February 18th - Welcome to day 18 of the Myrrhmade Love Where You Are Challenge!
Come on in and join us!
Day 18: Wanting What You Have
It's easy to think that we will be happy once we get what we want. However, more often, when we get to that "over there" we still find that happiness is still "over there" only that "over there" is different.
We never get "over there" because we're always here.
Happiness doesn't come from controlling our environments. We've all heard the phrase "happiness comes from within" and probably all brushed it off with a "yeah, but it would certainly be easier if..." Well, I've got great news for you: You get to choose how you feel. Now I'm not saying it's easy, we all have lifetimes of experience, neural pathways, coping mechanisms, and our own brains to outsmart.
The grass is greener where you water it.
Our emotions are made up of the thoughts we have and the pictures we make in our minds. Our thoughts lead to our emotions and our emotions drive our actions. While we have thoughts that come up quickly, we get to choose our reactions to those thoughts. Thoughts we've had repeatedly have strong neural pathways and our brain will choose comfort and familiarity over new (read possibly dangerous) any time we let it go on autopilot. You might be surprised at how much of our lives we really do live out of habit. (To learn more, I recommend The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg)
Sometimes even just noticing that we're having a thought is enough to give us space to choose a new and more helpful thought.
"I'll be happy when..." is a familiar thought to many of us. It keeps us safe and comfortably small. It also delays our joy. We don't need to do that. We can experience joy right now.
Everything that you want that you don't yet have is outside of your comfort zone. And everything you want is because you think you'll feel better when you have it.
What does this have to do with wanting what you have?
Bringing appreciation, gratitude, and joy into the here and now (the only time that we can actually experience anything past present, or future) brings "over there" and puts it right here.
Daily Challenge: What you would wish you had if you no longer had it?
Just like the phrase about not knowing what you've got until you don't have it anymore, what would you miss if, say, your house flooded and everything was damaged? What would you replace? What would you pay to reacquire and make a spot to keep?
While many of us might feel some relief from clutter or the burden of having too much stuff, we all have so much in our lives that we've carefully curated over the years. If you looked back to see how far you've come, this exercise may be easy.
Take it a step further: it's easy to value what we don't have, particularly those who engage in "retail therapy" or feel a thrill of something being "new."
Daily Mindset Mantra: I value what I already have more than what I don't.
A few years ago my older daughter said out of the blue, "Our house is perfect for us because it's already ours."
I'd been struggling to manage my mind around some issue or another and this stopped me in my tracks.
Buying and selling property is incredibly expensive. Just the fees, repair costs, taxes, sales commissions, etc. can be tens of thousands of dollars.
If you rent, and even if you do all the work yourself, it's still a significant time cost that really adds up if you calculate the dollar amount per hour.
A bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush.
While some of us dream of moving, if you took even half the amount of money it would take to move and invested it in where you are now, how much happier could you be until the time does come to move?
Without spending a dollar, what do you already have that you can enjoy more? You can use the good stuff. You can appreciate the imperfect and be grateful for the ability to use it.
You can dig deep into the wabi-sabi (a Japanese term for embracing the transience and imperfections of things) of where you are and by extension, yourself.
How can you increase how much you value what you already have rather than overvaluing what you don't have?
Bonus task: Get rid of something(s) that you wouldn't replace.
The fewer things you have the more special they are.
Sometimes we can't see what we have that is wonderful because it's overshadowed by the things we don't want. Is there something in your life that you would be relieved if it wasn't there? Give it a new life in someone else's.
I love my home when it's clean and tidy.
That in itself is a huge shift for me.
I've struggled with housekeeping and tidiness my whole life. At one point I was a professional house-cleaner and although I did enjoy it, by the time I got home I was done. After I left those jobs, I promised myself I would never have to clean for money again.
When I was doing the mental prep-work for this post I realized that I had several repeated thoughts: "I'm bad at keeping things tidy" and "it feels bad to clean."
And sure, I have plenty of evidence for this. As a child, even though I could tell you where every single thing in my room was, you couldn't exactly walk from one side to the other. My dad was fond of chuckling and saying "left-brain files, right-brain piles" and I remember smiling when I came across the idea of a "horizontal filing system" when applied to visually-oriented creatives who prefer to be able to see all their supplies and materials.
Noticing that I was thinking that I was bad at keeping a tidy house and noticing that my quick reaction to cleaning is "feels bad," no wonder my environment reflects this!
Not today reptile brain!
What if cleaning is fun? What if it feels SO good to have a clear open space that every moment of tidying is simply moving towards ease and joy? What if, letting go of the energy drain of the clutter is basically the same thing as getting my body back?
Last year I lost 40lbs. In January, I wrote a post about 15 Mantras and Mindset Tips that I used to accomplish this that can be used to encourage healthy growth toward any goal.
This morning, I went through that list and rewrote them all centered around my own mindset around housekeeping and loving where I am.
Today I decided to get my kitchen counter back. It's my printing studio, an overflow plant shelf, and becomes a catch-all for, well... you'll see.
As of this writing, I have removed 264 things, (some after the photographs below). While some things got piled on the girls' art table and some papers for my business got piled in the bedroom while I await a second shelf, every other thing was put away, put in a recycle bin, compost, trash, or eaten.
Here's a little visual math:
The shift in the kitchen is palpable and inspiring.
Even if we moved to a different house, I would likely not like it any more than this one if I don't shift my mindset and foster different patterns and habits.
What patterns are you shifting to focus on what you already have?
What do you have that's great and better for the having of it?
Make sure to check back here tomorrow for the next challenge, the next tips, and the next dose of the Myrrhmade Love Where You Are Challenge.