Happy 2016 my friends!! Just like many of you, I was so ready for a new year to begin! There’s something exciting about the chance to start fresh. As 2015 came to a close, I spent time thinking back over the year and really wanted to set some new goals. Then one day shortly after Christmas, I was listening to my husband talk about a challenge that he was having to face. When he finished I replied, “Honey, I’m sorry life can be so hard.” Then his response came and I knew what I needed to focus on for 2016. He simply said, “It’s ok! It’s meant to be hard, isn’t it?” I sat and thought about that for a while that night. YES! Life is meant to hard. It’s been designed to be messy and imperfect. But most of all, it’s an opportunity every day for us to learn, to love, to change and to grow. So, for 2016, I decided I wanted to more fully love my messy and imperfect life.
One of the things I love the most about “Or so she says…” is the focus on family, on life and on the things that matter most. I thought it might be fun to start a series on “How to Love Your Imperfect Life”. Each month I’ll try to share thoughts and ideas on how we can try to do that. There will never be a magic answer, but I’ll try to give some fun ideas that might help you along the way.
My life has been imperfect, messy and full of many challenges and turns in the road that have been really tough. But, after thinking about my husband’s response, I have to state that my life really has been PERFECT…perfect for me. It has been perfectly designed with plenty of opportunities for learning and growth, moments of joy and enough challenges to keep me grounded. I really do love my imperfect life. Saying that doesn’t mean I’m happy all the time. It means that I’m learning to appreciate the good AND the bad and I’m trying to love it all.
How can you love yours? I’ll share some simple tips that might help. If you have any to share of your own, I’d love to hear them! Let’s make 2016 the year where we love our lives a little more!
8 Ways to Love Your Imperfect Life
IT’S YOUR LIFE: This isn’t anyone else’s life. Don’t compare. Believe it or not, you can love your life even when you don’t have as much money in your bank account as someone else, or aren’t as skinny as you want to be, or have a “perfect” family like everyone else. You can even love your life when you’re sitting in a house that isn’t perfectly decorated. I promise! YOU CAN! Don’t chase after someone else’s happiness! Create your own!
CHOOSE: Loving our life is a CHOICE. And it’s OUR choice to make! Choose to bite your tongue, choose to count to ten, choose to see the good instead of the bad in someone, choose to ignore a fault of someone, choose to instantly forgive instead of holding a grudge, choose to be kind, choose to smile. We really do have so many choices that we can make that will have a profound impact on our own ability to love our life.
BE POSITIVE: This one may be a bit harder to do on some days, but I’ve found that if I can just focus on ONE thing that is good, my day goes so much better. Look for the good. It’s around us each day. Yet, it’s so easy to find the bad. I could easily sit and tell you all the things “wrong” with my life. But, why? There’s so much more that’s good! I really believe as we work on changing our thoughts and attitudes, we will start to love our lives more.
FORGIVE: This one is simple to explain, but really hard to do. Simply put, forgive. Forgive small and big things. Choose to not be offended. Choose to let go. Choose to forgive.
BE GRATEFUL: I really should have put this one first. Because honestly, this is the key to it all! Be grateful for as much as you possibly can. Be grateful for the people in your life, even though some of them might drive you crazy. Be grateful for the things you have, even though you might feel like it’s not enough. Be grateful for your car, even though it’s dirty and might be falling apart in places. Be grateful for dirty handprints on your windows, your outdated furniture and your yard that has weeds in it. Be grateful for your shoes that are worn in. Be grateful for your body, as imperfect as it is. Be grateful you are YOU! Be grateful for your strengths and talents, even though you think they may be few. We have SO much to be grateful for. This will help more than anything else. Don’t believe me? Put it to the test.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS: So easy! RIGHT? ha! This one is such a hard one for me! I really love having a full life, and being busy creating a fun and loving life for my family and friends. But, sometimes I don’t know my own limits. Sometimes, we have to reestablish priorities and limits. Learn to say no. Learn to give yourself limits on what you can do. Get your priorities in order. Establish WHAT and WHO is most important.
LIVE YOUR LIFE: Actually be present IN your life. Put your phone down. Move away from the computer. Turn the TV off. Pick up a book, turn the music up loud and dance, call a friend, paint, play a game with a child, try a new recipe that you’ve been wanting to try, or do something kind. Sometimes we get “dulled” by our daily lives and all it might take is for us to stop…look around…and really start living. Soon we’ll see how many GREAT things actually make up our lives. LIVE your life…no matter how messy and imperfect it is!
LET GO: Let go of all the “ideas” of what your life should be, or what you deserve for it to be. Let go of needing it to be perfect. There are no perfect lives. There are no perfect marriages or children, there is no perfect equation for being incredibly wealthy, there is no perfect home, and there definitely is no perfect body. And that is exactly how it should be…imperfect. Can life be hard? YES! SO HARD! But, like my husband says, “it’s meant to be hard.” I believe that. And I’m grateful for that. I’ve grown from all the messiness of my life, but the growth and happiness really came after I let go and accepted life for what it was. I don’t always “accept life for what it is” perfectly, but when I do, the outcome is always the same. I’m happier…and I love my life.
So, let’s get busy this month and find ways to love our imperfect lives. I promise that happiness is in the “here” and “now”…not somewhere down the road.
OPTIONAL FAMILY ACTIVITY: Give each member of the family a piece of paper and a pencil. Give them 30 seconds to write down all the things they wish were different about their life. Next, give them 30 seconds to write down all the things that are good in their lives. Have them look at their lists. Which list was easier to write? If they have more on the “good” list, then point out that they are probably in a good place. Encourage them to keep looking for the good things in their life. If the other list is longer, challenge them to take some time to add more to the “good” list. Point out that our lives are full of opportunities, people and things that make them great lives!
I hope it’s a great month!!
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