Those two words have been slowly (or maybe quickly) eating away at my spirit. They are the words that make me feel like I am better than someone else or more deserving: If only I had what they have then… If only my children behaved better… If only I had family that lived closer… If only we had more money…. If only I had a trainer… If only that hadn’t happened… If only my husband were more romantic… If only!
I’ve come to realize in all of those statements I’m trying to shirk responsibility on to someone else or something else for the “problems” I feel like I have. Rather than taking ownership and making steps towards change, I decide it’s better to wallow in the if onlys of my life and in turn place blame on the circumstances or people around me. Eventually those negative thoughts turn into bitterness or cynicism and overall discontentment.
Discontentment is the real force behind all of these if onlys. It’s the excuse we use for why it’s okay for us to compare our lives to others’ lives. It’s the way we justify not moving in a different direction and doing the hard work of making what we have now better, little by little, day by day. It’s the wrong belief that a better job or a better house or a better city to live in or better kids or a better husband/wife will make all of my problems disappear. They are what’s to blame, they are what’s wrong with my life. It has nothing to do with me and my decisions and my attitude. Sometimes, the only proper response to discontentment and these if onlys is commitment.
If I could use one word to describe what is most important to me in life, it is most certainly commitment.
This word means so many things to me about every aspect of my life. I feel a deep sense of commitment to do what I say I’m going to do to the best of my ability (that doesn’t mean I always succeed in doing that or that I don’t screw up along the way), whether that’s in my marriage, friendships, faith, business, or personal goals. But staying committed to see it through is a big deal to me, even in times of doubt and failure.
Sometimes life just really sucks – it’s hard and requires commitment to make it better or just keep moving. Being a mom of two little girls who need near constant attention plus running my own business requires an insane amount of hard work and often times just sheer determination to not throw my hands up and quit! There always seems to be someone doing it better than I am. Or someone else seems to be given more opportunity that I deserve.
Who or what really determines what I do or don’t deserve? Saying I deserve something implies entitlement and when I start feeling like I’m entitled to something I’m setting myself up to be really disappointed. It also leads me to a place of judging other people’s circumstances or opportunities in life by devaluing them as people.
There will always be people who are thinner, prettier, more successful, richer, wiser, more intelligent, better housekeepers, more involved mothers… the list is endless! Discontentment can only be killed when we commit to staying together, when we commit to saying this right here is good enough for me to stay and make it better. The only thing we have control over is staying committed to bettering ourselves and families and encouraging others to do the same. Let’s start admitting when we are wrong, removing the if onlys in our lives and celebrating each other’s accomplishments… we all deserve that.
Thanks to my husband, Chris, for collaborating with me to write this piece and for always pushing me to be the best version of myself.