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keep it simple“Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.”    Anonymous

“God will help you be all that you can be but He will never help you be someone else.”             Joyce Meyer

I don’t know about others but I am finally learning  the importance of keeping things simple. I might begin by saying how much emphasis I place on clothes and hair. I was never one who learned how to use make-up so my first attempts  were awful. As I reflect I am sure I looked horrible. The need to conform in high school and be acceptable wasn’t easy. Most of my thoughts were spent on what I had to do to blend in.

I remember having my own ideas, but it is hard to remember how many times I actually expressed them. Peer pressure has always been prevalent. I know my own kids went through their own problems with maturity, and peer pressure. Being there for them was helpful, but the bulk of the burden is always on the young or older persons’ shoulders. We all survive sort of, but not without scars. I really mean scars because they may be hidden inside of us, but they are positively present. We might even find them emerging at any given moment of time, unexpectedly, when the conditions are right, or similar to conditions we experienced long ago.Those memories reside within us for a very long time. Sometimes I think, but not wish, maybe those who hurt us by their attitudes, will understand one day when their own child is the recipient of such behavior. Many of us hold fantastic jobs, and are secure in our tasks, but if placed among people of our past, intimidation likely would befall us, as we experienced the same nervous feelings from childhood. Now I thoughtfully  keep things low keyed. I don’t care if I don’t fit anyone’s expectations, and I like to share friendships with a variety of people, who have a variety of opinions. It keeps conversations lively.

I believe we learn this after we become fed up with being an image, someone else deemed appropriate. Maturity leads to understanding what makes sense, and feels good and sincere. The facade of surface comprehension is not appealing.  I can see it resurface when our kids grow and we want them to make friends and get along and be a valued member. Perhaps we were not comfortable as children, but  we want our kids to be secure. Sparing them the hurts of trying to fit in with someone’s concepts becomes our mission. We can impart our own knowledge of the world, and the myriad of situations. Our children will understand, they are not alone.

At times the best we can do is share our own misgivings, and lead them to accepting themselves as they are. Offering our kids love, and a confident feeling, is important. We can admit that our confidence can elude us, on any given day. Calmness and simple reflection, can return serenity to our environment. Knowing they have us by their side, will help them, even if they don’t  approach us about every issue.

I know I over-pack for even a weekend visit. I understand it is easier to carry less. The bag is lighter, it is easier to unpack, easier to repack to go home, and leaves less laundry when I return home. Same is true with closets and clothes. I can’t find the items I want, and I keep wearing the ones I like, leaving  the rest to mold on the hanger. I am reminded that simple is easier. Inviting people over is huge, if we worry about the perfect house. if our friends are worthwhile, they will desire the conversation and atmosphere more than the neatness of the house. Honest friends won’t notice the house.

Houses don’t need to be massive but comfortable. I think of cozy, as being a place one likes to come home to. How much more of life we would come to enjoy, if we simply stopped attempting to gain more than we need. A promotion that leaves us with much less time to spend with the family, may be too demanding of our time and energy. Weigh the costs. If the pressure bothers you, and is negatively affecting family members, then simplify your life for everyone’s  sake. If you handle burdens well, then juggle if you can. A picnic in the back yard can be more enjoyable, than packing and traveling to a far away place. An overnight camping on the back porch likewise, is just as exciting for a young child. They still have the moon, stars and the benefit of an indoor bathroom.

As I thought deeper about the word simple, I discovered it fit a lot of life’s areas. Regarding friends and family members, the less spoken the better. When conversations get too long, they lead to gossiping and judgmental attitudes. Words also  empower one party, to be convinced of ideas they never contemplated in the first place. It is one thing to voice ideas about vacations, but when words lead you down a destructive path, it is important to drop the gossip. I did not need to hear  about Auntie’s bad habit of contradicting others. I was never bothered by it until another put it in front of me. A simple retort of  “Aunt Mary always has a unique way of putting things,” is mild enough to make one laugh in companionship, while allowing those who are annoyed with auntie, to heave a sigh of relief without any nastiness transpiring. I may add that the next time Aunt Mary gives you something unexpectedly, you won’t feel guilty.

When we feel the desire to unload our problems on another, remember to keep it straight-forward and clean. That way, when we are feeling more confident, we won’t regret what we shared with them.

The biggest thing to remember is that it may work better to everyone’s delight with a simple  plan of action. Often material things only complicate our lives, take our time and energy, and basically hold little true value. Keeping it simple, allows one to own items without being owned by them. I believe life is simple, if it entails empathy. When care and kindness are mixed, the simple emerges. All anger, doubt fear and anxiety is diluted with love. That is the key. Love your kids and let them enjoy their toys. Love and enjoy your family and friends, without competition and jealousy. Love and enjoy your own worth, for it is immeasurable and beyond replacement.

“Never let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.”    Cris Nikolov

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”    Socrates

“But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?    Albert Camus

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