For the past three years, I’ve had the amazing privilege of attending the Haven Conference in Atlanta. It’s an event mainly targeted at bloggers in the DIY/home niche. Every year I connect with friends that I so badly wish lived down the street from me so we could have coffee regularly.
Traci from Beneath My Heart and I enjoyed the chocolate fountain (a little too much) that Home Depot and Ryobi provided for the Haven Mavens on the last night of the conference. The food at that event was, in a word, epic!
My friend, Gail, from My Repurposed Life is one of the sweetest and most genuine ladies you’ll ever meet. She is also a repurposing rockstar with a crazy huge Facebook fan club.
(Photo courtesy of My Breezy Room)
My roommate this year was Kala from My Breezy Room. She is as cute as a button and I love her style! She is also a bit, ahem, younger than me so she’s helping me navigate all the social media stuff I’m still not up to speed on.
I also the privilege of catching up with one of my favorite blogging ladies, Carrie from Making Lemonade. She’s a fellow Pa. girl, which makes her extra special.
In addition to kickin’ it with my blogging sisters at Haven, I got the chance to meet with representatives from brands I’d like to work with in the future. And I took away a ton of information about how I can grow my blog and DIY skills. This conference is priceless!
But despite all the wonderful friendships forged and tips and strategies absorbed, I seem to also come home from Haven each year with a self-inflicted icky feeling that I’m somehow lacking … lacking in style, beauty, business success, notoriety, accomplishment, friends, youthfulness … blah, blah, blah, the list goes on.
I can’t really put my finger on why I feel this way other than, when I see all the amazing things these ladies around me are accomplishing, I guess my default reaction is to feel like I’m somehow missing out. And this makes me sad because I know deep down that what I’m really missing is the clarity to see how abundant my life right now truly is.
I recently read a post by Michael Hyatt that explored the roots of this icky feeling. What I discovered after reading his post was that this comparison trap that often has me in its clutches is a common one.
The tendency for us to focus on what we should go after rather than expressing gratitude for what we already have is a by-product of what researcher Brené Brown calls our “culture of ‘never enough.’”
Speaking from experience, I can say that falling into this trap leaves me discouraged and even sometimes debilitated, and it masks the tremendous gifts and blessings I’m currently experiencing in my life.
So, in an effort to take the great from Haven but leave the feeling of inadequacy behind, I’ve decided to look at my experience through a different lens, the lens of gratitude. This lens has the power to focus my view on all the awesome things happening to me right now, and there are honestly too many of them to count.
If you’re like me and you sometimes feel like you are lacking, here are some tips to help change your focus and view your circumstances in a more flattering light:
- Start each day with praise. For me, this means that after I wake up and get my bearings, I set aside a short (but highly effective) quiet time where I begin by thanking God for all the blessings in my life.
- Embrace a “to-don’t” list. One of my biggest weaknesses is saying yes to too many things. Recently, however, I’ve gotten better at the “to don’ts” (i.e. saying no to the wrong activities and avoiding low-priority tasks). This practice helps me accomplish my top priorities. It also allows me to feel OK with the fact that I will never be able to do it all, but I can do the right things for me and my family at this moment.
- Lend a helping hand. The easiest way I’ve found to get out of the “why me” slump is to reach out and help others in need. Volunteering time for a cause greater than myself always has the profound ability to completely change my focus - in nearly an instant. The shift in my attitude and outlook that I experience after I participate in a mission trip, worship practice or nursing home visit is a blessing far greater than my contribution to the cause.
I’ll leave you today with this wise quote from Michael Hyatt:
“We will never have more of what we truly desire until we become fully thankful for what we have.”