Food For Thought: Simplicity
I’m all new to this whole blog thing, but something I realized even before I’ve started this blog is that it’s essentially my little space where I’m getting to write about exactly what I want (hoping that you guys like it, of course). And apart from showing you outfits that I’ve worn, take you to places that I’ve visited or share my favorite music with you, sometimes it just feels so good to write about those thoughts that pop into my head when I’m in bed at night or out for a walk with Maxi. You know, the kind of musings that usually emerge after you’ve read an inspiring book, or seen a great movie, or from those conversation you have on long car journeys with close friends.
Example given: Simplicity. I don’t know how many pins I have on my Pinterest board that deal with this topic. You’ll find all these clever words there like “Keep life simple” or “Simplicity is the key to happiness” and “Once you need less, you will have more”. And well, doesn’t that sound all so true and inspiring? At least to me it does. But what does it even mean to “keep life simple”? I’ve asked myself this very question during our holidays – when life actually seemed to be so simple – and came up with 6 ways for myself to integrate more simplicity into my everyday life.
1. Say goodbye to #fomo.
Due to the oh-so-glamorous life often displayed on Social Media, FOMO (fear of missing out) has become a serious issue to deal with. I guess we all know the feeling of seeing events we would have loved to be invited to, or the uncomfortable feeling you have if you’re lying on the couch because you’re exhausted of the week, instead of doing a full on workout or running 10k. Often, FOMO is the base for all bad vibes. You’re doubting yourself or you might even be jealous of others… no matter what, it just makes you feel bad. I figured, the more happy I am with myself and the more I accept my own needs and wants, the less affected I am by FOMO. After all, how can I miss out on something if I’m the happiest person I can be, doing exactly what I do in that moment? So it all comes down to being content about where you are, and being less interested in where everyone else is. I tell myself to remember that all these things I have to do in life, (mostly) all other people have to do as well. Whether it’s grocery shopping, ironing or staying in to save money for the upcoming holiday. And if you have friends who make you feel like you’re missing out on something because you decided to stay at home for whatever reason, you might want to re-consider your friendship.
2. Make priorities.
I’ve caught myself several times these past couple of weeks thinking that I’m not on top of my game. Meaning, that I’d love to do more: more sports, more cooking nice dinners at home, more seeing my friends, more walks with Maxi, more cleaning the apartment, more blogging… but fact is: There’s only so much time you have per day. Working a full time job during the week and taking wedding pictures on most weekends does not really offer a lot of free time. It makes me feel guilty and sad at the same time if I don’t get everything done I’ve put on my to-do list, which results in a high frustration level. So instead of writing endless to-do lists, I now set myself realistic goals for the day and if I then manage to squeeze in an additional workout that day, I feel extra pumped. Making priorities helps me a lot to figure out what’s really important. And let’s be honest: does it really matter if you’ve freshly vacuum cleaned your apartment, or ironed that one shirt you like so much? Right.
3. Do what you think is right.
After turning my life upside down last year and going through a rough breakup, I’ve heard this sentence so often: “But how can you do that?” – well excuse me, how can I NOT? If you’re not feeling comfortable with the person you’re with, the job you have or the city you live in, you’re the only one who can change it. Making a decision to change your life – whatever aspect of life this is – usually does not bring happiness to every party involved in this process. If you’re breaking up with your partner, you’ll most probably upset him/her. If you’re quitting your job, your boss might be sad to lose a great employee. And if you’re deciding to move to another place, your family and friends will be sad to not have you around anymore. But after all, it’s your life and you are the only one who has to live it. No one else is doing that for you. No one else is walking in your shoes. And no one else knows exactly how you feel deep inside your heart. So you’re the only one who can decide what’s right for you. Whether this concerns relationship questions, decisions on quitting a job and taking on a new challenge, or moving to another place for a new adventure. I truly believe it’s time to do less of what others are expecting us to do, and more of what our gut feeling and hearts tell us to do.
