The best things in life aren’t things. So next time you want to give yourself a gift, save your money, and consider gifting yourself one of the following instead:
- The freedom to be unapologetically YOU. – Wearing a mask wears you out. Faking it is fatiguing. The most arduous activity is pretending to be what you know you aren’t. Trying to fit some idealistic mold of perfection is a fool’s game. It’s much wiser to just be yourself – faults and all. Take off your mask and start being unapologetic about who you really are. Remember, imperfection is beauty; madness is genius. It is better to be ridiculously you, than ridiculously boring by trying to be the same as everyone else. Read The Mastery of Love.
- An uninhibited imagination. – If we’ve learned anything as a society over the past few decades, it’s that life is changing faster and faster with every passing day. The world tomorrow looks nothing like the world today. And the people with big imaginations are the ones not just living it, they are creating it.
- An open mind. – Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t; everyone can teach you something new. The purpose of keeping an open mind isn’t just to change your mind, it’s to expand your mind to understand the true potential in each moment of your life – to discover a self who has the ability to see more possibilities and expanded points of view (even the ones opposing yours) and then to choose creatively, intuitively, and sacredly going forward.
- The commitment to fail forward. – Failing is as certain as sunsets and detours. So why exert energy avoiding the unavoidable? Embrace it. Shift your energy from protecting yourself from failure to squeezing the life out of life. Get real comfortable with that uneasy feeling of going against the grain and trying something new. Doing so will always take you to places you never thought you could go.
- Using encouraging words. – Words are powerful. They can create or they can destroy. The simple words you choose, especially when you speak to yourself or about yourself, can offer encouragement and positive thoughts going forward, or they can send you further into despair. So choose your words wisely.
- A ‘glass’ filled with the right things. – It’s not just whether your glass is half-empty or half-full that matters. You also have to be mindful of what you’re filling your glass with. Be sure to fill it with those things that satisfy your soul: good friends and family to love, passions to pursue, dreams to fulfill, and charity for others. Because the only situation more tragic than seeing your glass as half-empty, is filling your glass until it is overflowing, and then realizing that there’s nothing in it to satisfy your thirst for a meaningful life.
- Enjoying what you have. – The thing you need to do is enjoy the ride while you’re on it. Think positive, be positive, and positive things will happen. Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Enjoy your blessings right now. Remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. Celebrate this. Work on being so appreciative and happy that when others look at you, they become a little happier too.
- Lifelong learning. – You are simply the product of what you know, so develop a passion for acquiring knowledge. A passion for learning is different from just studying to earn a grade or please teachers. It begins in the heart and home. Read for pleasure, ask questions, analyze, and exploit your curiosities. In other words, learn to actually love the act of learning. Read The Last Lecture.
- Hope. – Remember, it’s always darkest just before the dawn. Never underestimate the strength of your will to live after a loss, to love after heartache, or to rise after a fall. For although your troubles may be too dense and dark right now for you to see the light, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a strong spirit within them, or a beautiful sunrise just beyond the horizon.
- Spirituality. – Faith elevates your view of the universe, your world, and your life. You would be wise to instill into your mind that you are more than just flesh and blood taking up space. You are also made of heart, soul, and will. And decisions in your life should be based on more than just what everyone else with flesh and blood is doing on the outside.
- Stability and love at home. – A stable home becomes the foundation on which you build the rest of your success. Subconsciously we all need to know we have a family core who we can trust, and who is going to be there for us through thick and thin. Faithfulness to your partner is a big part of this. Faithfulness in any intimate relationship includes more than just your body; it also includes your eyes, mind, heart, and soul. Guard your sexuality daily and devote it entirely to the one you love.
- A positive temper. – Anger can be useful in calling your attention to issues that require your response; but anger itself is not an effective response. Take a slow, deep breath, and remind yourself of how much more effective you can be by maintaining a positive, results-oriented approach to the issue at hand. Don’t let the silly, thoughtless, destructive actions of others trap you in an unproductive state of anger. Take note of your anger, let it go, redirect your focus on being your best self, and you’ll surely emerge with a smile. Read Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.
- A sense of humor. – He or she who laughs, lasts. A sense of humor is a major defense against minor troubles – something life is filled with. So laugh as often as you can with those around you, for your sake and theirs.
- Doing the best you are capable of. – Don’t complain about something you can actually do something about. Take action. Do the best that you’re capable of. Any less is cheating yourself. Those who get the most from life are those who give the most. Find something you’re passionate about, and keep tremendously interested in it and focused on it.
- Being the change you want to see. – Happiness, freedom, and peace of mind are always attained by giving them without expectation. The only way to raise yourself up is to raise others up – to raise your world up – to raise all of life just a little higher. Joy comes to you when you give it. Happiness becomes yours when you live it. Everything you need you are already capable of being. So smile from the heart and fulfill the destiny that is yours in this priceless moment.
Photo by: Dawn Ashley