Updated: May 14th, 2022.
I don’t know about you but sometimes life is hard to love. Between work overwhelm, busy family life, and maybe even chronic illness, and just being run down, loving your life can be hard to come by. I find if I have inspiration of ways to love my life it can help me to get refocused and happier. So let’s chat with about loving your one big beautiful life. (even if your life is often hard to love.)
Love Your Life
Be Grateful for What You Already Have
I know this sounds cliché but it really works. When you’re feeling dissatisfied with your job, make a list of what you like about it. Hard to think of ideas? Think outside of the box. Ideas: I like my office view, I really enjoy that one co-worker that makes me laugh every day, I appreciate that I get a bonus every year, I am grateful for vacation time.
Maybe you’re overwhelmed by family life right now raising little kids. Here are some things to focus on: I’m grateful for my child’s little hand in mine when we cross the street. I’m happy when I’m reading books to my child. I love being able to teach my child new things like riding a bike. I’m grateful when my child crawls into my bed in the morning and snuggles me. Focus on the small things that bring you joy about being a mother.
Stop Thinking About What Others Think of You
Nothing can kill a happy vibe more than worrying about what others think of you. I know this from firsthand experience. I want to love my life and not care what someone thinks about me. Thinking about what others think of you can zap ones happiness.
I find that talking to myself in this way can help: do I care more about what so and so thinks of me than my own happiness? Does their opinion of me really define me? Will their opinion of me really affect my life? In the end, your opinion of yourself should be the only thing that concerns you. It will free you to love yourself and love your life more when you let go of the expectations of others.
Stop Being a People Pleaser
As an enneagram 2 it’s quite natural for me to want to put the happiness of anyone else above my own. What I always thought was a strong suit, thinking about other’s needs above my own, I’ve come to realize is often a negative personality trait and is in my case rooted in my childhood. I want to please people to keep my environment safe and happy and controlled and predictable and that is not healthy for any of us to carry a burden like that around. Not to mention it can be toxic to the soul.
I do think it’s a beautiful thing to be selfless but check your motivation. Are you being honestly selfless or are you just trying to people please? For example: I think it’s beautiful to put the needs of those in front of yourself when its healthy to do so. Such as spending your Christmas bonus on an anniversary gift for your parents because they always put you first and now you want to bless them back. Or, instead of spending Thanksgiving at your home you spend it at a shelter feeding homeless because you want to spread love to strangers in need.
Where I don’t think it’s healthy, and could be people pleasing, is when you’re dead tired, and your chronic pain is flaring up, and you know you need to invest in yourself and stay in, but instead you keep plans with your friend because you’re afraid you’re going to let them down. Your worry of that friend possibly thinking you’re unreliable, or thinking less of you, or you thinking their happiness is more important than your health – that is when it’s not healthy selflessness.
Check your motivation, emotions, and the intent behind your selflessness… be honest with yourself – are you people pleasing out of control and fear or is it truly from a pure place? I’m learning this about myself, and am being intentional about noticing it, and working to stop by incessant people pleasing.
Invest in What Makes You Happy
Think about what brings you pure and honest joy. Is it a movie date with your spouse, or a walk out in nature with your children, or a bubble bath alone, or time spent in a good book? Do those things, often, and without any guilt.
I enjoy taking walks with my kids, and our rescue dog, because I completely adore being out in nature. Sometimes I’m so busy in life with priorities that I must all but force myself to take that walk. I know that if I can get out, breathe in fresh air, and have special conversations with my kids, while feeling the breeze on my skin, I will be refreshed. Refreshing brings about that magical love for my life again. And so, I do it. I invest in the little things that make me happy every day and that helps keep the spark for loving my life alive.
Invest in Your Personal Growth
I’m happiest when I’m growing, learning, moving forward. For example, right now I’m investing in my professional growth by going through a couple of blogging courses and it’s lighting my fire! I’m devouring the information, I feel so excited about life, a new spark has been created, and I can’t wait until the end of the day when I have time to go through each module and make plans.