4. Do what you love.
If someone would ask you: “What do you love doing?”, what would it be? Isn’t it so easy to forget what we are REALLY interested in? I mean, don’t get me wrong: I’m super interested in seeing all those #ootds and #coffees and #freshflowers on Instagram, and I love seeing where fellow bloggers spend their holidays or go on weekends. But seriously, what is it that you’re so interested in, that you forget time and space? Remember when we all had those friendship books at school, which we would fill out and list our “hobbies” (is that even a legit word to use anymore?!) in. I think my classic answer was “playing with friends, playing with my dog, and doing arts and crafts”. And yet once we’re grown up and out in the real world, life revolves around pay checks, work, relationships and where you went on holidays. Although, to be honest, my list has not really changed that much. Instead of playing with friends, I now love meeting them for a coffee; instead of playing with my dog, I now… yeah okay, I still love doing that (you got me); and instead of arts and crafts, I now love taking pictures (also kinda artsy, right?). To me, getting back in touch with actual interests beyond choosing new outfits and places to visit feels weirdly refreshing though. Plus, it’s always good to know what you love doing and what sets your soul on fire. Me? Apart from the above mentioned things I love watching silly Netflix series with my boyfriend, ordering sushi and spending a whole day cuddled up on the couch. Yup, the secret’s out.
5. Don’t compare yourself with others.
We have this thing at work called “Compliment Thursday”. It’s that one day a week, when we should all be friendly to each other and give out random compliments to team members. Not that this has any deeper meaning to it, and we also have another thing called “Mean Friday”, which I will tell you about another day – but it made me think: What do I refer to as a real, true compliment? I remember learning about the different meanings and perceptions of compliments in a class called Intercultural Communication I took at uni; it’s quite interesting how a certain behavior is seen as absolutely positive in one nation, whereas it’s super rude in another. However, we also learned about the concept of true compliments. The idea behind it is to compliment someone once a day for anything but their appearances. Which means, you should compliment them on being a great listener, or tell them how they have the ability to always brighten your mood, rather than telling them: “Wow, your hair looks so great today!” (although, I mean, who does not like to hear that).
Don’t we all know how hard it sometimes is to congratulate others on their success, especially if it’s something we wish to succeed at, too? I guess we’ve got to thank our human nature for that. My parents have told me from the very beginning that I’ll always feel best when everyone around me feels amazing, too. The concept of “sharing is caring” – ice cream with friends, blankies with my dog, or compliments with each other – has always played a big role in my family. And yet, instead of sharing compliments and congratulating others on their achievement, I sometimes find myself comparing to others and more often than not, it leaves me very frustrated… In the field I work, (and I guess it’s not any different in most jobs out there) comparison is the theft of joy. It would be a bold lie if I said I’ve never been guilty of wanting what someone else had and questioning my own stuff, once I compared it to others. But it’s a very dangerous way of thinking and should be nipped in the bud right away. How to deal with it? Simply tell your girl crush you think she’s a bomb. Also, remind yourself that somewhere out there, someone is desiring what you have (yes, really). So put your head down, focus on your own goals, and be inspired by the success and achievements of others – because if they can do it, so can you!
6. Last but not least: Keep things simple.
This point refers to a more superficial part of life: Talking outfits, make-up and how to make breakfast in bowls look good. Everyone who’s following me on Instagram probably knows it’s a guilty pleasure of mine (trust me, the breakfast bowl tastes equally amazing if all toppings are just messily thrown in there), but what I’m trying to say: I think we should all remind ourselves that all we need to be happy is less. Less make-up, less clothes, less sorrows, less stress, less fears, less pressure… If you’re not in the mood for washing your hair today – fine, that’s what messy buns are for. If you can’t decide what to wear today – just wear whatever you wore yesterday. If you’re too busy answering to text messages of your friends – call them. If you have not seen your parents in a while because work has fully consumed you – back to point no. 2 – make priorities. I think you get what I’m saying, so I’ll leave you with this quote I’ve totally stolen from Pinterest, but I like it so much I’m gonna share it anyways:
Make it simple, but significant.