Always Striving, Never Happy – Sound Familiar?
I was stuck on Facebook for a few minutes, and I noticed a common theme: striving.
Everyone is striving for something, wanting something, looking for something. This in itself isn’t a bad thing at all if striving came with a set of positive emotions like motivation, inspiration, joy, creativity...
But the kind of striving I’m talking about is rigid and sad and causes plain unhappiness. I'd like you to avoid it...
I stumbled on an article in Thought Catalog about a person who’s ONLY interested in forever love. That’s right, this person doesn’t get to know anyone who they don’t see as a soulmate.
But how do you know if someone is your soulmate if you don’t get to know them? Is it just the ’soulmate' sparkle in their eye?
This person is basically saying a big stinking NO to a ton of AMAZING experiences along the way to this forever love. Instead of seeing people and things as a means to an end, they forgot that the enjoyment is in the means, not the end.
My dear friend and former lover (I feel so grownup using this word) sent me a picture yesterday from a place we visited 4 years ago in Montenegro (hence these pictures from the trip).
It was a picture of a certain couch (not posting it here). I started laughing when I saw it, because the message was clear…He was reminding me of a certain moment we shared on that couch. He saw the couch and thought of me, and I saw the picture and laughed in delight.
Had I said no to that experience because it wasn’t a forever thing (we were young), I wouldn’t have had a chuckle 4 years later remembering the epic couch experience, you know what I mean? I also would not have experienced the INCREDIBLE natural beauty that a country like Montenegro offers...
Life is about experiencing things, enjoying them, and learning about yourself in the PROCESS.
Focusing on the outcome instead of enjoying the process shoots you in the foot as you’re trying to walk anywhere, so you end up getting nowhere.
When the focus is always on the outcome (the perfect relationship, the right amount of money, perfect skin) then the focus isn’t here, right now, in the present. Your focus is nowhere, your focus is not now here.
So if you’re constantly thinking about what you don’t yet have, how can you be happy? You can’t.
What’s more is that if or when you get what you want, you won’t actually be happy. How can you? If you get it, you’ll be striving for something else tomorrow, or focusing on something else you don’t HAVE. This is a painfully common...
Do you see what I’m getting at here?
Focusing on HAVING is a recipe for unrelenting unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life.
I was confronted with this unhappiness last year and it caused a lot of sleepless nights. I wasn’t happy with my job, I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life, and the answers weren’t coming.
I was stuck worrying about the future, and focusing on an outcome that I couldn’t even imagine.
I wanted something, but I didn’t know what. I knew that it was big, and I knew I didn’t have it yet. Since I didn’t have it, I was unhappy and HELLA stressed.
Then the outcome became clearer and I realized that I’m here to help people with their pimple woes, since I myself went through hell and back with my skin.
As the outcome became clearer I realized that the process would be quite lengthy, I needed to dump all the knowledge from my head into blog posts, books, courses! I needed to start helping people, filming Youtube Videos, spreading the message, building a business.
All this required TIME. I felt overwhelmed with the amount on my plate, my to-do list ever growing!
It was easy to focus on the outcome and not having reached it, instead of the inspiring freedom and creativity in the process.
But then I had a realization. I’ll only feel this way now.
In 3 years when the business is huge and I’m running an empire, I will have trouble remembering this feeling. I will be a new person, doing new things. I won’t have this anymore.
I won’t feel the same enjoyment and gratitude and excitement when dealing with new clients as I did when I got my first one. I won’t feel the same newness that comes with writing a blog post, or writing a book, or just writing. I will only experience those firsts once.
Then I realized that I can only enjoy this process, because this process only exists once. It will be a different process tomorrow, and an even different one in 10 years. So I choose to be happy now, realizing myself slowly but surely, and not hurrying to some imagined outcome.
The outcome will always be there, it can and should guide you, but the process is fleeting.
Have you ever spent 3 hours cooking an elaborate meal only to scarf it down in 15 minutes? Could you not have instead enjoyed the process of sourcing ingredients, smelling them, tasting them individually, lovingly preparing them and combining them to create a feast for everybody to enjoy?
You could easily focus on the joy in the process that will then produce joy in the outcome.
We’re living in the 21st century here (in case you've forgotten). We are incredibly blessed to have all this miraculous technology where people can literally run businesses out of cafes around the world - yet people are still striving and wanting what isn’t there, looking for happiness in the wrong places.
We all want to make a shit ton of money, live in an amazing home (or 5), have the perfect partner, and experience boundless love, but does that mean that we should be unhappy while striving for these things?
Does it mean that we are less than because we have yet to attain these things, statuses, or validation?
Happiness is in you. That’s it.
You can look in the mirror and think about all the things that are wrong with you, or you can look in the mirror and admire and be grateful for all the things that are right with you.
You can learn to see the small joys in every detail of your existence. You can choose to understand that everything is fleeting, and this moment that you are happy/unhappy is a moment that you will never again encounter.
You can appreciate all the wonderful fleeting experiences that you had that added more joy to your life, instead of wanting to hold on to them forever.
You can realize that you are here to serve, inspire, and delight others. If everybody felt like this, imagine what a wonderful experience we would give each other!
I have a dear cousin - the most beautiful girl. I watched her strive for perfection her whole young life, always dissatisfied with her (perfect) appearance ever since she was a kid. She didn’t like her chin at one point, then she didn’t like her bangs and wanted longer ones, then she didn’t like her boyfriend and was afraid that nobody better would come along.
All these things were a point of disappointment for her. She wouldn’t allow herself to acknowledge her beauty, until her hair was the right length.
I saw my young self in her too. I was the same way, always finding things I didn’t like in myself, making myself unhappy with the stories I chose to believe about myself.
I spoke to her last week and pointed this out when she started complaining about her (perfect) hair again…You know what happened? She got it.
She saw that she wasn’t present, and that she was constantly preoccupied with the future. She said that she’s grateful for where she is now and that she’s going to enjoy the process instead of worrying about the outcome, and she got teary-eyed from experiencing the joy in this breakthrough.
I was so stunned and joyful that this wonderful 19 year-old finally got it!
She got it, and I think you can get it too.
Striving is good when the intention is good. Just don’t forget to love yourself in the process.
Having said all that, I have an announcement to make.
I have bought a new domain and am devoting myself to a new business entirely about pimples and how to make sure you don’t have anymore of them to pop.
I’m extremely excited about it, and though I have a HUGE vision for this business in the future, I am SERIOUSLY enjoying the process. Choosing the domain name, designing the logo, thinking about all the new ways I can help you with pimples has been a dream so far, and I wanted to share my excitement with you.
Look out for updates about my new pimple blog.
Notice that I’ve stopped using the word acne, since it’s a word I never liked. I’m revamping acne so that it’s no longer scary and depressing. I want to make clear skin easy, and pimples a fucking joke when you’ve got bigger fish to fry and real fears to face!
Olenaloves.com isn’t going anywhere though. This blog has been a blessing. It taught me so much, tested my patience so many times, and built character. I attribute a lot of my growth as a person to it.
As the name implies Olena really does LOVE - life. So I’ll keep this site for articles like this one… A little personal, a little raw, and a whole lotta of loving.
Love you always,
PS. If you haven't already signed up for my free How To Cure Your Acne in 6 Weeks video, please do so now here. This video is no longer going to be available once my new site goes live! xoxo :)