Living Well

By Louise Antonette Fandiño-Santos of Mommy Practicality

Do you ever catch yourself trying to fit in a group, by doing certain things that are against your beliefs?  Do you sometimes compare yourself to others like your high school batch mates and weigh who has a better job position or who’s successful in business?

I admit to doing this before.  I avoided reunions because I was too insecure.  I stressed myself in being updated with the hottest showbiz gossips or keeping up with whatever was the popular TV series, for the silly reason of having something to talk about with my lunch buddies.

But I got tired. It got too tiring to keep on striving for the approval of others.

Sometimes we are our worst critic. We always find the faults that no one even notices.  This really has to stop, though.  In this complicated, demanding, fast-paced, and critical world (thanks to the Internet and social media), the successes of other people are magnified.  Why? Because most people on social media only display what they want other people to think about them.  People always try to impress other people.

Why would one display her stained life?  If today was ten years ago, I would say I am guilty about pleasing other people all the time that I forget to live my own life and appreciate what I already have. When I had enough of that false life, I started finding my center, loving and focusing on myself more.  I became happier and more at peace when I started celebrating myself.  It wasn’t an instant shift of mindset and situation, it was a process.

Here are some steps that we can all take, if we want to stop comparing our lives to others, stop trying to please everyone.

1. Make An Inventory of What Brings You Joy.

Just like decluttering your home, you can declutter your life and retain only what brings you joy. Make a mental list of people (yes even people) and situations that do not bring value to your life.  After you’ve made an inventory, find a way to keep interaction with them (whether online or offline) to a minimum.  If they are on Facebook and you are not comfortable unfriending them, you may hide their posts on your timeline or unfollow their feed. I’m not sure if you’ll agree with me, but these people are usually those who rant everyday with so much intensity and foul words on their statuses. Find a prudent way to keep your distance from these people. You don’t need to get affected by them if you decide you don’t want to.

I have a long time friend and we were really close before.  Whenever we’d talk though, she would often talk endlessly and negatively about her past, about certain people I don’t even know and her situation. Every time she’d talk this way, I knew I would absorb her negative energy.  She’s the type who’d unload her problems to you, ask for advice but never follow any. I just got really tired of this habit of hers: Whenever we’d talk, I always felt sick and my shoulders would fall heavy.  I decided I had to let go of her. We’re still friends, but I slowly disappeared from her life.

Today the people in my life are quality people who bring joy, happiness and positive influence.  They may be few, but they all bring out the best in me.  These are my family, very very few relatives, three to four closest friends, and my life mentors.

2. Invest More Time and Effort On People and Things That Make You Happy.

So you’ve created your list from tip #1 and you’re aware who these people are. Invest time and effort in also making them happy, letting them feel loved and important.  These are the people who — when you invest in them — will return a thousand-fold of positive reinforcements to your own life. Exude positive energies to attract positive feelings and thoughts. Prioritize above all your relationship with God, then with family, followed by your friends.  You’ll soon notice the changes in your life when you surround yourself with love and happiness all the time.  It seems like nothing’s going to go wrong and if ever there will be hurdles along the way, you’ll breeze through it and know that you can rise above it.

3. Realize Your Self-Worth.

Let’s face it: We can’t “be” all or “have it all.” There will always be people who can do things better, who are more popular than us in our circle, who are richer or have traveled more. Do not let what others have undermine what you have in your life. Look deep inside you and learn to see your beauty and value.  Through the eyes and love of your family and friends, you should realize how special you are as a person.  You should realize that and affirm that to yourself.

The fact is: We don’t need to always keep up with everyone else. Because in fact, living slowly and savoring the moment is always better than rushing and being chased by people and circumstances.  Once you’ve realized your self-worth, there will never be a need for you to compare yourself to others. It is true freedom, when we don’t feel the need to impress others and get their approval.

These things will make you love and appreciate yourself more and make you live your life more liberally.  You will feel the freedom from others’ opinion of you.

Follow your heart’s desire.
Live according to what makes you happy.
Live more meaningfully and find your contentment in that.

Have you ever experienced trying to keep up with others and living to impress others that you forgot about yourself?  What did you do to address it?