If today is like every other day, you will be inundated with messages about what you need in order to be happy. And all these things will be things. Products you need so you can look right, or feel right or smell right. But Happiness Is an Inside Job, as Sylvia Boorstein writes in her best-selling book. And it really is. We can get so caught up in chasing brass rings, making deadlines, dieting, and waiting for vacations that we truly forget to live. Here are three reminders so that you don't get caught up in the insanity, and miss all the beauty that happens in each day.
1. There's only one you.
We have roughly 7 billion people on this planet, but we only get one you. That's pretty amazing when you stop to think about it. There are somewhere between 30-100 trillion cells that come together to make up the person known as "you," and these cells have never, and will never, come together again in exactly the same way. You have your memories and your experiences and your outlook. You have your particular gifts to share, your unique perspective, your beautiful, tender heart. If you don't sing your song, the world will be robbed of notes only you can provide. Don't allow yourself to get caught up in being, looking, feeling and smelling like everyone else. Just be you.
2. What other people think is none of your business or concern. We can get so bogged down in worrying about how we might be judged. First of all, most people have enough work to do keeping their own side of the street clean. And as Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, "You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do." Secondly, you're the one living your life. At the end of the day when you're looking in the mirror as you're brushing your teeth, you're either looking at a friend, or a stranger. When we deny what's true for us in order to please other people, or to live up to some idea of how we think we should be, we betray ourselves. Doubt and fear are normal emotions we'll all experience, but when we allow those feelings to stop us from living life in a way that feels good to us, we feel lost and alone. It's impossible to find our way when we repress or deny our intuition.
3. Being vulnerable is part of being human. This is tough to swallow for so many people, but it's reality. We have these bodies with their unknown expiration dates. Every single person we love is in the same boat. We never know what might happen from one day to the next. These truths can fill you with fear, or they can inspire you to live and love with your heart wide open, every single day. So you make sure the people in your life know how you feel about them. So you don't hold onto grudges, or focus on ways you've been slighted or wronged. Life is too short for that. If you're in a relationship that brings you nothing but pain, you'll have to get out, because life is too short for that, too, and because you can't shine your light if you're participating in something that crushes it. You have this one life. I think the idea is to leave nothing in the tank, to share all the love you've got for as long as you have to give it.
We're culturally trained to think in terms of milestones and markers. We'll be happy when we graduate from a good school, get a great job, meet the right person, buy a big house, lose those 10 pounds. The truth is, life is made up of moments. Connection, love, laughter, giving from your heart, affection, a hug from your little one or your partner, your brother, your best friend, the feeling of the sun on your face, passing but real connection with a total stranger -- all these moments are so filled with beauty. If you can string together a bunch of beautiful moments, you'll have an incredible day. And if you string together a bunch of days like that, you'll have an amazing life.