Making “ordinary” beautiful

I’ve had a prejudice against “ordinary” life for years. Now I’m seeing how that prejudice interferes with my own happiness.

It’s based on unhappy childhood memories and compounded by threads of cultural elitism.

Are you bohemian or bourgeois?

I’d had enough of bourgeois life and attitudes and culture, but bohemian lifestyles didn’t offer much hope of lasting happiness, so I continued in my search holding only to a disdain for everything normal, mundane, and predictable.

My main fear was getting “stuck” in a meaningless existence. But nor could I find my own meaning either.

I’m now married with children, and though we aren’t conventional (whatever that means) I’m still dogged by the fear of being happy with a “meaningless” life.

(It’s okay folks, my wife knows this is my own issue to deal with.)

But how stupid is it to be sitting here afraid of being happy with all the good things in life, just because I’m worried I might be embracing something that resembles a very unhappy period of my life?

Say that out loud again….

I’ve never known it with such clarity but there it is: my teenaged, horribly depressed conviction that feeling miserable was a symptom of a bourgeois existence.

Say that out loud: I’m afraid that if I am happy right now I’ll be miserable. 😂

Momentum of old thoughts

Part of me – some old thoughts – still thinks happiness lies in escaping “ordinary” life.

The rest of me knows that there’s no such thing as ordinary life. There’s just my life, and what I do with it is up to me.

Those old thoughts had some momentum and it was like they kept pushing and running without taking the time for an update.

It’s like these different parts of me had never spoken to each other.

But now it’s coming together, through the grace of finding relief and allowing happiness in bit-by-bit.

I’m seeing now that this old fear and need to “escape” was just mistaken. It wasn’t conditions of life I wanted to escape from, it was misaligned thoughts and the bad feelings that followed.

What is “ordinary”?

I’ve said it before, but ordinary really doesn’t matter. If you look at life from the perspective of creating your reality via your thoughts and feelings, allowing God’s blessings to flow to you, then what does ordinary have to do with anything?

It doesn’t matter what other people do or what is popular or commonplace where you live.

What matters is what you think and how your thoughts and perspectives feel to you. Find the thoughts that feel good, and you are finding your own alignment with God, whether that leaves you loving white picket fences or something totally different.

Breaking all the rules

What do the rules mean to you?

To me the rules always seemed bland, boring and miserable.

Whatever success or happiness I enjoyed always seemed to be an exception to the rules.

So I came to expect that my happiness in life had to be “different” and “exceptional” by other people’s standards.

There are no such rules

But what I thought were “the rules” were never any such thing. They were merely the preferences and opinions of the people around me.

Those people were creating their own reality, just as I create mine. Yet by giving priority to those who had “been around longer” I ended up treating my own preferences and perspective as unusual.

I couldn’t get them to validate my perspective, so I viewed it as anomalous myself.

That’s a recipe for frustration because everything I want became, by definition, exceptional, and I grew averse to anything “ordinary” or “normal”.

Yet saying “this is what I want” and in the next breath “but I know it’s unusual, exceptional, and not the norm” means I’ve created a sense of conflict and implausibility to the things I desire.

Imagine someone who tells you their dream is to be an astronaut or a famous actor or a concert pianist, and hurriedly goes on to explain how unlikely that is!

What is normal for me?

I would probably feel a whole lot better if I stopped using other people’s lives as the measure of mine.

Better yet, if I stop using my impression of other people’s perceptions and experiences as the standard.

Why not let my own preferences and desires become normal for me? Why not use my own feelings as the guide, rather than my fear of others’ misunderstanding of me?

I found great strength in the realisation that no one else will live my life for me. Why not take the next logical step of endorsing my own life, opinions, preferences and perspectives as the norm for me?