We belittle and berate ourselves so much, and then wonder why our outer world is in shambles. We are usually our toughest critics, so start giving yourself more positive reviews. Remember that you’re only human, and everyone else has flaws and fears just like you.
Rise above your limiting, negative beliefs about yourself, and use these affirmations to help you build positive self-talk.
7. You care a great deal about what others think.
Some people will always love you, while others will never like you. That’s just how life works, but spending all your time trying to convince others to like you or putting all your worth in their perception of you will always lead to disappointment. Validate yourself, and you won’t need others to approve your life any longer.
8. You rush from here to there every day, and have very little time to relax.
One of the biggest stressors in life continues to be a constant hectic schedule. However, remember that you created the life you live today. You can control how much down time you have, and how much time you spend attending to responsibilities. Nothing else in nature rushes around in a constant frenzy, so why do we?
Slow down, breathe deeply, and just relax. We aren’t here to just get stuff done and then die; we’re here to experience, live, grow, and learn.
9. You dwell on negative experiences.
Nothing sets us back more than living in the past. Focusing on all the pain you’ve endured in your life will only bring about even more suffering. Forgive the people who’ve hurt you, leave all the painful memories behind you, and put all your energy on what you can do to better your life right now.
You can’t change yesterday, but you can control your thoughts and actions in the present.
10. You aren’t honest with yourself.
The longer you avoid the things eating away at you, the more powerful they will become until you feel completely overwhelmed. To live a happy life, you have to conquer your demons, let your past wounds come to the surface, and work through the pain rather than around it.
The problems will exist whether you avoid them or not, but listening to your honest feelings, not burying them deep down inside of you, will allow you to confront your darkest emotions and move on with your life.