Why do we let what others think of our lives affect us or our happiness? What do we have to prove to someone else? If we are happy then why does it matter what someone else thinks especially if we aren’t affecting their lives?
When I was younger I had gotten the notion that I was going to be somebody and do big things… what that means I still have no idea. It just sounded really good at the time. What even made me think this way? Well…my family didn’t have much growing up and really had to stretch a penny at times. Because of my circumstances, when I was in late elementary and middle school, I was made to feel inferior because my parents were divorced, my mom, brother, sister and I lived in a two bedroom townhouse and didn’t own a house, I didn’t have the newest clothes (hello hand me downs), and I couldn’t afford to do some of the things the other kids did. I knew we didn’t have much, but that was how it went and I never felt bad about myself or let it change how I viewed myself or my happiness. It wasn’t until those formidable years when things like that somehow determined how people would treat me. It suddenly made me rethink how I viewed myself and my life.
I thought if one day I lived somewhere exciting with an exciting job that when I went back home to visit people would really think I made something of myself. I had the big fish in a little pond mentality and couldn’t wait until I would graduate high school and could move far from my home town in so many ways other than just distance.
What I never realized was that I was letting my perception of what I thought others thought of my life determine my own thoughts. How crazy does that sound? I don’t know what people think of my life, yet I put this expectation on myself to impress people who honestly probably don’t even remember who I am and that I don’t even talk to and haven’t seen in nearly 20 years! Why did I care what people thought of the outside view if I knew how good it is on the inside?
I am currently not living anywhere glamorous nor am I working in my career field, and though both these things are only temporary, I am happy. As much as I know Wisconsin is not the place we will choose as our permanent place to live, it has been a great place to start raising our family. As much as I miss working with adults and working towards my career I wouldn’t trade being so involved in my son’s life and seeing all the firsts for anything, even my dream job.
So why do I care if it isn’t what other people might view as the most exciting life? I have seen people that have these beautiful, picture perfect lives from the outside, living in exotic and glamorous places with great jobs yet they are so unhappy on the inside and dreaming of a different life.
Having realized that I was allowing these self imposed perceptions to make me question the greatness in my life, I feel like I am now able to appreciate my life and all it has offered so much more. At the end of the day I can know that despite what it looks like to others, whether they would want a similar picture or not, it doesn’t matter. How I view my happiness is all that matters. I no longer feel like I need that validation from others, especially those who detracted from my happiness to begin with.