There are all kinds of ways that we put pressure on ourselves and our homes, and it's all too easy to feel disappointed with ourselves when things go wrong—but it's time to stop being so hard on yourself. Here are five common laments and ways to reframe them in a positive light.
You're a plant killer. If you know that you have a black thumb, that doesn't mean that you can't still have plants in your home—just opt for inexpensive plants or bouquets. Home Depot has $2 succulents that are really difficult to kill, a $5 bundle of eucalyptus from Trader Joe's will stay lovely even after it dries, and a cheap grocery store bouquet won't put a dent in your wallet. Their price makes them less stressful to have around than the $30 potted plant that you can't seem to keep alive, and if they end up lasting, think of it as a pleasant surprise!
You chose the wrong paint color. It's a common mantra that "It's just paint! It's an easy fix!" But when you've just spent a whole day painting a room, and your muscles are aching, it doesn't feel like such an easy proposition to go buy more paint and do it all again. To reframe that frustration, think of this as a chance to live outside your comfort zone. Give it a day or two; it may grow on you more than you think. Play with accessories and lighting, and have fun with your new color, even if you aren't certain about it. If you still hate it after a couple of days, you will have had a bit of distance from the exhaustion, and repainting may not sound quite as bad. Also, if you've got willing friends, inviting them over for a painting party could be fun. Or, if it's a solo project, treat yourself to a favorite takeout meal afterward.
Your home isn't as clean as you think it should be. Let's be honest—is it ever? I don't even want to talk about the state of my bathtub right now. But go easy on yourself; it's okay that your home isn't a spotless, hairless, dustless space all the time. If it were, that would mean that you weren't really living in it. Instead of dwelling on the lack of cleanliness, give yourself some time to ignore it, let go, and have fun in your home. Then, regroup the following day, and try to make it fun. Listen to some music you love, dance while you dust, or just make a plan to tackle one task per day so that it feels more manageable. You're never really going to get on top of it, so figure out a method and an amount of cleaning that makes you feel like it's "enough." And then be happy.
Your home isn't stylish enough. Instead of thinking about what your house isn't, think about what it is. Sure, you may not have an elegant, shagreen-wrapped coffee table, but you do have objects that you love: drawings from your kids that made you smile, that stone you picked up on a beach on vacation, that cool bottle opener your friend gave you. Shift from thinking about style to thinking about substance. If that's not cutting it, though, think about how your home's current "unstylish" state means that it's got room to grow with time. You are waiting for things that you love instead of focusing on trends. Or, you're focusing on collecting comfortable furnishings instead of living in a home that is "just so." Style isn't a thing that, once it's achieved, stays around forever. It is perpetually in the making.
If I had more money, I could make my home so much better. Of course we all have dreams of what we'd do if money were no object. Or if, at the very least, money were less of an object. But thinking this way is often frustrating and fruitless. Instead of being dissatisfied and dreaming large, remember that constraint and creativity go hand-in-hand. Maybe you saw an incredible, large-scale artwork that you loved and couldn't afford; use it as the inspiration point for your own creation. You might even love it more. Or, start to recognize the beauty in more mundane objects, like the bottles and feathers above. They wouldn't cost very much, and yet there's such beauty in their simplicity. Even if you have limited funds, it's possible to make a home your own.