Sometimes we place ourselves in a box or worse, allow others to place us in a box. Sometimes people like to remind us of who we once were rather than seeing us as who we are today. This is why is it is so important not to live a limited and confined life. We may well have been shy, geeky, awkward as a child or teenager or we may have been loud, boisterous and outspoken but does this mean we are that same person today? No!
I find it most frustrating when you bump into someone you have not seen for years and at a point in the conversation they make reference to your past. Whether it be about your character or your appearance. What on earth makes them believe you are that same person today?
Though life experiences shape and mould the adult we become, to an extent we have the power to influence this. I was extremely shy as a child and teenager, feisty but oh so shy. Due to a lack of confidence and verbal bullying at high school I went into a shell and stayed there for almost five years. I barely spoke at school and with family at home. Aged 18 I slowly began to come into my own, I experimented with make up and clothes. My confidence grew as I started socialising and dating.
Nobody has the right to keep you in a box or limit your plans and decisions because of their insecurities or thoughts they have towards you. Nobody has the right to continue to remind you of who you were especially if the motive is to keep you in your place. We all have a past and do not need to be bound by it, particularly if it brings up negative feelings and emotions.
So, if you want to wear that outfit to work but feel you will look too over dressed, wear it anyway. I know the drill – your colleagues may ask if you are going anywhere special and you may feel the need to justify yourself. If you want to join a dance class but feel reluctant due to having two left feet, do not let that stop you!
Whilst I am not suggesting you reinvent yourself, do not be the person who always plays it safe. Switch it up now and then and surprise yourself! I have considered cutting my hair low and wondered if it would suit me. I have also considered taking up pottery knowing full when I am unlikely to be any good at it.
If you are honest there is something you desire in life and for whatever reason you do not yet have this. Your desire may be unreasonable, not logic or long lived but it can begin to consume you. Are you able to live, laugh and be happy despite not having this one thing?
Discontentment can make one bitter, resentful and downright joyless. Discontentment can eat at you and make you a pain and a drain to be around. Your discontentment may well be justified. The thing you are after, you may well deserve it as well as waited a long time for it. Being miserable will not bring it your way any faster but why is it so easy to slip into the ‘woe is me’ role? Why is it so easy to play the victim and convince yourself you have been dealt a bad hand in life?
I admit to being discontent in several periods of my life, I felt I had the right to be miserable. Unfortunately my husband and children got the long end of the stick. Bless them, they had to live with me – day and night and truly deserve a medal. I was snappy, sharp tongued and always looked so serious. I rarely recall laughing in these periods and anyone who knows me well can verify that I love to laugh. It sounds pathetic now but I actually felt if I allowed myself to be happy, I would convince myself I no longer needed what I desired and therefore I would not ever have it. I cannot get my around my logic at that time!
I came to a point in life when I realised the importance in enjoying the ‘here and now’ and not waiting until I had what I felt I deserved before doing so. I came to a point where I made the choice to focus on what I did have as oppose to what I did not have. Something so simple and logic but life altering none the same. I began to play with the children and truly be present with them. I began to loosen up and laugh and tease my husband. Our house was a home of laughter, song and joy not a place where you had to walk on egg shells because someone (I) woke up on the wrong side of the bed every morning. This was a major turning point for me and my outlook on life began to change. I smiled on the outside and was actually happy and glowing inside. Years gone by my smiles hid a multitude of unhappy feelings. What I showed on the outside did not mirror what I felt on the inside.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how content are you?
Do you allow your current limitations to affect your joy?
What advice would you give to others who struggle with contentment?