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The Haves and the Have Nots

July 13, 2010

I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately. About appreciating what I have and not yearning for what I don’t have. I’ve been reading about happiness and one of the things I learned is that the old adage of “don’t go to bed angry” isn’t always true. Sometimes it’s better to leave things unsaid. To not argue every detail and just let things go. It turns out, it’s better to focus on the good. (Not really a surprise when you think about it, is it?)

Another thing I’ve read about happiness is that it’s just as much about reducing the things that make you feel bad as it is about increasing the things that make you feel good. This might be bad to admit but there are certain blogs that make me feel bad when I read them. This is not because of the blogger but because of things that I already feel that I’m lacking. I might see someone’s beautiful decor and yearn for the same furniture. Or the cooking. Or maybe I read about all their success in an area where I am struggling right now. And while I never ever wish anyone ill, I do notice that some blogs skew my perspective of my own life more than others.

I know blogging is one of those mediums where people only share what they choose to. Most people prefer to only share the good and I understand that. Having read what I have about happiness, I even welcome that. And I know their life isn’t all good. Just like the neighbor next door who might look perfect, but is struggling with an eating disorder, the blogger might have lost a parent. Might have a cheating husband. Or maybe a chronic disease. A sick child. Ongoing career struggles. Who knows? No one’s life is perfect. And everyone has struggles of their own, some bigger than others but we all do. And I know this. I know that even things that look perfect on the outside aren’t really perfect. But it still doesn’t always stop me from feeling bad about myself. I’ve noticed that this feeling is heightened when I am in a weaker place than usual. If I am struggling, then I take things more personally than usual. I make it all about myself. (and how I am lacking.)

So, a few weeks ago, I decided to take a break from reading some of these blogs. Just until I felt stronger and could stop making it personal. And while I am sad about some of the inspiration I’m missing, I must admit it works. Avoiding these blogs gives me room to focus on what I have and appreciate it and be in a more positive space.

Maybe it’s denial. Maybe it’s being weak. I don’t know. I just know it works. Just like it’s important to surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you, I think it’s important to spend my time reading sites that make me feel better, regardless of the reason.

Eventually I will have to work on my issues (or maybe they will just go away) but for now, denial is perfectly okay with me.

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