Your Desire For A Better Life Is Ruining Your Life

If you’re anything like me, you have an imaginary list of things that you wish to have or to do that you believe will bring you happiness.

 

Whether you dream of material things like a better job, a healthy relationship, a bigger home, a newer car, or non-tangible things such as a purpose in life or the desire to make a difference, we always have these “things” that we desire to make our lives better.

We live in a world where we have access to millions of books, programs and even online communities that preach the gospel of “creating a better life”. Even if we don’t think that anything is wrong with us, we are bombarded with things that tell us that we could have and need more to be happy.

But there’s a catch…and it’s HUGE.

Your desire to create a better life is actually ruining your life. Let that sink in for a moment. Your desire to look better, do better, and even BE better is actually sabotaging your progress to be happy with yourself and the life you live.

When I first heard about this, I was a little bummed and honestly a little stumped so I’m sure you have a few questions.

“Paige, how does my desire to lose weight sabotage my efforts to diet?”

“How does my determination to find a soul mate keep me from finding “the one”?”

I’m so glad that you asked. It’s what’s referred to as the “backwards law”. It’s the idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place.

WOAHHHH….

I’m reading this classy book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Believe me, It’s not one of those books that I would be caught dead reading on my lunch break but the content is both a mind f*ck and a smack into reality. You should check it out. Totally worth the money and awkward stares. I’m serious. Grab your wallet. 

Mark Manson, the genius, potty-mouth author, explains it a little something like this:

“The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make. The more you desperately want to be sexy and desired, the uglier you come to see yourself, regardless of your actual physical appearance. The more you desperately want to be happy and loved, the lonelier and more afraid you become, regardless of those who surround you. The more you want to be spiritually enlightened, the more self-centered and shallow you become in trying to get there.”

The proof is in the pudding, sweetheart. It’s the kind of thing that our beloved self-help books and life coaches aren’t telling us. The answer lies directly in what you’re telling yourself either consciously or subconsciously. By focusing on your goal of having an hourglass figure, you are convincing yourself that you aren’t happy or confident with the body that you have.

Sure, shedding a few pounds is healthy and will make you feel (and look) better, but by focusing on what you lack, the more overweight you will feel — regardless of how often you step on a treadmill or punish yourself by passing on that slice of cake. The same applies to your love life, your career, family, and countless other things that we dream of to make us happy.

Geez, who knew that trying to be better was so depressing..

What many of us have a hard time understanding is that this idea of the “perfect life” is not something that can be achieved. It’s something that is constantly worked toward — it’s a marathon, my dear, not a sprint.

A better life is not a destination which means, sorry to break it to you like this, you’ll never get there (wherever “there” is).

Now, hold on. There is an upside. Happiness is the journey, which means you can have access to it at any time if you stop thinking that it’s on the other side of the finish line or a tall mountain top.   

Truthfully, I am AWFUL at this. Like last place, failed the test, fall-on-my-face kind of awful. I live my life one happy moment at a time. Ugh, so bad. I tell myself things like,

“Once I make more money, THEN I’ll be happy!”

“As soon as I pay off my car, student loans, and have enough money to buy (insert object here), then I’ll FINALLY be happy.”

It feels great in the moment because I’m comforting myself with white lies like “almost there” and “only five more minutes” all the time. But what I’ve been learning recently is that my mindset has been incredibly destructive.

I have extreme highs about things and catastrophic lows when things don’t work out the way or in the timing that I want them to. Case in point, I’m blowing this backwards law completely!

What can I say, I’m working on it. I’m trying to slow down and enjoy the process and even the discomfort of trying to create this so-called “better life” for myself.

 

So stop dreaming of a better life because you’re only scaring it away! Do your best to enjoy where you are, welcome the struggle, and work to earn the life that you deserve.

 

Xoxo ❤

 

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28 Comments Add yours

  1. We all face the challenge of being or finding happiness…I have found I can approach this one of two ways…either be grateful and celebrate the life I have or busy myself wishing it were different. I choose to be present and happy! Great book by the way and great post!! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’ve got it down pat! I’m so happy that you’ve been able to find what works for you that keeps you smiling 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words!

      Liked by 4 people

  2. As u just said, finding what works for you. There’s no magic pill for happiness. Maybe we can’t always be happy and satisfied (it would be too much to ask), but we can sure try not to be soooo unhappy all the time.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think of it kinda like math. Often times there are many equations that result in the same answer. Happiness and fulfillment are the same way! What works for our friends may not work for us and what works for us may suck for someone else.

      I agree, we’ve gotta let go of the idea that 24/7 happiness isn’t realistic and probably unhealthy honestly! We must have healthy doses of other emotions and experiences in order to appreciate the happier times. Spot on my friend ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I won’t and can’t be hard on myself. Once per day/week will do.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Most times, I need a massive chill pill (or something on the rocks) to stop beating myself up with false ideas of perfection.

