Do you ever make a mental assessment of your life and note all the things that could be better, bigger, prettier, newer? Maybe you wish you could just get a new car, finally. Maybe you wish you had a Pinterest-worthy kitchen. Maybe you look in the mirror and wish YOU could be better, prettier. Have you ever done this?? Because I have. A lot.
I remember the day we closed on our condo, at the ages of 23 and 25, we got the keys to a home that was officially ours. And while we popped the champagne and celebrated, I vividly remember walking around and thinking, “This will do, for now.” I took note of all the things that weren't perfect: the yard was small, it was only a one car garage, the master bedroom didn’t have a walk-in closet, the kitchen was dark wood instead of all white, the wood floors were really laminate, the carpet was cheap, it was a condo instead of a ‘real’ house. And when people would come over for the first time and see our home, I would immediately be on the defensive and start explaining that it wasn’t our forever home, but it would do for now. Like I had to justify this self-declared ‘less-than’ home to our guests. And it seems so ridiculous actually sharing that with you. Our home was less than two years old when we moved in. It was a new build, with new appliances. I loved how cozy it felt from the first minute we saw a picture of it. I loved the warm, neutral wall colors, and the all white trim. I loved that the downstairs was an open floor plan, perfect for hosting small get-togethers. I loved that the kitchen was created to be a space where people gathered. I loved that our backyard was completely fenced in, allowing us to finally get that puppy we’d always wanted (which we brought home less than 30 days after getting the keys to our home!). I loved that the small closet in the master bedroom forced us to downsize and donate so many things we didn’t actually wear anymore. I loved that our one car garage had so much room for shelving and storage. We had a roof over our heads, a safe place to land after a hard day, a space to host and gather and love our people. So why did I feel a need to justify our home and point out all it’s flaws before anyone else noticed them? Because I was playing the comparison game, and comparison is the thief of joy. I was spending hours watching HGTV, scrolling Pinterest, and admiring the perfect dream homes, and I’d convinced myself that anything that didn’t match those standards was less-than. And I wanted to make sure that anyone who saw my home and knew it didn’t live up to those Fixer Upper standards knew that I too realized it was flawed.
And you know what that hardest truth about this is? I do this with myself too. Every single day, I look in the mirror and make a list of all the flaws, imperfections, everything that is ‘less-than’. Too fat. Big butt. Thunder thighs. Uneven eyebrows. Flat hair that won’t hold a curl. You know that scene from Mean Girls where they all stand in Regina George’s bedroom and list off the worst things about themselves? That’s me, every day. Sure I don’t have an audience, and I make the list in my head, but you get the picture. And the same as with my home, when another person is around I immediately jump to the defense. Never accepting a compliment without also listing at least two imperfections I still need to work on. Because taking the compliment at face value would be ignoring the flaws and imperfections, which I knew existed. And I might as well point them out first since surely they noticed too.
Do you relate to any of that? When was the last time you looked in the mirror and loved everything you saw? Not a single complaint ran through your head. You just soaked it all in, and smiled, knowing that you were completely perfect just as you are - imperfections and all. Because, dear friend, you are. And so am I.
You are completely perfect, just the way you are. You don’t need to lose another 10 pounds, tighten up those glutes, or get your hair done. You, exactly as you are, are completely and wonderfully perfect. Imperfections and all. Let that sink in.
Everything that came to your mind when I asked if you ever make a mental assessment of your life and note all the things that could be better, bigger, prettier, newer - in all of those things, I dare you to take 10 minutes to sit down and write each one out. Write your list of everything you wish was better, and then I want you to write down why you’re thankful for each of those items.
Old and ugly car = reliable transportation that gets me where I need to go, no car payment helps us reach our financial goals. Small home that definitely wouldn't be Chip & JoJo approved = a safe space for my family to rest, grow, live and love. Crappy day job that has nothing to do with anything you actually care about = a steady paycheck to help support your family and allow you to chase your dreams. A body that is full of flaws and imperfections = a body that allows you to do the things you love, legs to chase your babies, arms to hold your loved ones, eyes to appreciate the sunsets and the mountains.
Because underneath all the flaws and imperfections is the real good stuff. The true beauty. If you peel back all the layers of not-good-enough and get down to the reasons to be thankful, you might just find yourself appreciating all those less-than things. Realizing that those things are actually perfect, for you, for this season of life. And that maybe nobody is judging them other than yourself. Nobody is making a list of all the things in your life that are less than, other than you. And if you can just stop yourself for one minute, and appreciate the season of life you’re in instead of wishing for the next season to arrive already, you might just find yourself actually enjoying the here, and the now.
You won’t find me defending my home anymore, you’ll just find me loving it, and all the memories that happen within its walls. And while it won’t be as easy to move to loving myself, flaws and all, you can bet I’ll be trying my hardest. Loving myself, big butt, thunder things, and all. And I’ll be making healthier decisions, not because I hate myself, but because I love myself, and I deserve to take care of me too.
“Contentment does not mean that I desire nothing, but rather, it’s the simple decision to be happy with what I have.” - Paula Rollo …or as my best friend put it, “Contentment does not have to equal satisfaction. Being happy with where you are doesn’t lock you into your current state. It just allows you to appreciate more and focus your perspective on what’s more important.”
Choose to be happy with what you have today, and then choose it again tomorrow. And when you fail, because you will fail, try yet again. Stop focusing on what you think your life is supposed to look like, and start enjoying all that it actually is. Because there is a whole lot to be happy about, RIGHT NOW.