I’m 34 years old. My life has been great, yet I still wake up some days and feel completely unsatisfied.
I felt like a raging success when I leapt into self-employment in 2011, about 16 months after starting this blog. My husband joined me in 2012, I started a second successful business in 2014 (Crystal’s Cozy Care Pet Sitting), and we are still doing well with our businesses, yet I’ve lost that soul singing feeling of triumph.
Why Do I Feel Like a Failure?
Because I suck at being content.
My online business peaked 3-4 years ago but is still chugging along. I’m making efforts to grow it again. My pet sitting business is blossoming more every season, and we just hired our first official pet sitter team member. Yet, I keep comparing myself to others and feel like all my efforts are “meh”.
Since I started researching contentment and making a list of steps for myself, I figured I should share it with anyone else out there kicking their own butts for no good reason.
How to be Content
Weirdly, being content is harder for me than making money. Yet contentment comes in handy no matter where you are in life. It is a priceless frame of mind that simply allows you to be happy without costing you anything, including opportunities.
Though it’s a lot easier to say “be content, you little wussie” than it is to actually change your frame of mind. Here are some steps I’ll be taking to just be happier.
1. Don’t compare yourself to others.
I’m going to unsubscribe to all blogs and leave any groups that only make me feel frustrated that I’m not where they are yet. When I actually conquer contentment a bit, I’ll log back in and start making motivated plans. But I’m just not feeling strong enough for those sorts of sites to help more than hurt.
I need to keep in mind that humans generally compare their worst self to the best self of someone else. Until I’m not doing that, I shouldn’t make it so easy to beat myself up.
If this ends up meaning you’ll stop reading my site, I’m flattered that I’m someone you are comparing yourself to and I’ll look forward to hearing from you again once you come back. Keep in mind that your worst self and my worst self are probably incredibly equal.
2. Live in the moment.
Right before I started typing this, I was eating
a breadstick several breadsticks. I consciously made the effort to concentrate on every bite. I noticed how the bread was soft and chewy as I bit into it. I enjoyed the tangy spice and the sweetness of the tomato sauce that made up the marinara. I chewed each bite 20+ times before swallowing. I’ve eaten breadsticks and marinara many times, but I enjoyed the experience more just now.
Stop making to-do lists in your head while you are experiencing life’s little joys. Just enjoy the delightful moments!
3. Be grateful.
Last year, I started journaling a daily list of connections I made with people. I stopped within a couple of weeks because I was “too busy” or “too tired”. Well, that log of people I interacted with was forcing me to pay attention to my days and take into account that every interaction had an effect.
I’m restarting that journal and adding in a list of gratitude. I’m going to add to it every day. It’s harder to be a complete ass to myself if I have a list of awesome right in front of me.
4. Understand that spending money doesn’t lead to contentment.
Taking another cruise or having my entire house re-painted will not make me happy long-term. I don’t need stuff or to take a vacation. I just need to spend a little time figuring out what I actually want out of this life and then scheduling my life around making those wants happen. I know I value time with my husband, friends, and family, so I should concentrate on that.
5. Help others.
Last week, I chaperoned a 1st grade field trip to the zoo to help out my teacher friend, Mandy. The next day, I manned the register at a food booth at the Shell Houston Open to raise tips for SMART Pet Rescue. I was completely exhausted after each of those days, but felt good about myself for helping out.
Keep in mind that even the small act of smiling can make someone else’s day better. Start there and throw in volunteer opportunities and some acts of service to others and you’ll be feeling good about your current self in no time.
Out of those steps, I’m going to have the hardest time with #1…comparing myself to others. I’ll work on that while tackling the other steps with gusto. I’m actually feeling more content right this second…and I’m reaching for another breadstick.
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!