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“I have a simple philosophy: Fill what’s empty. Empty what’s full. Scratch where it itches.” ~ Alice Roosevelt Longworth
How do we find the way to our truest selves?
How can we navigate our lives to achieve joy and satisfaction?
Happiness seems to be the ultimate goal, but it’s a challenge for most of us. Sadly, we waste a lot of time waiting for it, or pursuing dead ends.
When we seek joy, though, what we are really doing is looking for our best selves, which is essentially our happiest state of being. Seeking our self is about finding our way to purpose, serenity, core beliefs, passions, and exciting opportunities.
The closer we get to who we truly are, the closer we come to living the life of our dreams—and life is much too short to give up on that.
Here are six ways to get closer to our selves:
1. We can stop making excuses. We won’t find our way if we keep putting it off. We won’t discover ourselves if we keep making excuses.
Not enough time is a poor excuse. We have our whole lives to figure things out, but as we’ve witnessed time and again, lives are often cut short. Every day is an opportunity to find time for what we love, but we must reorganize priorities and figure out what is holding us back.
“We may place blame, give reasons, and even have excuses; but in the end, it is an act of cowardice to not follow your dreams.” ~ Steve Maraboli
2. We can put one foot in front of the other. It’s a simple concept. When we put ourselves in motion, we begin. Runners, for example, often say the most difficult part of any run is lacing up their shoes, but that simply doing so is the motivation they need to head out the door.
The only steadfast rule about finding our way to what makes us happy is that we must move in order to get there, and that “moving” requires a beginning.
“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” ~ John Bingham
3. We can understand that we can’t avoid pain. We must go through the pain in order to heal ourselves—we can’t skirt around it, run away from it, or deflect it and hope it doesn’t come back, and then somehow become better, happier people in the process.
Change is often painful, but we must feel it and be mindful of the value of purposely trudging through it. The other side may offer a different path to happiness. Pain and grief are necessary agents for real growth in our lives. We learn from pain. Our way to a happier state of being, and what it is we truly want and need from our lives sometimes requires processing many painful truths.
“The cure for pain is in the pain.” ~ Rumi
4. We can hone our unique power play. What’s the one special thing we do well? It’s important to figure out what it is! It doesn’t matter if our “power play” is big or small. What matters is that it helps us discover ourselves by building confidence through expertise. When we lead the way in our own lives, we do not get caught up in other people’s problems, philosophies, actions, or judgments.
“Use those talents you have. You will make it. You will give joy to the world. Take this tip from nature: The woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except those who sang best.” ~ Bernard Meltzer
5. We can choose to be guided by a compass instead of a map. Instead of adhering to a rigid plan with our hearts set on an exact result, or absolute destination, it’s more important to point ourselves in a general direction and see what happens.
“Life happens while we are busy making other plans.” Life can be wonderful, and fulfilling, and good during the in-between moments too. While it’s quite wonderful to land squarely where we set out to (accomplishing goals and such), we should also remember to be present enough to allow for spontaneous plot twists. When we do things with the sole intention of feeding our soul, we venture down less beaten paths and dirt roads, instead of remaining jammed up on crowded six-lane highways.
“She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. ‘Time’ for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.” ~ Roman Payne
6. We can purge all the non-essentials. We can relieve ourselves, for heaven’s sake, of all the inner and outer baggage that drags us down—all that useless stuff we carry around. In addition to the outer stuff that crowds our homes, we can purge inner stuff like jealously, resentment, rage, and the feeling that we are being treated unfairly. We must toss it out of the window and work on our lives and our own selves, so that none of what anyone else has or does bothers us the least bit. Shedding our skin like a snake and emptying our bellies of the of the bile that poisons our soul is the way to self. A cluttered path stalls the journey.
“Sometimes you’ve got to let everything go—purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything…whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.” ~ Tina Turner