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.
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.
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