Today, we’re all about the engagement—not the put-a-ring-on-it kind of engagement.
It’s our choice
Our lives are made up by the things that we choose to engage with—sure, there’s a certain amount of unexpected goings on, but a lot of our daily happenings are by our own choosing.
So, what are you engaging with?
Let’s pay particular attention to “social” media for a minute—
Can we be honest with ourselves and recognise the difference between how much time we spend mindlessly scrolling through our FB pages and how much time we spend actually productively enhancing our lives through social media?
I’ll admit—I’m an aimless scroller. It got to the point where I asked myself—
Is it good for me to constantly subject myself to comparison—and advertising?
The answer was—
No. So, I deleted FB from my phone and now I’ll only log in when I see that there’s a notification for me.
I’ll have a wee scroll (sometimes more—it’s a hard habit to break!) and then be on my way.
I’ve adopted a similar attitude with the news media.
I used to look at news’ sites religiously, until one day I realised—
They make me really unhappy/scared/disgusted/bored.
The headlines are all about car accidents and war and terrorism and the latest “reality” television feuds.
The negative bias is extreme and it stands to reason—
If we constantly engage with negative media, how are we going to feel?
It’s not about ignoring the fact that there’s a lot of awful things going on in the world—we know that already. It’s just about not surrounding ourselves in it, drowning ourselves in it.
If we constantly live in that negative mindset, how are we going to be able to make a difference?
I went to a wellbeing symposium at uni yesterday, which was focused on suicide prevention. I know this is a serious issue, but I completely disagree with the approach—
We shouldn’t be focusing on suicide prevention at all.
We need to focus on promoting life, celebrating life.
Create our days
Have you come across this exercise before?
It’s generally—what we do every day/what makes us happy. Compare—this comparison is okay because it’s with ourselves!
In line with our intentions, we’ll change it to—
What we do every day/what’s important to us. Compare.
And what’s important to us is defined by why it’s important to us.
If we look at work as an example—
For a lot of our adulthood, work is something that we do every day.
But, I’m not sure how many of us would put it in the ‘important to us’ column?
Unless, we shift our thinking to why—not what we’re doing, but why.
There is no such thing as work-life balance—it is all life. The balance has to be within you.
Grow the experience
The same can be said for everything we do—it’s not school, it’s life.
It’s not exercise, it’s life.
It’s not a chore—
And, when we fully engage in it, we experience every weird and wonderful moment.
Brené Brown is a researcher storyteller, who has written a lot on shame and vulnerability.
Things we don’t ever want to engage in, right?!
She says that many of us live in the middle of joy and fear—we don’t let ourselves feel too much joy because we’re afraid that we’ll lose it.
But, the trouble is that when something tragic does happen—we’ll wish we felt joy more when we had the chance.
To get to that joy? We have to be willing to feel a bit vulnerable because, well, we don’t know what’s going to happen and being open to the possibilities is a bit scary and a lot magical.
Brené talks about people who feel joy—they are grateful people.
There’s also a beautiful TED talk by David Steindl-Rast on the topic.
Instead of following joy with fear, afraid that something will take that joy away—we need to follow joy with gratitude.
And, like when we get a new car and then we start to see it everywhere? When we feel joy and gratitude, when we actively seek and engage in joy and gratitude, we will start to see it everywhere.
Nothing is more precious than being in the present moment. Fully alive, fully aware.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh