I am generally happy with the course of my life thus far, though I might not seem like it in most of my Tuesday on the Soapbox posts.
Dealing with The Negatives
By most people’s standards, my life is definitely not perfect. I’m overweight, and I don’t have a lot of friends I routinely visit, nor too much nightlife going on. I don’t have a paying job, and my parents and I all suffer crippling ill health–arthritis, severe headaches, and old, unhealed injuries run rampant, forcing us all to be more bedridden than we should be. This leaves our house in a shameful state most of the time. (There are rooms in my house which I haven’t been able to walk into in literal years. Yes. OCD hoarding + family illness = housekeeping? What’s that?)
Celebrating the Positives
But I do have a lot to be thankful for. Quite a lot, in fact. I have a stable roof over my head and enough food to eat every day. I have a wonderful, loving, supportive boyfriend of several years; he and his family are awesome. Both my parents are still living–I can depend on them for advice and love, and I can also reciprocate the care for them that they lavished on me in my growing-up years. I have a great church family that accepts and loves me, and has helped me to grow more spiritually in the last 4 years than I did in the first 23. Plus, I have the free time to do a lot of creative projects, like this blog, that help others, even if I’m not getting paid for any of it. There’s a great emotional benefit to doing something that others enjoy, and while it’s not a paycheck, it fulfills a creative need in me.
Perfect Lives =/= Happiness
Many times we get wrapped up in how terrible our lives are when we start looking at the negatives of our lives, all the things that shouldn’t be happening to us but are, all the illness and emotional garbage, all the family and friend drama, not to mention workplace drama and unfairness. We get all torn up about our lives’ quality, wishing for the financial, romantic, and familial perfection we see pictured in movies and television.
I am not immune to that, any more than anybody else. I will say, personally, that it’s very easy, especially in the darkness of the wee hours of morning, to get depressed over the circumstances of my life, homebound and job-frustrated as I am.
But I am CONTENT. I am not living a perfect life, an ideal life. There are conditions I’m dealing with that I wish I didn’t have to. I wish I could walk without pain, and I wish I had a job, for instance. But I am blessed to have the talents I have, and the amount of love that pours into my life from others helps to drown these relatively small pains. There are people in the world who would covet my life as it is now; the best thing I can do is to praise God for all the blessings He’s shown me, and give others an opportunity for similar blessings through outreach work and giving as I am able.
Though there’s a lot of junk in my life, literally and figuratively, the positives of my life balance the negatives. I am not living an idealized life, but I am much better off than I could be. Realizing that I am much more blessed than I even imagine can, in itself, lift me up. Knowing that I can help others because I am blessed lifts me up, too.
A Challenge for You
I challenge my readers (all 10 of you, lol) to think of three areas of your life which are going well. For me, my church life, my relationships, and my creative life are all going very well. The areas of your life can be big or small, but think of three. Write them down so you remember them, and look back at the list when you are feeling terrible.
Trust me, it works: even when all else seems to be failing in another area (like health, for me), I can look to my successes in three other areas and think, “Well, things could be much worse for me–I am blessed to have what I have.” We all need some practice at feeling content with our imperfect lives…this is one way to do it.