Every day, we’re bombarded by television commercials, celebrity spokespeople, and advertisements telling us the “right” way to live.
We are told to strive for unattainable lifestyles and to model ourselves after unrealistic, airbrushed models.
Sometimes you need to step back from this virtual reality and ponder what life is really about. Will that Mercedes or those anti-anxiety medications really make you happier, or are they only temporary solutions to deeper issues? Examine these five myths about how you should be living your life and start living the way you want to live.
Myth 1: Material Things Prove Your Worth
Someone once said, “One reason it’s so hard to save money is that our neighbors are always buying something we can’t afford.” Keeping up with the Joneses is certainly no way to live, and the desire to do so stems from a belief that material things prove your worth. Extravagant clothing, houses, and cars oftentimes serve as status symbols in today’s society, but when it comes down to it, what you have in your heart and mind is worth much more than what you’ve got in your wallet. Furthermore, comparing yourself financially to your friends and family will only cause envy and strife. Remember that while luxuries may be enjoyable, they don’t make you who you are.
Myth 2: You Should Always Take an Expert’s Opinion at Face Value
How many times have you taken your car in for a simple oil change, only to be told you need hundreds of dollars worth of repairs in other areas? Have you taken the mechanic’s word for it and shelled out the cash or gone in for a second opinion elsewhere? We tend to rely on experts for advice, whether they are doctors, lawyers, financial consultants, or repairmen, but you can’t forget that even though they are experts, they still don’t know everything. You always retain the power to do your own research or seek out another form of advice. You may find that separate individuals offer different yet complementary opinions that allow you to shape a more informed decision on the issue you are having.
Myth 3: When in Doubt, Medicate
It’s hard to make it through a 2-minute commercial break without seeing an advertisement for some sort of prescription drug. The prescription drug industry has exploded in the past decade, and Zoloft, Prozac, and Ritalin are now part of most Americans’ vocabulary. While there is something to be said for the positive benefits medications have to offer, they are certainly not quick fix on the road to happiness. Before asking your doctor about the latest mood-altering drug you saw on television or in a magazine, consider seeking therapy and using self-improvement strategies to alter your moods instead. Even if prescription drugs are a feasible option for your treatment plan, it’s important to remember that they are not a cure-all. Healing takes time and a repertoire of varying strategies in order to truly come about.
Myth 4: It’s Hip to Be Forever Young
The world today is filled with Peter Pans – adults who don’t want to grow up. Whether they are lacking in emotional maturity or in wrinkles, growing old has become a faux pas for a lot of people. Don’t get the wrong idea. It’s great to feel young at heart and to be physically fit, but it’s possible to do so and still age gracefully. Aging with class involves learning from your past. What’s the point of a life long-lived if you want to act like a child and look like one, too? Gray hair, laugh lines, and a cultivated point of view are things to be embraced, not shunned.
Myth 5: You Can Do It All
Society tends to tell us that multitasking and the ability to juggle lots of things at once is a good thing, but when you have too many things in the air, something is bound to get dropped. Ambition is a good thing, but you have to know when enough is enough. Yes, it’s possible to be a wife, a mother, a businesswoman, and the best baker at the church bazaar, but it’s also okay to say no when your best friend asks you to help her plan a charity gala. When you take on more than you can handle, the quality of your projects often suffers. Don’t feel pressured to be a yes-man. Even the best of us can’t do it all.
There are so many self-improvement blogs, magazines, and websites out there these days, everyone has an opinion on the way you should be living your life. It’s important not to focus on the myths flooding the media but to analyze your situations carefully and live the way that is right for you.
NEWSFLASH: I’ve added another chapter to my life by joining C.A.S.T. Recovery, a Los Angeles based national outpatient drug rehab program which specializes in designing highly individualized recovery plans with appropriate professionals to support a client’s health, accountability, and success.