It’s time that we simplify all areas of our lives, from our daily schedules to our relationships with others

Too often we complicate things for ourselves. And, in so many ways, we make things more difficult for ourselves by not embracing the sheer simplicity of life.

We add on and we elaborate, we question and we over-analyse, we fret and we fuss, we destroy and we rebuild, we fight and then we make up.

And for what?

Because at the end of the day, we still don’t feel like we’ve finished everything on our “to do” list!

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It’s time that we simplify all areas of our lives, from our daily schedules to our relationships with others, from our perception of the world to our expectations from ourselves and those around us.

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity”, as Henry David Thoreau said. That is the key to wisdom, tranquillity, and fulfilment.

We complicate our own relationships

I have so many clients who come to me with the same problem: Their marriage is too complicated and they wonder why they can’t just have a joyful, simple relationship with their partner.

Our modern world became too complicated the day we began placing human beings into one category or another

What they don’t see, however, is that they have complicated their own relationship!

We are so picky when it comes to choosing the people in our lives, and so critical of their every move. If a friend does one thing which upsets up, we immediately jump to conclusions about the nature of their character. If our partner behaves in a way which we don’t like, we automatically become furious. This is because modern society has taught us to value ourselves and not to tolerate behaviour which we deem unacceptable from others. And while we should applaud this mentality, we should also consider what it’s doing to us on a greater scale.

This mind-set can actually make us self-centred and egotistic. Our level of tolerance for others drops as we only value ourselves in any given scenario. We all need to learn how to sacrifice for each other again, and also to put up with each other sometimes!

I will forever live by the example of my parents, who may not have been perfect soulmates but they were a very compromising couple…

My father snored and my mother kicked. But they slept together for 50 years. He hated the way she sang and she couldn’t stand the way he ate. He didn’t like to see her cleaning all the time and she didn’t like to see him leave his clothes in the middle of the room. They bickered and poked at each other like all normal couples.

Yet they never left each other’s side.

They would never dream of divorce; why, because they didn’t see eye to eye on all things? No, there were greater circumstances to consider: he was a faithful man and she was a loyal woman, and all those tiny imperfections seemed not to matter anymore under this perspective.

Accept that people are bound to disappoint you sooner or later

Even your own husband or wife, or your own father or mother or sibling will let you down at one point or another. This is perfectly normal, and this is why we’re called human beings and not God.

Maybe someone will disappoint you by doing something which you didn’t expect or acting irresponsibly, but you have to be prepared for it.

Most importantly, don’t overreact or jump to conclusions. If possible, forgive and communicate your feelings with that person. It will take compromise on both ends to resolve the issue. We all have to let some things slide at the end of the day.

3 Steps to simple joy

1. Put yourself first

You should be your own commander-in-chief and no one should receive as much attention as you give yourself. Even if you have small children, if you’re not functioning well, they also can’t thrive. Putting yourself first means that if you promised someone that you’d come to their birthday party, but you find yourself feeling exhausted, you need to respect yourself and stay home.

If they love you, they’ll forgive you!

You should be your own commander-in-chief and no one should receive as much attention as you give yourself

2. Show compassion

Stop critiquing the world and show love instead.

We’re complicating our world by placing a label on everything that moves. If someone drives an expensive car, then they must be superficial. If someone works in a low-paying job, then they’re a loser. Stereotypes complicate our world and create hatred and animosity among us. It’s as simple as erasing those pre-imposed impressions in your brain about others. Every time you meet someone new, treat them as if your eyes were closed: judge them by the way they speak to you, by the things they tell you, by the conversations they hold with you.

Our modern world became too complicated the day we began placing human beings into one category or another.

3. Don’t get involved

You already know that it’s not a good idea to sleep with your boss, especially if he’s married with children! Don’t enter situations you won’t know how to exit. When we agree to enter into a convoluted situation, we are stepping into a maze with unexpected twists and turns and no ending in sight. Stay far, far away from situations which are morally “wrong”.

Remember that nice little phrase you were taught as a child: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else. Don’t engage in anything you feel in your heart is wrong. It won’t lead to anything simple or pleasant.