How do you love yourself? How do you find fulfillment? How do you find a life of peace and happiness? Are these the secrets to a meaningful life?
Sounds like questions you’ll have to climb grand mountains to find a guru to answer. Fortunately you don’t have to. The big secret is there is no secret…only a way of being…a mindset, and a perspective for you to view the world through a new lens. All of these things are within you…you only have to acknowledge the person you already are. Loving yourself allows you to be the best version of yourself. There is no “secret” to the following…only a decision to walk the path meant for you.
1. Know yourself. Every day we experience jubilant peaks and stressful valleys. These experiences may make us doubt ourselves. Should we have an understanding of how we behave, we can acknowledge our responses and bring about the most positive outcome. This is the power to knowing ourselves…by enabling the best possible future. There is a simple yet peaceful authenticity with this knowledge, and acting consistently.
2. Know your happy place. This is more than the day-to-day decisions of where to go or with whom to spend your time. It sets you on the path of your desires. If you know yourself you will know what makes you happy…or at least you will understand what makes you happy. Awareness is a powerful tool.
3. Invest in what makes you happy. Now that you know what fulfills you…double down. Become intelligent in what bring you happiness, or become capable to build the tools to construct the mechanisms that will bring you happiness. In this “pursuit of happiness” there a constant movement of your soul on the hunt for what you are meant to do…and you will see that this “investment” in your “happiness” will be come your life’s journey.
4. Surround yourself with people who share the same values. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do…but whom you spend your time with. Having people in your life who you care about…to share experiences, and to foster the values you believe, will encourage a stronger better you. And do not compare yourself to anyone but who you were yesterday. It is too easy to get caught up with much money someone else makes, or what they have or whom they spend their time with. You are on different paths, and as long as the path you are on makes you happy, it will not matter.
5. Focus not just on your mental health, but physical health. Life is not a sprint, and with all our epistemological, noble questioning we must not forget we are frail beings destined to break. We must maintain our bodies as well as our minds and souls so we can enjoy each day with the highest quality of life.
6. Be grateful, and find pride in your accomplishments. Ask yourself, “how did I get so lucky?” or “what is something I am excited about?” or “what are the best things that happened to me recently?” These affirming questions will reinforce your gratitude for your life and the people and things in it. But don’t forget to ask, “How can I make a better tomorrow?” Don’t be afraid to push to new horizons. And mostly, do not forget to slow down and reward yourself. You will be at your best when you focus on one thing at a time…and celebrate your accomplishments. This is your best life, after all.
7. Make mistakes and forgive yourself. We must accept pain is inevitable, and there is a time for sorrow just as there is a time for happiness…but we don’t need to live a life with suffering. We can do this by forgiving ourselves for the pain we experience, and to have the grace of letting go of the things not meant for us. The better we know ourselves, no matter how painful it may be, we will have the strength to do so.
Remember the greatest value in your life is yourself, and you are the most important person in your life. Rationally, if there were no you, you wouldn’t have a life at all. It is important to value others, as a reflection of your purpose and fulfillment, but you must respect yourself first before you can respect others…and love yourself first too.
But if we focus on all these things, won’t we be selfish?
No. It is empowerment, for it fosters a kindness to be shared with others. The difference between selfishness and empowerment is realizing you are not the only person who matters. We cannot live with blinders as we chase our dreams. We are not bulldozers with one focus…the finish line…as we trample over everyone. We are people, a part of one community…one culture…one family, and we must respect all values we share.
So…how do you love others? We already discussed how. The same investment you put into yourself, you should put into the people you care most about. You should ask, “How can I give happiness to others as I have to myself?”
And for that special someone…acknowledge you both are on a journey together, as two souls. His or her values and interests, although in most cases are similar, will differ from yours. Be aware of those differences, and celebrate them. If nothing else, it is exactly that…to love deeply is to never take that love for granted, and to celebrate it, every day.