Did you know that you could meet all your basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter reasonably well with an income of about $40,000 a year? And yet, Americans have been known to be extremely “miswanting”, which basically means you keep wanting things that will never make you happy.
Whether it’s a big flashy car or the perfect nose or a slice of cheesecake, you keep moving on from one “want” to the next in an endless pursuit of happiness. The truth is that you usually don’t know what will make you happy. And most people don’t even know that they don’t know.
So how do you change yourself to get out of this cycle? The first step is to make peace with what makes you unhappy. For many women, one of biggest sources of their unhappiness is their body. The increasing penetration of mass media into people’s lives has created a false image of how a woman should look and feel.
Most women have a completely unrealistic picture of what they are supposed to look like. To feel confident and beautiful, women them that they need to be of a certain height, weight, and body type. This image is entrenched so deeply in the female psyche that anything less makes a woman feel that she’s not there yet, not good enough, or needs to work harder. But it’s time to challenge these long-held beliefs. Here’s how can stop the self-deprecating criticism.
Step 1: When you step out next time to buy groceries or to the mall, take a good look at a real woman’s body. Not some young millennial or a teenager but a real woman who has been through the trenches of life. Notice the wrinkles, lumps, and bumps. This is what living looks like. This is what loving and losing and hoping and caring do to bodies.
Life is not about looking perfect and sailing through every single day without getting a speck of dirt on your shoes. The goal of life is not to get through to the end and wind up looking like you just began. The goal is to allow yourself to have your life, to discover that you are the prize, the celebration, the only place where happiness can ever be found.
Step 2: Once you’ve looked at real women’s bodies, go home and look at yourself naked for at least 3 minutes. Do this once a week for 6 weeks. Look at all the sags, stretch marks, and wrinkles, and tell yourself this is what living looks like.
In one particular poll, a mere 2% Americans believed that their lives are in balance. This tells you lot about how most people view their life. In another instance, a Yale psychologist interviewed homemakers and career women in their 40s about their attempts to balance work and family.
Most of them laughed at the worn-out myth of the superwoman who just keeps on keeping on with great brilliance and flair. By 40, most of these former superwomen irritably conceded that the best they could do was just to keep a few balls in the air.
If you’re a doer who likes to have a job, take the kids to football practice, cook your own organic meals, and be part of the local community, there is no option but to do a juggling act trying to keep multiple balls in the air. There are times when you’re going to drop a few but what’s most important isn’t how high the balls soar; it’s staying centered.
When you keep your entire focus on juggling the balls, you’re only thinking about them. To reduce your stress, your priority should be to manage yourself. The juggling can go on but the juggler can truly be happy only when they are balanced within. Here are some things you can do to that effect:
Take A Step Back: Feeling overwhelmed by all the things you need to achieve on a particular day? Leave everything and take 20 minutes to center yourself with a walk, a jog, a meditation session, or some breathing or stretching exercises.
Give Yourself Me Time: Find at least 20 minutes each day to do absolutely nothing. This is the time where you just be. Not a parent, wife, colleague, boss, team member, sister, or daughter. You just be in space where you have zero responsibility.
Say No: If you think it can be avoided, stop doing things for courtesy sake if you really don’t have the time or energy. This will save a lot of your time and from the guilt of not meeting your commitments.