The older I get, the more I appreciate simplicity. The passage of time has provided deeper insight into how the simplicity which I longed for in the past wasn’t something for me to wait for-it’s something for me to reach out and take hold of-both within and outside of myself. Just to be clear, when I use the word simplicity, it isn’t meant to imply a lack of excitement or an abundance of dullness. Nope. Not for this girl. Laughter, play, and enjoyment are as necessary to me as a tall glass of water on a hot summer day.
I use the word simplicity to indicate a sense of ease, a lack of unnecessary complications, or a smooth flow. There are so many ways in which we can either complicate our lives for ourselves or allow others to do so. There are a lot of things which can seem complicated while in the midst of them which truly aren’t. No matter what we’re talking about, whether relationships (of any sort), career choices, health factors which are in our control, or just life in general-simplifying all things is fairly the same. It all starts with asking ourselves some easy questions which can be difficult to answer due to several factors. These factors usually boil down to a few simple sentiments-what we think we want, fear of change, seeing sometimes necessary work as too difficult, or a combination of any or all of the above.
There are all sorts of questions which we could ask ourselves when it comes to making our lives more simple. We can figure out most situations with the one question below.
Does (insert situation or relationship here) primarily enrich my life or create stress and unhappiness?
No matter which way we slice it, we are only in control of making changes in ourselves. So, if whatever it is which we are asking this question about creates more stress and unhappiness than the good that it brings to the table-the choices are to make up our mind to accept it as it is and adjust our lives and mindset accordingly, or to make the changes that we need in order to move from stress to ease.
Of course, this is usually a process and it isn’t my intention to imply that we can just snap our fingers and jump right in or out of anything. There is though, a line which can be drawn where lack of action becomes the choice which a person makes. After a while, the sorting and decision process ends and we’ve either improved our situation or we find ourselves in a loop. Not only are these loops unhealthy for us, there comes a time in which it becomes inconsiderate to continue to expect our loved ones to stay in the loop with us. If we find ourselves circling, the best course of action is to seek out professional/impartial assistance in gathering what we need in order to get out of it. Sometimes, we may even need to withdraw a little from our social circles in order to remove the temptation or habit of remaining stuck. Some things can only be handled by ourselves.
When there is someone in our life who is living the same pattern over and over, we have to understand that after a certain early point of support and advice-there is nothing that we can do which will break this loop for them. Not only do we do them a disservice by going around and around the same issues, we are not doing ourselves any favors either. We’ve all been there at one point or another to some extent.
It’s a normal part of life to go through this learning process. What simplicity looks like is different for each of us. For me, it is a life in which things flow naturally without bullying, disrespect, or undue pressure to conform. It may be something completely different for someone else and neither definition is wrong. The only thing which is our business is when the ways of another are so different from ours that it creates stress or incompatibility. Then, it isn’t our place to change their mind. Nor is it our place to “love them enough” to keep taking their shit, or keep having the same argument, or have to keep defending ourselves. At that point, we may need to decide to love them and ourselves enough to draw boundaries, and sometimes that might mean that we have to step away in order to maintain our peace and health. There’s nothing to be gained in judging ourselves for how we’ve fared with any of our success with simplifying our lives in the past. The space in which we can work is the one where are at this very moment.
As some of you who have been coming here for a while know, I do love Buddhist quotes and the one below feels like the perfect ending.