You’ve probably heard the old saying “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
Perhaps you feel like it’s true. You look at other people’s lives, and you envy them. They seem to be doing so much better than you. They’ve got a great job. Lots of money. A happy home life.
They seem to have it all. And you can’t help wishing that you did, too.
But none of us ever really know what it’s like to live someone else’s life. Sure, your friends might be spending lots of money on dinners out, booze, fancy gadgets … but for all you know, they’re deep in debt, or working long hours in jobs they hate.
No-one’s life is perfect – whatever it looks like from the outside.
Plus, it’s a safe bet that some of your friends are looking at your life and thinking very similar things. Maybe they envy your dull but predictable job – you’re home on time every night. Maybe they see your great relationship with your spouse and kids – and they’d rather have that than any amount of money.
Whatever state your life is in, you’ve got a lot of good things. You just need to recognize them again.
Enjoy What You Have
One of the best ways to love your current life is to write a list of things you’re grateful for. It doesn’t matter if they seem small or insignificant: little everyday moments of happiness count.
You might think of:
- People who you’re grateful for – your family, friends, housemates, co-workers…
- Treats which you enjoy – the smell of fresh coffee, the taste of dark chocolate, a long bath after a hard day…
- Things which make your day easier – the dishwasher, online grocery shopping, fast internet access at work…
- Anything special which you’ve grown accustomed to – your wedding ring, your smartphone, a favorite coat…
- Happy moments – chatting with a friend, something which made you laugh, playing with your kids…
I’ll bet you can easily come up with five things every single day that you’re grateful for. Your life is full of good things – you just sometimes need to work a bit to see them.
Focus on the Good Points
When we’re thinking about future goals and ambitions, it’s easy to end up in quite a negative mood about the present. Perhaps you start thinking through all the things you want to change in your life: losing weight, getting fit, quitting smoking, switching jobs…
As well as thinking of what you might want to change, look at the areas of your life which are currently good. Maybe:
- You get on well with your colleagues at work, and you’ve got a good relationship with your boss
- You’ve got some real strengths – like being able to establish a quick connection with clients, and being organised
- Your house is set up pretty much how you want it – there might not be loads of space, but it feels like home
- You’ve got some hobbies you really enjoy
…and so on. How could you make more of these good things? Perhaps you could spend more time on your hobbies, or concentrate on your particular strengths at work.
Live in the Moment
It’s appropriate to plan for the future, and to learn from the past – but it’s not a good idea to constantly have your mind on how “things will be better next year when…” or on “life was so much better last year because…”
Being able to live in the moment means appreciating what’s around you. It’s about having your attention on now, instead of reminiscing about what’s already gone, or worrying about what’s yet to come.
Living in the moment means:
- Enjoying your days off, without constantly thinking about Monday morning.
- Listening when someone’s talking to you, and being fully present in the conversation.
- Taking time to stop and watch a beautiful sunset, or to enjoy the smell of fresh-mown grass.
- Eating your meals more mindfully – instead of grabbing a sandwich on the run.
By keeping your attention on the present moment, the here-and-now, you can get much more enjoyment from the life you already have.
What are you grateful for, in your life? What’s already good? How can you appreciate all of it just a bit more?