You’ve got to dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.
?William W. Purkey
This moment will be part of your story someday. It’s not right or wrong. It’s not perfect. It just is – a blank canvas – a completely unrestricted space that you can use as you please. To laugh. To get rambunctious. To muse. To create. To express your freedom to be as you are.
You have to live each moment consciously in your own way, design your own truth, and then share it with others. It’s a process of growth you gradually realize as an individual. You can’t acquire it from others; you can only share it once you’ve created it. You have to break out of your shell and do things. Do what moves you. Be who you are. Explore life’s mysteries until you figure out what matters most to you.
If you sit around for too long, blaming others for the things they did or didn’t do, or knew or didn’t know, you’ll remain sitting in one spot until you pass. Placing blame is easy, because it means you don’t have to do anything; you just have to sit around for your entire life. But that’s not living; that’s dying. To accept where you are without blame by seizing the present for what it is – for the opportunities it’s giving you every instant – that’s what injects life into your story and ultimately moves you forward.
With all of this in mind, here are six things you should love about your life:
1. Time spent on personal growth and goals.
The wisest and happiest are those who are respectful of their time, annoyed at the needless loss of it, and use it dutifully to grow as they age. Sadly, too many of us age much faster than we grow. We spend so much of our lives going through the external motions of what society tells us ‘maturity’ is – getting married, buying houses, working our way up the corporate ladder, etc. – that we fail to concentrate on our own inner growth and goals. We never allocate enough time just for us.
Part of the problem is that we’re always waiting for some condition to resolve itself at some point in the future. We believe that the right time to take the next step is somehow going to magically happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, etc. But one day we wake up and realize we’re no closer than we were long ago. We find ourselves asking, “How did it get so late, and why haven’t I moved?” In other words, we’ve aged, but we never grew to our potential. We never fulfilled ourselves.
Let this be your wake-up call. This is life. Right now. Indulge in it. Make it count. Because it’s happening. Read 1,000 Little Things.
2. Living your truth every day.
The world can easily be a tragedy if all you do is feel without ever acting. To feel something and believe in it, and not to live it, is lying to yourself. If you do this for too long you will never do more than exist meekly from one robotic motion to the next. You will live a lie every day as the truth haunts your thoughts every night. You simply can’t get away from your truth by moving dishonestly from one place to the next.
If any of this hits too close to home, take a stand right now. Stop sipping the denial cocktail and take a shot of the delightful truth. Wherever your heart is, there you will find the reality that brings YOU to life. The time to act on your truth is now.
3. The joy and freedom of an open mind.
Your perspective on things is important; it enables you to make sense of the life you lead. Always keep in mind, though, that different people have different perspectives, and yours isn’t the only one that makes sense. There are few black and white facts in this world. Most facts are simply interpretations. You begin to learn wisely when you’re willing to see life from other people’s perspectives too.
Even as you grow wiser and wiser with age you must remind yourself that an understanding is never absolutely final. What’s currently right could easily be wrong later. Thus, the most destructive illusion is a settled point of view. Since life is continuous growth and movement, choosing a fixed point of view is essentially a declaration of death.
Success in life does not depend on always being or proving that you’re right. To make real progress you must let go of the assumption that you already have all the answers. You can listen to others, learn from them, and successfully work with them even though you may not agree with every opinion they have. When people respectfully agree to disagree, everyone benefits from the diversity of perspective. Read Buddha’s Brain.
4. Relationships that improve you.
It’s not about finding someone to lose yourself in, it’s about meeting someone to find yourself in. When you connect with someone special – a friend or lover – this person helps you find the best in yourself. In this way, neither of you actually meet the best in the each other; you both grow into your best selves by spending time together and nurturing each other’s growth.
When you honestly ask yourself who these special people are in your life, you will often find that it’s those who, instead of giving you things or taking things from you (advice, answers, material possessions, etc.), have chosen rather to share in your joy and pain, and experience life along with you through good times and bad.
5. The story you tell yourself every day.
Forget what everyone else thinks of you; chances are, they aren’t thinking about you anyway. If you feel like they always are, understand that this perception of them watching you and critiquing your every move is a complete figment of your imagination. It’s your own inner fears and insecurities that are creating this illusion. It’s you judging yourself that’s the problem.
You judge yourself by telling yourself a story inside of your head. Every moment of every day you’re telling yourself this story. You are building your future around this story, so tell it right. Create a positive narrative about your dreams and goals that include only the circumstances that matter. What you think others are thinking about you is not part of this narrative, and neither are your negative self-judgments. Read Uncertainty.
6. The positive spin of life’s surprises.
You are never at the total mercy of life’s surprises. No matter what life throws at you, you can decide what these events mean to you in the short term, the long term, and how you will integrate them into your life. Everything that happens is subject to your interpretation of it. Thus, far more important than what happens, is what you choose to do with what happens, and your options are abundant.
The life you live is ultimately the life you choose. Choose to focus on the negative, and negativity will indeed surround you. Turn your focus to the positive possibilities, and these possibilities gradually become realities in your life.
Photo by: Katie Harris