Progress, not perfection
As a millennial, as a product of the technology-obsessed world in which I live, and as a human being, I fall into the habit of comparing myself to the people around me. Even the people I’ve never met, like the ones on my Twitter feed, often get my begrudging nod of approval from behind the computer screen.
This tendency to look at what I don’t have versus what others do have is, of course, normal. But it’s counter-productive to my creativity and damaging to my self-esteem. It’s a rare occasion when making comparisons actually kicks my competitive instinct into drive and I feel eager to charge into the world and prove myself. Usually, I just become paralyzed with indecision and self-doubt in the after-math of tallying my score with someone else’s.
Comparison only undermines our accomplishments and chips persistently away at the foundation of happiness we’ve laid.
I have to remind myself that life is about progress, not perfection. It’s about growth, forward movement, newfound perspectives, and wisdom. If we can look at who we were last month, last week or even yesterday and feel as though we’ve changed in a positive way or learned from an experience, then we have succeeded.
Savor simple pleasures
There is documented video evidence of my tendency to be easily satisfied. The proof comes in the form of Easter ’99 home movie footage. Give me a chocolate and a box of mini glitter pens and I will gleefully clutch them to my chest and profess my utter (high-pitched) joy and gratitude for ten solid minutes.
Though I’ve lost a bit of this wonderment since I was eight years old, I still maintain its importance and do my best to notice and appreciate the simple pleasures around me as often as possible.
Sometimes that means being excited by the lone peppermint-chamomile-jasmine medley tea bag I uncovered in the back of my pantry. Other times it’s about appreciating the inherent serenity in a dark, mild morning before the sun rises. Or it might be figuring out I’m actually two episodes behind in New Girl so I can watch a couple back-to-back. Or--like this weekend--it might be sitting down to tackle some Dutch language basics with Duolingo and discovering that the Dutch words for water and apple are water and appel.
Our average days are full of simple, easily overlooked moments of satisfaction. Do your best to notice and savor them when they happen.
Happy Monday, everyone!