“There's nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself.” ~ James Lee Burke
Even if you have created a life that is fully self-sustained and supported through the highest of all ideals, it’s wise to stop occasionally and observe objectively just what’s going on. Our life doesn’t come with any guarantees, but if you want to maximize your accomplishments while you’re still here, I’m presenting you with some ideas to freshen your perspective and possibly tighten up your game. Small tweaks and small steps forward are encouraged.
You’ve gotten your habits in place by now, but it doesn’t hurt to do a Life 101 refresher course to see what points you might have missed, or perhaps, might have forgotten.
Be Willing to Stay Open and Vulnerable. My bed is comfortable, but if I don’t get up and out of it, I wouldn’t make any progress in my life. Are you open to taking risks and even to failing? Failing isn’t a bad thing. It’s a learning thing. You walk easily now, right? Do you remember all the times you fell while learning to walk? Of course not. So stay open to taking risks, open to failing, and if you’re going to fall, fall forward, so that when you stand up, at least you’re a full body-length ahead. Don’t allow yourself to develop a habit of being cynical and sour. Continue to experiment with new ideas. You’ll love the experiments and experiences and the knowledge you’ll unfold. When you say “Yes” to new ideas, you are saying “Yes” to a fuller, more enjoyable, more abundant life. What could possibly be wrong with that? If you discover after reading this that you have put some negative protections in place to prevent yourself from being hurt, for example, resolve now that your decision to do that may have worked at one time, but it’s not working now because it keeps you limited. Let go of that.
Become Self-Centered. I know that many of you were taught early in life that being self-centered is selfish and is a wrong idea. I think that is a wrong idea. I’m going to ask you a question: “Is there anyone else out there who has a list where your name is at the top; where your wishes, wants, and desires are their most important thing each day?” No? Then I encourage you to create that list yourself. Figure out what dreams you’ve been squelching up to this point. Wouldn’t you like to accomplish them before you die? Keep trying, so you’ll never end up wondering what else you might have done. Your Big Dream and Your Specific Passion are tied together. You can use your Specific Passion to drive your Big Dream to great success. You’re the one to do it for You!
Don’t Blindfold Yourself and Tell You Lies. The social mores we were taught growing up sometimes help us to hide the truth from ourselves, let alone from the others to whom we are close in our lives. If you have a dream, tell yourself what that dream is. Don’t push it off and say “Oh it doesn’t really matter.” It does matter. Know what you like to do and what you don’t like to do. If you won’t tell you, who will? I like to think of my life as a sweet, succulent experience in which I can do all that I can to serve myself and to benefit the world at large. What is your dream? How will you do it? You certainly don’t want someone else to make that decision for you, do you? You have your own set of ideas. Honor them. Don’t hide them from yourself.
Be of Service. My hero, Gandhi, and Mother Teresa, and the Dalai Llama all encourage living a life of service. If you only work for “you,” the benefits are limited. If you work for you and all others, the benefits are far reaching, and in working from this more global be-of-service perspective, we can make an enormous contribution to both. You might think your little contribution is just a drop in the bucket. One drop is important. If 1,000 people add their one little drop, the bucket fills up. Do you like to read? Go and read to the blind. Do you like to sew? Go sew for needy children in the world. Do you like to write? Write down what you’ve learned and your understanding will benefit all who read.
What Makes Me Happy and Fulfilled? If you ask yourself “What makes me happy?” do you find that you are currently doing whatever it is? If it’s dance, do you dance? You deserve to discover whatever should be on your Happy and Fulfilled list and then you need to go do those things. Notice, I didn’t say find a great husband and go do them together. Nope. YOU go do them. You do them because you love yourself enough to offer up for yourself what makes you feel satisfied and complete. Eat meals out by yourself. Go on cruises by yourself. Pay the toll for the car behind you. Smile at little children. Buy the shoes you love. You will be providing for yourself, and I can add this: if you’re looking for that one special someone, when they see you doing what you love, won’t they just love seeing that happy you?
Courage Comes from Reasoning. For some of you, ‘mum’s the word’ has become your method of operating, because you are afraid of being seen as less-than if you allow your fears, your doubts, or your worries out into the sunshine. You keep them bottled up inside in the dark. You are not the Lone Ranger here. You can find someone you trust enough to confide in. You might find a minister, a therapist, a coach, a total stranger….but go look for someone to open up that corked-up bottle you’ve created and have the courage to pull the cork out. All of us make the decisions we make to protect ourselves from our fears of getting hurt. At some point, we have to make new decisions if we want a life that if fuller and more enjoyable. Consider letting it all hang out just this once.
It’s Noble to Forgive One’s Enemies. I am willing to admit that there are some people who set out to intentionally hurt us, but I’ve learned that more often than not, when I’ve gotten my feelings hurt, there was zero intention to hurt me from the other fellow. It boiled down to how I saw, sensed or felt what was directed at me. In order to forgive, you have to completely release negative emotions such as hurt, vengeance, pride, etc. toward another individual, and instead, wish that person well. It not only releases them from liability, it releases you into more positive experiences. Set both of you free in a trial run, and feel how good it feels to be done with it.
I sincerely hope that these ideas have given you a vision into some changes you can make. Change is good.