There are two types of people in this world. Those that want to teach themselves to live in the moment and those that choose to live in the future.
Learning to live in the moment brings contentment in the now and longing for the next big thing to happen doesn’t seem as big of a deal. This is a choice just as much as other things in life are. I do think most people are wired to live for the next big thing because this is the unobtainable idea that the world encourages. We start to compare ourselves to those that seem to be living a better story and their life looks better instagrammed than ours does, so we struggle to see the positivity in our own stories.
At least this is how I see life. Personally, I am so future driven that when things don’t come quickly and things don’t seem to go my way, I become frustrated and am quickly discouraged. Yes, I do see it as a strength, but sometimes I turn it around into a burden. I have to make a mental choice to change my mindset. If I don’t, I soon find myself with negative thoughts and emotions consuming me. The thing is, these feeling can only reign in our lives when we are consumed within ourselves. It is impossible to be depressed when we are truly concerned about others. When a form of depression has taken hold of my own life I can tie it back to a moment where I was selfish with my own desires, with my own pursuits and with my own goals. Negative emotions come when I don’t achieve what I think I should have. This happens when I begin to compare and don’t match up to my preconceived idea of perfect results. When I have allowed this to happen, the plague of discontentment grabs hold and has an easy time setting in. But, if you have been in this moment enough in the past like I have, you have either learned to fight it or you have learned to embrace it. Don’t allow it to set in, but rather battle it with all you have to allow your mistakes to become stepping stones rather than roadblocks.
Here are 3 ways to fight off discontentment and begin living in the now:
I really don’t know how else to say it. There are times throughout my day that I have to tell myself to stop. Consuming yourself in more isn’t always the answer. More is sometimes a mask for all of the problems going on around you. About a year ago, I had a moment to speak with a gentleman about his busy schedule. After our conversation, I gathered that his schedule was so busy because he didn’t want to sit in quiet. In the end, he decided to change his ways, but it wasn’t an easy thing. I am so glad he faced the real issue of not wanting to think about his troubles. He didn’t want to face his fears in order to ignore the elephant in the room. You only suffocate yourself more when you subscribe to this mentality. Fix the issues at hand, instead of shying away from them and then move onto more. I wish I had a perfect answer for the perfect amount of daily activities you can handle in your own life, but it really is on an individual basis and it matters what season of life you are currently in. But, I do know one thing that pertains to everyone reading this…
You can only fix life’s glaring issues by facing them head on.
2. Set realistic expectations.
With most things, I go after goals with relentless pursuit and set unrealistic expectations in the process. I spent years going after audacious dreams with all I have had in me and didn’t see the results that I wanted, so I would quickly become frustrated with my current circumstances. I would give up before I finished. While some of this had to do with me not pursuing my passions, but rather pursuing the situations I had somehow fallen into, my real problem was setting my goals so big that they were unrealistic. Goals are meant to be set with realistic expectations for your present, but also paired with expecting even bigger things for your future. I am here to tell you that you will reach that seeming distant future in your perfect timing. You can’t ever see it in your current circumstances, but when you get to the end and look back you will encounter that “Aha” moment. So for right now in this moment, know that your life won’t be remembered for the things that don’t really matter, but rather for the way that you live your life today, not in the distant future. Find satisfaction in the everyday. Let your prayer be, “Lord, what do you have for me today?”, not “What do you have for me tomorrow?”.
To fight discontentment, having realistic expectations for today is necessary.
3. Realize the beauty in every single relationship around you.
Let romance consume you. Romance your relationships until there is nothing left. Let your passions affect other people instead of you. That is where giving comes into relationships; when you would rather pour into others than having others pour into you. Relationships are for others and you just happen to be blessed by them in the process. The process of romancing my wife has taught me what it means to feel and to pour into others. No, my marriage hasn’t always been where it should be, not by a long shot, but that’s the thing. Real relationships are a messy process. The beauty in them is you take all of the bad things along with the great things and you magnify the greatness within them. This is what makes you stronger- the beauty comes with the mess. And when things look gloomy, you remind yourself of what tangible love feels like. You tell those closest to you how much you love them instead of tearing them down. You begin to care about how the other person feels rather than tearing them down to make you feel better. This is where relationships become rewarding and this is what life is all about. Great relationships bring contentment into reality.
The notes within this binder have the blood, sweat and tears of our marriage written on them. They include the passion, the mess and the beauty conveyed within them. Every note, every word, every letter has a real emotion behind them. Life becomes real as I read them. Where we have come from, where we have been and where we are going is present in ever page. And after reading them, each as a chapter in our book of what we call life, there is something so real found in each stage of life. Did we miss it? Did we see it? Do we remember it? Those are the questions I do not want to ask myself someday and in doing so, I have taught myself to be present in every waking moment of my life. I have finally come to the place where I realize this is what really matters. My closest relationship needs me.
Let relationships bless you and not burden you. Fight for relationships to make them even better. You live life to the fullest when you romance every part of it.
Choose to see the beauty in all that life has to offer.
Life can be beautiful or it can be a mess. You can find contentment or discontentment. You can see the pretty things or the ugly things. But, you can do three things to see the good in your life more often. You can be more realistic in your expectations. You can begin to see the beauty in the relationships around you. And you can stop to enjoy right now.
Don’t let discontentment set in. There is too much beauty to be seen today.