According to the Mayo Clinic 70% of Americans are taking prescription drugs. Antibiotics, anti-antidepressants and opioids are the top three prescribed drugs in the U.S. Behind the counter of every corner pharmacy you'll find walls lined with orange, red and green bottles filled with the perfect elixir for what ails you. Take a pill when you're down, a xanax when you're up. Something to take the edge off or simply so you can just "check-out"
This is NOT a blog to condemn people for taking prescription medication. I have fallen into this hole more than once in my life. I felt like the only escape from my personal pain was to numb it. This is NOT an outcry to bash pharmaceutical companies for making drugs, or even the doctors who over prescribe them so that executives can line their pockets with the dividends from a culture of discontent. I am hoping that THIS blog is one that can help each of us identify the most silent but deadly phycological killers of them all : DISCONTENTMENT
I am sure there are a million different contributing factors to the emotional dissatisfaction of our culture. But, here are my TOP 5 REASONS YOU ARE DISCONTENT.
1. You are COMPARING.
If you or a loved one is struggling with feelings of discontentment or dissatisfaction in your own life, I have one recommendation. Get off social media for as long as it takes for you to feel happy again. While we all enjoy surfing and sharing on social media, and some of us need it for work and business... Facebook is the number one place for people to compare their lives to those they follow. Comparing by definition is to estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between something. If you are unable to look at photos with out comparing your life to others around you, JUST GET OFF. I am a photographer. For over 12 years I have taken wedding and family photos for hundreds of people. TRUST ME. NO-ONE is as happy or as beautiful as they portray themselves to be online. If giving social commentaries behind every screaming child, every angry wife, every bitter mother-in-law, and every shitty dog were lucrative for my photography business, I would share them all with you. I can give you a smaller waist, bigger bust and perfect skin. People share what they want you to see. So if you are spending your time comparing yourself to others, you will never be satisfied with yourself.
2. You are SPOILED AF.
When I say you, I mean WE! Time for a reality check. I am so very sorry to break it to you, but it's time for some very very harsh reality. I am guessing if you are reading this you live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Today when you woke up, I am guessing you were in a bed. And I am almost positive that if you are reading this, you have internet access, most likely on your phone. Your SMART phone. Americans have become the most spoiled creatures on the planet. We have been blessed by our forefathers with freedoms that surpassed even their wildest dreams. And yet here we sit, in a comfortable plush lifestyle for which most of us have squandered into debt while complaining about the temperature of our lattes. It is NOT my intention to make you feel like shit. But only to help ALL of us regain some perspective on how truly blessed we are. No, am I am sure NONE of us have had an easy life. But I promise you, if you remain grateful for all of these things that you DO have, you will never be discontent.
3. You're being OFFENDED.
Fact, anyone can see when someone is doing something stupid. Fact, you have no idea WHY they are are doing it. It is completely normal to have opinions regarding a person's actions or behavior (although often best kept to one's self) However, if you are putting together a motivation for WHY someone is doing anything, you are judging them. When we judge another person's motives, we only hurt ourselves. We take offense and ultimately ruin our impression of potential friends, partners, or business associates. Even worse, we are destroying relationships with our spouses, significant others and family. Example: You're driving through the neighborhood see a friend jogging. You wave, and she doesn't wave back. Perception: You're instantly offended! How could she be so rude. She must be mad at you because you didn't like her new selfie post on the interwebs. Reality: Her brother called, his wife died. She went for a run to clear her head. She had no idea you waved. All she could think about were her niece and nephew. If you are easily offended, you are judging other's motives. If you are judging other's motives you will always be discontent.
When you woke up this morning, did you lay in bed did you ask yourself, "HOW DO I FEEL ABOUT GETTING UP?" Did you take time and assess how you were feeling emotionally? If the answer is yes, then you have TOO much time on your hands. Whenever I catch myself finding frivolous things to bitch about I realize, I need to get back to working towards my own goals. HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL: FOCUS ON YOUR OWN SHIT. Most likely the #1 reason you are discontent is because you have not found your passion, your mission or set new goals for yourself. You want to be happy? Set goals, pursue your passion, make a plan.
5. CREATIVE INSECURITY
Last but not least, this one is my very favorite. Why, because I believe over the years I have struggled with this one the most. If you find the corners of your mouth curling when you see the incredible accomplishments of your friends... If you notice a scrunch in your forehead when people are dishing out compliments to your spouse... If you hear critical thoughts pouring out of your mouth before you even realize you are speaking out loud. Your discontentment has overtaken you. Why? I believe creative insecurity is the culprit. We've all seen it, people who are highly critical of others, putting others down, making known their dissatisfaction through the intolerance of others and the way they do things. Perhaps they are feeling shitty about themselves?
I spent my time in high school in a video production suite. I was editing videos and running around with a camera. I graduated film school at 20 years old with the aspirations of making movies. Shortly after, I got married, moved back home and spent the next 4 years pissing my time away at internships for random production companies and family photoshoots in the park. There is NOTHING wrong with that life. But I quickly realized I was in a rut, I stopped creating.
Meanwhile, with the launch of much cheaper DSLR cameras and well, PINTEREST... lol EVERY SINGLE girl I went to high school with became a "photographer" overnight. Over the next few months I watched their portfolios unfold and I spent a copious amount of time criticizing their work, talking shit about their cheap equipment, over-saturated filters, and awkward shot composition and poking fun at them on social media (myspace). "Natural-Light Photography" just meant they didn't know how to operate studio lighting equipment or bounce boards. I had spent years going to trade shows and building a business and these girls just popped up out of no-where and were teaching photography workshops!!!? I was critical rude and intolerant. Angered because I spent all my time and well, MONEY on film school, and these girls didn't know the first thing about what they were doing, picked up a hobby and made it look like a business overnight. I WAS THOROUGHLY DISCONTENT. And then it hit me, I was SPEWING negativity... meanwhile, what WAS I doing that was so great? I hadn't done anything new in months. I hadn't put out anything original or beautiful. I was in a rut, and I hadn't moved forward because of my own creative insecurities. I took a huge slice of humble pie and forced myself to go "LIKE" and "COMMENT" one nice thing to each of the photographers work. I might not have liked it, but there was something positive to say about each of them. Then, it was back to the drawing board for me. Time to further develop my skill set.
So what's the truth? You wanna get rid of resting bitch face? You wanna be CONTENT?
- STOP comparing yourself to others.
- Get some perspective, BE thankful for everything you have.
- STOP letting every one offend you.
- FIND your passion and vision, make a plan, set some goals.
- DEVELOP yourself.
- STOP being critical of others.
- FOCUS on your own shit.