I belong to a tiny house Facebook group, and recently read a post by someone who was essentially demonizing a family on a TV show because they didn’t fit the member’s definition of “living tiny”. She berated them for having a large budget, for building a “tiny” vacation home while still having a 4,000-square-foot primary residence, and for not being excited about a composting toilet.
The thread of comments exceeded 100, mostly consisting of judgment for the family, with a few people encouraging everyone to live and let live.
I was stunned by how much energy people were spending on making this family wrong simply because they were making different choices. Situations like this can further clarify what you do and don’t want, but once you make the situation your focus instead of yourself, you fall down a rabbit hole of misery and frustration.
Think about the people in your life — I’m sure you have a relative or friend who is in a relationship that makes no sense to you, is working in a job that you’d consider torture, or is living in a way that you’re sure would make you miserable. Do you spend a lot of time and effort trying to change them? To get them to take action to improve their situation — even if they don’t see it as something that needs improving?
Ruminating about others’ choices is an effective way to avoid dealing with your own stuff, but guess what? Your stuff just waits for you. It doesn’t magically go away because you’re not paying it any mind. It hangs out and gets more and more annoying until you can’t ignore it any more.
Wouldn’t it be nice to get a handle on that shit before it gets to that level of annoyance? Or to take some action on improving your situation so you’re not sidetracked by others?
Maybe your frustration stems from envy or jealousy instead of confusion or disgust. It can be tempting to want to bring someone down when they’re a mirror for what you’d like to have in life. That sure seems easier than doing the work required (emotionally and physically) to have it for yourself.
Judging someone for having what you want is essentially like begging the universe to never send it your way. The more you can feel true joy for others’ successes, the more you welcome that into your life.
So whether your puzzled or prideful, judgmental or jealous, take stock about how much time and energy you’re spending examining others’ situations.
Everyone has a different definition of happy. Don’t be so invested in others’ happiness that you neglect your own. (CLICK TO TWEET).
Until next week, keep taking those steps to Live Out Loud.