Most definitions of the word “simple” generally refer to something being uncomplicated. As you read further, more definitions pop up such as “easily understood” or “presenting no difficulty.” That got me thinking, is it realistic then to have a simple life? An uncomplicated life that presents no difficulty? Well honestly, the short answer is no. Just day to day activities alone, such as commute, can be difficult. But as a self proclaimed simple person, I believe life’s what you make it.
Simplicity is not just about organising your drawers or removing clutter from you room. I mean, as much as I love order, life’s a lot more than just physical. Simplicity can go much deeper than we can actually see.
When we talk about simplifying life, we’re really referring to our mental, emotional and social life. And for some of us, even our spiritual life. Based on this, a lot of the complications in life aren’t necessarily about others, but more about how we view others, how we view the world, and especially how we view ourselves. Therefore, simplicity requires a much deeper understanding of perception and self, one that reveals the internal “clutter” that we carry around with us.
I’ve found lately that a lot of my friends have been telling me stories about themselves or about others and a lot of those stories have one thing in common. They always at some point in the story say, “Giiirrrlll, it’s complicated.” And my response would always be the same, “Well un-complicate it.” Not to have a pathological view and put self-blame on anyone, but I guess this really suggests that a lot of the power to change what’s happening with us really and truly lies with us.
For example, just the other day my friend was stressing over a lime that she was planning. Throughout making plans, one of her girlfriends decided that she wants to bring her boyfriend to the trip. So I sat there confused like, “What’s the problem?” And she tells me that if a boy comes to the lime, then her parents would not allow her on the trip anymore. And again I asked, “What’s the problem?” This confuses her and so she just repeats the fact that she won’t be able to go on the trip. I must say at this point I was annoyed with her because to me all she had to do was tell her friend that her boyfriend can’t come. But in her head, she couldn’t do that because she was stuck thinking about how difficult it would be to tell her friend this, and that it would hurt her friend’s feelings, and it would hurt the boyfriend’s feelings and it would hurt her feelings and basically she might lose a friend, and then all hell would break loose, and the second coming of Jesus and blah blah blah. Honestly, I stopped listening.
When we feel overwhelmed by a situation or pulled in multiple directions in life, the situation may seem outside our control, but what if we believed for a moment that it is completely within our reach to shift into a place of peace and power? I think it is in our human nature to just complicate everything! We have this natural tendency to make easy situations difficult.
But the truth is, we are brilliant beings. We have anxiety and stress in our lives from adding pressure where none is necessary. I guess there are many reasons for this:
- We feel pulled apart by choices that all feel impossible. Like staying in a difficult relationship or leaving the only person you’ve been with for the past 6 years. It just feels lose-lose.
- We feel pulled apart by either/or choices. Either I please my father or I do something I love. It just feels like a win-lose situation and you have to pick who loses.
- We are overwhelmed by too many choices. Should I go to school and get a higher education, or stay back and work to help support my family? They’re both win situations but just choosing one is overwhelming.
- Or the opposite, we fee like there are absolutely no choices at all. We just feel…hopeless.
Psychology has shown that a lot of us have an “all or nothing” attitude that stops us from actually achieving our goals. We basically think in extreme success or extreme failures. There’s no in between. It goes something like, “It’s either her or nobody. If I don’t get an A, I’m a failure. If he doesn’t have sex with me, then he doesn’t love me. If she doesn’t tell me I look cute in this dress, then she’s a horrible friend.” Perfectionism is one of the greatest culprits to complication.
So what can you do?
Well first, understand that you are not alone in your struggle and you are not alone in your desire for less drama in your life.
Next, learn to question your thoughts. Remember I spoke earlier about self awareness? How often do you pause and logically contemplate what you really think about your relationships, your habits, or your challenges? How often do you just stop and ask yourself, “Why?” Why do I like him? Why do I need to go on this lime? Why do I need this outfit? Why do I need this person in my life? Why am I so angry?
And don’t just stop at why, as most likely if you’re already under stress, your answers to your “why” questions would just reinforce that stress. Continue with what, how, who, when and even where.
- WHAT am I afraid of?
- WHO can I call for help?
- HOW would I start over?
- WHAT is really standing in my way?
- HOW would my [mentor/hero/wise friend] solve this problem?
- WHAT assumptions am I making?
- WHICH “truths” may not be true after all?
- WHAT excuses am I making?
- WHERE can I try something different?
You will be surprised how often questioning yourself helps you emerge with a much healthier thought process, take away complexity and make situations easier! Or maybe you’ll decide that, for now, you will accept it the way it is and not fuss over it.
Whatever it is, I guess we all just need to
Change our perspective. Let things be less than perfect. Focus on what’s truly important. Let go of needless drama and those who create it. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. Avoid blaming others. Learn from the past. Take action. And get help.