        Lately, I’ve been easing up and according to Manson, giving less fucks! It’s kinda nice haha

        Liked by 1 person

      3. We seem to be using the same pill. Perfectionism really sucks.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It’s poison right?!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. While I do think it is important to have goals, at the very least an intended direction or path, it is equally as important to find the good in what you currently have and recognize and celebrate the victories you have achieved towards obtained your “end goal”

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Absolutely! It takes a great deal of gratitude to appreciate where we are in comparison to where we’re headed.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I read this today after lunch with a friend, where I lamented being nearly-30 and not being where I wanted to be in my life. It was a very much needed reminder to be happy where I’m at. It can be tough to let go of the idealized versions we want for our lives. Keep at it. We’ll get there. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Girl, you are fantastic! We just have to give ourselves a break and relieve some pressure of “having it all together” and trying to amount to these unrealistic images of ourselves sometimes (: 30 is such a beautiful milestone and you should be prepared to celebrate those beautiful years of growth and progress. Absolutely, we’ll get there ❤

      (And in those moments when we want to fall down, we know we aren't alone!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this book too! I like to remind myself that everyday is an opportunity and it’s the choices I make that impact the way the day goes. I don’t have an “end” goal but I do have a clear vision of the path I want to go on and that combined with my strong values really gives me the strength to make the most of every situation. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You sound like you’ve found your own personal formula to what makes you happy, my friend! That’s great girl (: My equation for happiness is a work in progress and changes by the second so I’m definitely keeping myself on my toes at all times lol

      And yesssss, I’m LOVING this book. One of these days I’m going to have to write about all of the kick-ass motivational books that I’ve been reading recently! They’re all awesome and have inspired so much of my blogs lately.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love Manson, but have never read the book. Gotta put it on the list!

    Paige, this one is so unbelievably spot on, from the title to the very honest end. It is such a precarious balance in trying to delight in the life that we have (my personal mission statement!) but still seek “better.” I want to improve, to evolve, to seek a higher purpose and make a difference, but never at the expense of my primary mission: to delight in life.

    I think both can be accomplished. In fact, I KNOW they can. I live it. Today can be fantastic, and tomorrow can still be better. The important thing is to find that compass. Once we know our choice self, we can begin to be it, now, and grow into a better version of it in the future.

    Great stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comment put my entire post to shame!! You articulated this idea so beautifully. I love the compass reference! Thank you for always adding amazing ideas and thoughts to my blogs Tom. It’s amazing to have great minds sharing ideas.

      And yes, check out the book! It’s very tell-it-like-it-is and straight from the hip – typical Manson, ha! And it’s only a couple bucks online 🙂

      Like

  7. So true! Becoming obsessed with improving any area of your life just continually reminds you that you aren’t there yet and that gets so frustrating. It’s such a struggle to remain focused on what we want without getting tunnel vision and becoming overly determined. Awesome post, thanks for helping this concept sink in a little more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Chelsea! It really is a tough lesson to learn and it certainly takes time to accept that we aren’t perfect, but the imperfections are worth loving. I am awful with tunnel vision (in my life and with my driving ha!) so this is a daily practice and sometimes even a moment-by-moment reminder for me. I’m so happy that this was helpful for you, dear ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. enniyaya says:

    haha I’ve talked about this book often on my other blog Gallantly, gal, so when I saw the title I instantly knew what you were referring to. It’s so true but so hard to internalize. Thanks for sharing your point of view, though 🙂
    Oh and if you check out one of my latest posts, you’ll see I’ve nominated you for an award. Not sure if you saw my message through your contact page!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What’s your URL?! I can’t seem to track it down but I’d love to scour your blog and thank you for the nomination ❤ You're the sweetest!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. enniyaya says:

        Haha actually this might get confusing. So I nominated you with my blog enniyaya.wordpress.com, but you may be more familiar with me from my other blog, gallantlygal.com. They’re both me; I just go back and forth between them xD
        And you’re very welcome! Thank you for an awesome blog, and keep up the great work❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nah, I gotcha! (: I made sure that I was following both of your sites. More love to go around!

        Thank you again for nominating me and for allowing me to share myself so candidly here on my page!

        Now I need to get started on my thank you post ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      3. enniyaya says:

        Awww you’re welcome 🙂 Yeah this is a super late reply because I thought I had replied to all these and haven’t been on this blog in a while haha! Awaiting your post ❤ (I know you're super busy right now though so no worries haha)

        Like

  9. driftyness says:

    I have to remind myself of this more than I’d like to. It’s interesting how content we could be without being perfect. And that delayed happiness thing is too real…like I’ll never say to myself “I’ll be happy when…” but I do say things like “I can live my life when…” Realizing, though, that every time I hit a “happiness” (or more correctly, what I think will make me happy) milestone, the goal post moves! I agree with you, it’s a good thing to just appreciate where we are right now.

    Like

    1. Exactly! I couldn’t have said it better. I’m so guilty of the delay and I get frustrated when I feel deflated after the happy moment fades. I think we just need to stop assigning happiness to things and people, you know? There is always something beautiful in our current situation, even if that means we appreciate it more later down the road ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Love your matter-of-fact writing style. The words ring true. We love to say that is OK to feel bad, sad, mad, etc. Experience every feeling and embrace it. I think of the people I admire most in life (grandmother/mother/great aunt) None of them did anything noteworthy/famous etc. but they were all GOOD people. Being good is enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t have said it better myself! In a society such as ours that glorifies and expects perfection, it’s so hard to feel worthy but I totally agree that being a good person and grateful for our own divine purpose on this earth is more than enough 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to share this with me ❤

      Like

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