A guest column - Love your life

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Tara Kauenhofen 
The Neepawa Banner
A while back I wrote a post about being content, about being happy in your own life and I feel that it needs to be continued. You see, being content isn’t as simple as it sounds, I recently finished a book written by Rachel Cruze, called Love Your Life, Not Theirs. This book is about how to get your finances in order and how to live debt free, which I will get to in another post, but today I wanted to touch on something that has put a strain on my marriage, our finances and especially on me as an individual. The comparison game. 

Now in this book, this is the very first thing that is touched on. How dangerous it is to compare our own lives to those around us, how having a first hand look into others lives has become as easy as the click of a button. Our parents still had to deal with comparing, but as Rachel Cruze puts it in the book, they had to physically walk outside to covet their neighbour’s car. 
Social media has made the already dangerous comparison game a deadly one. Think about it, you wake up in the morning feeling good about your life, your kids, your husband, your home, you grab your cup of coffee and sit down and enjoy the hour of quiet. You open your phone, and the first thing you see is a perfect house with a newly renovated kitchen, or a room full of roses, that dreamy vacation your friends just took; and the hashtag attached is #blessed. Suddenly, you yourself are not feeling so blessed anymore. Your outdated kitchen is no longer looking so great, your husband doesn’t deliver flowers as much as you’d like, and your family camping trip that you had an amazing time on is no longer remembered as amazing, but subpar! 
In the time it takes to click on a button, you’ve gone from feeling content with your life and everything in it, to wanting more again. Now don’t get me wrong, working towards nicer things, saving for a dream vacation is not a bad thing. In fact, having dreams and goals is a healthy thing to do and you should update your goals regularly as your life continues to evolve. But as that happens you have to choose to be happy and content in every stage of your life. 
Many moments in our ever ordinary life complete in and of themselves. You don’t need a bigger kitchen or a better trip to have those. So why do we feel ourselves wishing for something else as soon as we see something different? 
Social media makes it way to easy to wish for more, to see someone else’s perfect life. But the thing that most people forget and don’t realize, is that the pictures you see on social media are often the perfect snapshot. You take fifty pictures of your screaming children and you post the only one where they’re smiling, or you post a cup of coffee on a perfectly clean table, what you don’t see is the crumbs that have been brushed out of the way, the crying children in the background, the mounds of laundry, the dishes, the uninterested husband. You know what I’m talking about, the perfect selfie, family photo, clean house, etc. We’ve all done it, and you know what? That’s okay! We want to share the happy, exciting moments of our lives with our friends and families, but doesn’t that take a little bit of pressure off? Being aware that it’s not just you having bad days or weeks and knowing that behind that perfect picture, not everything is always perfect. 
It’s really easy to scroll through Instagram and judge people for having such a perfect life, to be so jealous of them you don’t realize that maybe their life isn’t as perfect as it seems. The Bible doesn’t tell us to be jealous and covet our neighbours, it says to love them. So the next time you’re scrolling through your social media, practice being content. Choose to be happy for the joyous moments in your friends lives. If you see something and you start feeling discouraged and your mind is racing with discontented thoughts, stop yourself, take a deep breath and look into your own life and see how many blessings you have. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to scroll past that moment of jealousy when you stop and actively choose contentment and joy. 
Kauenhofen and her husband live in Brandon with her two infant sons.