Words by Jacquelyn Salvador
There’s a common message that we hear in our lives, and it’s causing a lot of problems. The message boils down to “reach higher” or “do more” or “be better.” Sounds pretty positive and valuable, right? At face value, yes, and it can be good and admirable. It can inspire and motivate us, improving various areas of our lives.
The problem with all that reaching, yearning, and striving for improvement, is that it can leave us feeling inadequate.
It can put us in a state of constant perceived insufficiency, so that even if our lives are on the whole pretty good, we perceive them as lacking. Perhaps there is some truth to the fact that we could improve in certain areas (actually, that’s pretty much guaranteed...we’re all works in progress). If we only focus on what’s missing, though, we’re locking ourselves into a permanent loop, chasing our tails trying to get to the next level, only to realise it’s the same drive for more once we hit each new level.
We see the message to “reach” all over the place, so much so that we might not even notice its presence anymore.
It’s the background noise of daily life, droning on and permeating our subconscious with “buy the newest, greatest…” and “do something greater” and “be a better version of yourself.” Especially for those going through rough periods, or battling low self-esteem, or even those who tend toward perfectionism, this can all be interpreted by the brain as one big dark cloud: “you’re not enough.”
So as someone who has felt the heavy pressure to reach (sometimes to the point of exhaustion, sickness, burnout, and more), I’d like to poke a hole in that dark cloud. Let’s just let the negativity of it seep out and float away.
You ARE enough, every minute, of every day. Just by taking one breath after another, you are doing exactly what you need to be doing.
And sure, there’s always something else, something more that could be done or improved, but that doesn’t mean now is necessarily the time for it, nor does it make you or your routine or your current life situation any less valuable.
You can take time off as needed, without beating yourself up about the lost productivity.
You can enjoy life’s pleasures without speeding on to the next checkpoint.
You can just be still for awhile, letting that time replenish your energy and imagination.
So aspire to greater things. Why not? We can all achieve great things, whether that’s being a great parent or creating a business that changes lives or just being a kind person who makes others smile. Reach and grow and achieve, just be sure not to spend so much time reaching or wishing or yearning that you forget to rest and enjoy where you are.
Author of 360 Living: Practical guidance for a balanced life, Jacquelyn is a tireless seeker of personal betterment, and she's on a personal mission to help others find their own best version of life. Her own (ongoing) journey of personal happiness started out with years of chasing the perfect approach to "the good life," but she eventually realised she was anything but happy, so she packed life into a backpack and hit the road to find it for herself on a backpacking adventure around Europe. Along the way, she teamed up with the Authentic Happiness Project to help others on their own journey of personal happiness (backpacking optional) through an empowering combination of inspiration, learning, and personal reflection.
Jacquelyn lives and works as a yoga instructor with Affordable Yoga & Fitness in Paris, France, helping others find better health and happiness through mindful movement. She shares her adventures in the art of living a good life on Instagram at @jj_moves.
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