How I Stopped Caring About Things That Don’t Really Matter
Source: The Every Girl
Ever heard of the rat race? That feeling of having to catch up, having to keep up, and not miss a single moment. Everything matters, and everyone matters. Right. This. Minute.
It keeps us glued to our phones, seeking out the next hit of dopamine, looking for the next important thing.
I realized it had become incredibly hard to prioritize what really mattered in my life.
Like many, I was giving too many things space in my brain and heart, and the result was that nothing was a real priority anymore. I ended up feeling tired and skeptical. I became distrusting of people's intentions and questioned their motives, and didn't believe anything was really genuine anymore. Social media did nothing to help, only offering me more and more of the same.
So why do we care so much that Suzy's life and home and body look so perfect all the time, and why did John get that fabulous job that I wanted - does that mean he's better than me?
We feel rejected and unqualified all the time, and it's all because we care too much, and we care about the wrong things. I decided to stop the madness, stop wasting my energy, and start caring only about things that actually had a real effect in my life, in the long run.
We can be short-sighted and only focus on the immediacy of things. We care about what Josie is doing in her marriage because we think she's making the wrong choice and then she's going to complain to us anyway. We care that Jane got the opportunity we wanted because we wanted it first, and she doesn't even really deserve it. We care that Susan is going shopping too often and spending too much money, and doesn't she have bills to pay?
The first thing I did was re-evaluate my motives. The truth is, I probably cared because I thought it meant something about myself if I didn't. That I would be a bad friend if I wasn't fully and completely invested in the details. Or I cared because I felt threatened. Or because it made me feel less-than.
Maybe if I had done more I would have earned that job? Maybe if had tried harder.
All that energy was going towards worrying about what other people were doing when it really didn't affect me.
Re-thinking why I cared, and addressing that at the root gave me freedom to just let go.
Once I had enough self-awareness to realize none of it mattered, I was able to start caring about the right things that could get me to my goals. I began to funnel my energy to create better work, build my friendships up, spend time learning who I am in God's eyes, and growing in my character and not my image. There really wasn't time to worry about other people, and even better, my work became a much more genuine expression of who I am.
I also realized it's unfair to compare when all of our circumstances are different.
Think of it like this: Maybe your friend got the job because she had better training due to living in a state with a better school. Maybe your buddy's genetic makeup just happened to be better for this particular sport. Maybe your sister was just at the right place at the right time and the door opened for her.
Some things are completely out of our control.
There is so much goodness in absorbing that truth. It means we can stop trying so hard, and try easier. God made us each for a purpose, and if a door closes, it wasn't your door to begin with. Rejection really is God's protection.
Because of the way today's society is, we always feel pressure to always be doing something. But we are not these extraordinary superheroes with a never-ending calling on your lives to accomplish incredible things on the daily, and relaxing into who we truly are is hard when you feel like you need to be out doing something big.
Everything changed for me when I learned how to practice gratitude. Not just being grateful, but being mindfully and purposefully thankful for the little things. There is so much more value in the every-day things that don't get posted on the internet in great lighting. To me, it meant taking pleasure in doing the dishes, folding laundry, answering an email, finishing up a phone call, and really giving it 100% of my focus in that moment - and being mindfully thankful that I even had emails to answer, dishes to wash, and clothes to fold.
I learned to enjoy the mundane. The unshared. The slow life. And it made me stop caring about irrelevant things.
We can still have huge impact on the people near us, our families, our best friends, even if we're not necessarily changing the world out there. In fact, that kind of change is more important. Some of the best moments of my life are not shared. There is just no need for outside validation when you are truly happy and fully enjoying the moment.
The truth is that life is not effortless and perfect. Actually, it takes a lot of freaking hard work, blood, sweat and tears! And it's not always cute. But if there is hope of living an authentic life, we have to stop caring what others are doing, or thinking.
When we compare ourselves to others we begin to lose sight of what truly matters in life, and start floating around in this world of "who's winning", where it's all about appearances. In the end, what matters are the things that make your heart smile so big that you want to only invest your time and energy there.
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