Do you ever feel as if you are doing everything wrong?
Recently it has appeared that everywhere I have looked I am being informed of why and how I can increase my salary (and work from home), change my appearance and improve my health or create a better home.. I can do all of these things if I take another course, change something about myself, and invest my time in taking on one more piece of advice. Sadly, the advice always seems to begin with the fact that whatever I am doing currently, I am doing it wrong.
All of this has allowed me to start questioning. Am I truly doing everything wrong? Can my life be better?
In a world full of constant connection to self help everywhere (yes, I am aware that this space often discusses self help), I first think it is important to acknowledge that not everything is being done incorrectly. The life you currently have may already be a good life.
The grass is not always greener if you:
- Drink green smoothies each morning
- Spend $100 dollars on the latest anti wrinkle cream or have Botox injections every 6 months
- Practice hot yoga at the newest studio three times a week or train for the latest marathon
- Wear high end clothing purchased at the store where everyone shops (who is everyone?)
- Live in a tiny house or live in a McMansion
- Vacation in Europe and travel to the beach twice a year and then to the mountains in the Fall
- Become an entrepreneur , work at home and make thousands of dollars a month
- Have two children and homeschool them all while growing your organic vegetables
- Change the color of your blog design, post on Instagram daily and become a media star.
The truth is most of us are doing many things in our life correctly. Please stop and give yourself some credit. We are getting up in the morning, feeding ourselves and families, working at jobs and finding enjoyment in life. However, the world wants you to question all of these things. The world of Pinterest can make you doubt the beauty of your home (whatever the size), sponsored media posts force you to question if you are in the correct career and if you need to be doing something more.
As a counselor, I meet with many who are questioning where they are in life. High school students often feel they need to immediately choose a major in college; college graduates feel they must have the dream job within the first year; single individuals feel the pressure of finding someone; newlyweds are often asked when there will be children; middle aged individuals feel they need to have a retirement plan.
Social norms of living our lives in a specific way do bring us comfort but we must be aware that often the social norms do not meet our needs. Living outside of these norms often brings discomfort and the question “Am I doing this all wrong?”
As much as it takes strength to live outside of the social norms, forcing oneself to live within the confines of what everyone else is doing can lead to depression, anxiety and overall unhappiness. At times, I have even witnessed a paralysis of not living at all as one doesn’t know what they want to be doing in their life.
Stop comparing yourself and life to the Instagram photo feed or the Pinterest board. Put down the book or article stating doing these three things will help you live your best life. Don’t allow someone else to dictate what living correctly is.
Start doing (or continue doing) the things that feel right to you. Realize that not all articles, counselors, or friends have the best advice for you. If you do feel you need advice or suggestions, realize that not all advice is equal and consider your sources. Read the fine print on that blog post (who is this person to tell you what to do), research the background of the physician or counselor and take in the life of the friend or family member who is making suggestions (be leary of those who live the do as I say not do as I do mentality). Remember just because everyone is doing something doesn’t mean that it is right for you.
As you begin to explore your current life, you may find that you like the life you are living. There may be many things that you are doing correctly. Why change what isn’t broken?
What are the things society makes you feel you are doing wrong?