Have you every found yourself constantly competing with yourself? Are you always striving for more and having a hard time to just let go and enjoy the moment? How many of us are scrolling through photos on Instagram, or flipping through pages in a magazine, wishing their life looked something similar to what they saw? Probably, most of us. I have surely been in this place often myself and I always find myself looking for more; more work, more projects, more goals to reach to satisfy what I think society expects of me. Wanting to achieve something is obviously something great and striving for more is nothing you want to lose. Yet, always being on the go and thinking about what could be (living in future) can be extremely exhausting. Not only is it something that can easily lead to unhappiness in my opinion, but we tend to miss the present; the here and now.
So where does this strive of always wanting to be above average come from? Surely not everyone is a superstar that needs to outperform every time. We are not all professional athletes and most of us do not run the world and have to make sure everything runs perfectly smooth and even if, we certainly do not get a you-did-well Cookie for it. The more we strive, the less average we become. And who is average? Is it the people around you, your neighbors, the family, everyone at work – whom are you competing with all this time? The further away we find ourselves from average, the more difficult it becomes to building a relationship with an average. And what in the world is so wrong with being average? The more average we are the better we tend to fit in with our surrounding. Fitting in means being accepted and being accepted is what most people strive for. Perhaps we can say that striving for more really is trying to be average so that we feel accepted. If someone accepts us, appreciates us and especially loves us – it is (hopefully) not about what we do or how quickly we succeed in certain disciplines but rather because who we are.
The questions then comes up how to become happy with being the ordinary (which, and I‘ll repeat my self, basically means you are being loved and have succeeded already). For one, you can practice more gratitude. Being thankful for what you have – be it the electricity and running water in your house, your full fridge, your dogs that love you or you spouse that could not live without you, your children that you put to bed at night with a kiss on their forehead or the cat that brings home a dead rat just to show you how much it loves you. The more we practice gratitude the happier we get and the more we learn to accept and realize the ordinary around us. Self-compassion is another discipline you should be practicing: what are the traits that you are being loved for, the talents you have you share with others and the warm character traits that puts a smile on everyone? Believing in yourself and, most importantly, repeating these words and thoughts to yourself routinely is of utmost importance. Mindfulness is another example. The more mindful you walk through the day, and the more present you are, the more you understand to appreciate the ordinary. There can be so much joy and positivity in so many situations that we often overlook. And finally, understand yourself. Sometimes it is best to sit down and reflect upon oneself – what are my values, my beliefs, my true goals in life, what do I wish for and what is most important in life? Often times, the answers revolve around being happy, being healthy, having a healthy family, being able to give the children the best education, or being a great mother/father/sibling/spouse. All these things are important, oh-so-important, yet you could almost say they are average, even ordinary. Don‘t we all want that? So then we find ourselves back at square one; we are above-average, yet average, we like to strive, yet want to balance life and ultimately we want to feel loved and accepted.