Appreciating the little things, not the big things. That’s what life is all about.
Well, hopefully that got you reading on…
Many people I speak to who have been through Anxiety and come out the other side, are left with an overwhelming appreciation for the seemingly smaller things in life. When I say smaller, I suppose I mean the things that perhaps we tend to overlook in our search for the “bigger, more important” things, like a high flying career, a perfect relationship, a constantly desirable exciting life, becoming rich, having the “perfect” figure. These big things often become the ultimate aim and prize of happiness for people and whilst they are on that search for happiness through these means, they completely miss the tiny, precious things along the way. The things that, if we let them, can bring more happiness and contentment than we ever would have thought.
I used to focus on my BIG goals, and this ideal of a lifestyle I was striving towards – must get a better job, must keep the social calendar full, must get a boyfriend, must buy a flat, must be achieving – but one of the many things Anxiety has taught me is to stop striving for something invisible, because all this does (if not achieved) is bring me disappointment and a sense of discontent. And plus, even if it is achieved, there will then always be some other big thing to replace it. Sure, I want to do well in my job and I’d love to meet a lovely guy to settle with one day and I love to plan social things to look forward to because I love being around my friends. But those things are no longer the key to my happiness; my happiness comes from inside me, in the moment, in the now and in the things I have right at my fingertips in any given moment. It was only up until about six months ago that I actually realised that these big things that we focus on in order to bring happiness are complete mirages. They’re not real. Isn’t that totally baffling?! To me it really was a mind boggling moment. It sounds bizarre but it truly had never crossed my mind that these things I envisage and imagine as keys to my happiness (sometimes almost unconsciously) were total and utter fantasies based on the conditioning of my own mind, which of course comes from social views / family views and any other circles we may have been influenced by.
So for example, I may have imagined myself as married by 28 with children by 33 (TOTAL example, plucked out the air) but that never meant it would ACTUALLY happen (almost certain it won’t unless some guy is willing to act bloody fast…). But I might get to 30, get offered a job in Russia, go there for two years, then come back, meet Jonny Wilkinson (now we’re really dreaming…), have a mad love affair with him, then join the army, then become a Nun…it goes on. I mean, could be the best thing to ever happen to me, I might make some really amazing Nun friends, start some kind of business and thrive in the Nun world in some other way. But you see what I’m saying, I actually have ZERO control over what happens in my future because things change all the time so even though right now I don’t fancy being a Nun, perhaps in a few years I would. I mean it’s unlikely, but it’s not impossible. Baffling?! But also quite a relief as well don’t you think?!
Anyway, here’s that funny Nun from Sister Act:
I do believe that extreme things happen to you sometimes in order to stop you dead in your tracks and force you to face your reality and who you are. As if someone somewhere, or perhaps my own self was saying: ‘Woahhhh, time to stop attempting to control an imaginary future, let’s open our eyes for a second’. As if pulling me up short with Anxiety and Panic Attacks and forcing me to allow my reality to just BE. And do you know what? It really did. It spun me and spun me round until I had no choice but to live very much in the Now. And honestly, it’s been one of the best lessons of my life.
Now, more and more, I take joy in “small” things like, sharing a cup of tea and having a chat with a friend, dancing round my bedroom to Beyoncé, daydreaming about a beautiful man, a chilled evening in reading a book, having a clean tidy flat, going out to some quirky new place in London, phone conversations with my Mum, a night in watching Made in Chelsea (guilty pleasure, sorry, I know it’s cringe but I love it…), clean sheets on my bed (errrr, bliss?!), writing, enjoying a reeeeally tasty dinner (I hope I will never EVER take my appetite, my love for food nor my ability to eat for granted again). These things always existed in my life before but I never really saw them as more important or precious than the Big things I thought I was controlling and focusing on.
I think that’ll do for that philosophical Nun / Size related rant. Hope you enjoyed and feel free to comment away…