Same can be said for your personal growth, spiritual growth, relational growth etc. Read books, take courses, read the Bible, watch vlogs that inspire and educate you. Have you always been interested in ASL (American Sign Language) but you just never had the opportunity to learn? Make the opportunity happen for yourself now, take a course! Trust me, you’ll come alive when you invest in yourself.
Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses’. You will be so free when you stop comparing your life to the polished lives of those online, and those around you. Contentment is the key to happiness in my opinion. I don’t think you have to stop improving your home, your work situation, your relationships and so on in order to be content. It will do you a world of good to stop comparing and envying the lives of those around you. Instead of seeing an influencer online with perfect teeth and you then begin to hate your own teeth – just think to yourself, “she has beautiful teeth”, and let that thought float right on past your heart – don’t let it take root.
There’s nothing wrong with improving your life but don’t hate your life because it isn’t the life you see in others.
Think Positive Thoughts/Focus on the Good
I’m one that tends to find the good in a situation, one that focuses on positive thoughts vs. negative thoughts. I guess I’m lucky that it comes naturally to me. Maybe it’s a personality trait? Maybe not. I do think even the most pessimistic person can train their brain and heart to think positively and focus on the good.
It comes down to being self-aware. Catch those negative thoughts when they come and stop them in their tracks. Replace negative thoughts with good thoughts, positive thoughts, happy thoughts, well-balanced thoughts, even. Don’t skip past this step thinking, nah, that can’t be for me as it just isn’t my personality to be positive. Work at it, it can happen for you.
And there is a difference between being positive and toxic positivity. Telling someone close to you that they should just focus on the good and forget about the bad when that person is going through something really hard and bad isn’t healthy. It isn’t how to support someone. That is toxic. However, seeing the good in a situation, in order to have perspective in life is good and not toxic.
Stop Being So Hard on Yourself
Stop being so hard on yourself! Stop putting such high expectations on yourself and stop expecting so much of yourself. It’s bad for your body, your mind, and your emotions. And honestly, I think most people around you aren’t even putting you up to such high standards.
If you need to cancel a plan because you’re wiped out, cancel the plan and don’t you dare let negative self-talk enter your mind. You aren’t a bad person for canceling a plan, for saying no, for putting yourself first. Most of the people in your life are never going to be as hard on you as you likely are on yourself, so let that junk go. Don’t worry about what others think of you, and stop being a bully to yourself! Be easy on yourself and give yourself plenty of grace.
I know this may sound overdone and cliché, but you’d be surprised how much more gratitude you’d find in your life if you sat down and wrote it out. It centers your mind on being grateful for what you already have. Make time daily or even weekly to jot down one or more things that you’re grateful for. I bet you’ll fill up a notebook in no time flat.
Another idea, a gratitude jar. This could be really fun for a family, as well. Weekly everyone writes down one thing that they were grateful that week and put it into the jar. At the end of each year or even each month, you and/or you and your family sit down at a table and pull the gratitude slips and read them.
Limit Your social media Time
This is probably going to be difficult until you make it a habit. Social media can be a beautiful thing but let’s face it, only in small doses is it healthy. Want to become unhappy with your life fast? Scroll social media for hours and hours and you’ll likely become unhappy with yourself or your life.
I know there are ways to limit your time on apps and I’m sure you could do a quick Google search to find them. I just set an alarm on my phone when I begin scrolling and when it goes off, that’s it, time to shut down the apps and get off my phone.
Loving your life no matter what that life looks like is possible, it’s doable, and I hope these tips help give you a jumping off point!
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Hi, I’m Nell. First, I’m a wife and mother, and a believer in Jesus. I’m also a writer of words, maker of art, and chronically ill warrior. This space is where I document this one big beautiful and flawed life. Essays and diary entries, poetry and art, and peaks into my heart. Welcome.