Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stop Dwelling on the Life You Wish You Had

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I believe to an extent that it's human nature to dwell on the life you wish you had. This person has this better and that person has that better...convincing yourself that you have it so much worse off. 

I've struggled my whole life comparing {that god awful word} myself to other people's lives, believing that their life is so much better. We all know though, that people are exceptionally well at portraying a perfect life, so it's rather strange that we continue to compare.

I've also always struggled with not giving myself enough credit. Nothing I do in my eyes is quite to the standard I want...even though if it were a friend or family, I'd be incredibly proud. Nothing is ever "good" enough and nothing is ever quite as satisfying as I'd had hoped. Ultimately this leaves me with never being completely happy and content in life {{I'm striving to work on giving myself more credit, I promise.}}

I got inspired to do this post from one of my favorite websites, {Tiny Buddha}. Tiny Buddha says it so eloquently...so I'll let it speak for itself from here.

This type of thinking also manifests in the suspicion that I could be living another life.
Let me explain: We sometimes get stuck, thinking the past, or our “lost opportunities,” as we like to label them, are better than the present.
Our thinking might sound like this:
“If I had done such and such, I would be living my dreams.”
“I could be living this adventurous life in another city doing something else.”
“I´d be so happy if only I had…”
This is where the problem lies.
Lost opportunities happen when we are nowhere instead of now here.
We are nowhere when we live in the present lamenting the past, dreaming of a future that may never come if we are not mindful about our present, about the now here.
No one can be happy if not in the present.
 So, how can we get out of this rut? How can we live our lives and be more present to ourselves? I’ve developed this list for myself, and it just may help you too:

1. Breathe.

Breathing brings us to the present and it connects us with our higher selves. Whenever you see yourself comparing and going to the past, take a deep breath and bring your awareness to the present moment.

2. Listen to music.

Nietzsche said, “Life without music would be a mistake.” When you start getting down on yourself, turn up the volume of your favorite song. Soon you’ll be singing along, getting in the zone, and feeling good in the now, since music is the language of love.

3. Say a mantra.

I have learned that mantras can be incredibly powerful tools for mindfulness and empowerment. The one I like most is: “I am the Light. The Light is in me.”

4. Say affirmations.

I have made my own and have copied others that appeal to me, and I repeat them every morning before I get up.
If you find yourself dwelling on the past, affirm to yourself, “I accept all that is. All is well. I trust the divine order. I cherish all that I have and all that I am.”
Claim these words and really feel it as you say them.

5. Do some yoga poses.

Whenever you feel stuck, get your energy flowing with some yoga poses, such as the child posture, downward dog, or the tree pose. If yoga is new to you, you may want to start with some basic stretches, syncing your breath with the movements.

6. Marvel at nature.

Nature is here to nurture us. If you feel empty or lost in your negative thoughts about yourself and your life, step back and look at the world around you. I like to look at birds that come to eat in the backyard in my house. I see how free they are, and it reminds me I can be free, as well, if I choose to be.

7. Be thankful for all you have and are.

Gratitude is powerful because it helps us recognize all the good things around us, instead of dwelling on all the good things we think other people have. In fact, a good mantra is: “Thank you for everything. I have no complaints”.

8. Read inspiring spiritual messages and blogs.

One good blog is Tiny Buddha! It always uplifts me and puts me in a Zen state.

9. Do one tiny thing to create the life you want now (instead of dwelling on the life you could have had).

Ask yourself: what can I do right now to actively create the future I visualize?

10. Enjoy the present!

Being present means noticing the thousands of things around us that make life interesting. It also means making time for fun. It can be listening to your favorite song and singing along, or going out for a walk, writing in your journal, or savoring your favorite food.
Enjoy being here now and experiencing this beautiful world. Most importantly, enjoy the person who you are right now, exactly as you are!
I still have moments when I wish I lived a different life, but I see them as opportunities to practice being in the present and cherishing all that is happening now. I am learning to see these moments as tiny reminders of living in the moment.
How can you embrace and enjoy your life as it is today?
{{Hopefully you will take what you want from this...and if anything...help you live better in the present moment...happily.}}


  1. I really needed to hear this today! I'm so glad you posted it.

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  3. I have the same problem of comparing! I have a feeling I will be re-reading your post - great advice - thanks for sharing!

  4. Such a powerful post. I really need to remember everything on that list. It's so easy to imagine a different better life, but I truly believe that "the grass might be greener on the other side, but if you stay and water your own grass, it will be just as green." We just have to live our lives the best we can!