This may seem crazy, but designing your life is easier than designing your living space. Why? Because all it takes is being mindful, daily, of your intention to lead a less complicated life. There is no need to hire a designer, fret over colors, or spend money. Essentially meaning, happiness is an inside job that can’t be bought by fancy furniture or expensive interiors. Designing a less complicated life is about creating inner peace, which leads to long-term happiness.
Here are three easy ways to find calm amid a chaotic world.
1) SAY NO TO DRAMA.
Drama comes in many forms. Sometimes, you’re the culprit. Like the time you blew your boyfriend’s innocent comment out of proportion? Or, when that driver cut you off and you spent hours emotionally retelling the story to anyone who would listen. In those cases, as soon as you catch yourself acting like a drama-queen, remind yourself that freaking out doesn’t change anything. It’s simply a waste of energy. Other times, non-events are inflamed by co-workers who over-exaggerate, a friend who never stops complaining, or a mother who knows the right buttons to push.
Now that we’ve established a few simple sources of drama, you may be thinking that those types of situations are just part of life. Well, I’m here to tell you that they don’t have to be. Even if everyone else around you is on emotional overload, you don’t have to jump on the dog pile. It’s their drama, not yours. You have a simple choice, and that starts by recognizing the situation for what it is, and then taking responsibility for how you react. In some cases speaking your truth, by stating that you’re looking for less bitching, moaning and blaming in your life, may quiet those close to you. If that doesn’t work, it’s okay to distance yourself from those who stir the pot. If the thought of that is a challenge, keep reading.
2) STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK.
In most cases, we don’t realize that many of the decisions we make are based on what other people think. From early on, we are taught to dress, act and react in certain ways. Generally, the so-called norms that we follow are placed in front of us by our families, as well as the media and society. That said, stop and think about how many decisions you made in the past twenty-four hours. How many of your choices hinged on what others would think? Did you use a filter before uploading your latest pics on Instagram, or change the words in your last Facebook post in hopes of racking up more likes? Did you choose the clothes you wore to pick up your kids, or go to the grocery store, out of fear of getting one of those looks?
Whereas those daily examples may appear simplistic, they still keep you from being your authentic self. Thus, what happens when you make bigger decisions that aren’t aligned with your heart? Like agreeing to take over the family tree farm when your passion is to live in a big city with a career in graphic design. How about joining, or staying with, a religion or an organization because it’s what everyone else does. On the surface, making a decision to do what brings you joy may seem selfish. On the other hand, making decisions that go against who you truly are can lead to, not only unhappiness but, worse, resentment and anger. Then, who ultimately suffers? Most certainly you, but also those around you.
Alternatively, when you become in tune with your choices, your joy escalates to a level that others want to emulate. And that leads me back to distancing yourself from others. If the new, drama-free you is no longer in sync with your peeps, you may want to consider if they’re the best tribe for you. Sometimes making decisions that hold the most fear, like dissolving relationships, result in the best outcomes. We’re just too worried about what others think to make the change. So, if you struggle with walking away from those who create chaos in your life, remember that you may not be able to control their behavior, but you can choose whether you participate.
3) STOP BLAMING OTHERS FOR YOUR ISSUES.
Other than the drama you create, most of this post has been written about external instances that we allow to affect our lives. In the case of ‘stop blaming others’, the finger swings back home to remind us that most of the issues we face are our own. When it comes right down to it, the episodes that trigger us emotionally are the areas in our life where we have internal issues that need to be confronted and released without pointing fingers. Even though we live in a society that teaches us to blame others, we’re not victims. This is about empowering yourself through personal responsibility.
When you recognize that a situation has stirred up inner turmoil, make a point of addressing it by asking yourself why. That doesn’t mean that you have to stop what you’re doing, it simply means that you acknowledge the disturbance so that later you can take quiet time away from your phone and computer to ponder the answers as they reveal themselves. If you’re open to embracing change in your life, the answers will come. You will also become aware that these are the lessons you are here to learn and, once you do, you will lead a much happier, less complicated life.