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We can have far more influence on how we experience being alive than we often think.
Sometimes I forget that taking full responsibility for the choices I make is the key to fully enjoying my brief existence on this earth.
I remind myself of this sometimes by writing down the five things that have helped me the most along my journey.
Here are five things we need to understand:
1. Understand that we are always projecting. Whatever I feel about anyone else is largely a reflection/projection of how I feel about myself—including hate and love; and other people’s feelings about me mostly reveal how they feel about themselves.
How does this understanding help me? It reminds me that the first step to a healthy relationship is to remove any obstacles to accepting/appreciating myself—which is the essential foundation to a happy life. It also reminds me not to take it personally if others are criticising me (unless it’s justified), and to remain balanced and self-directed in how I respond.
2. Understand that we are always making choices. It’s largely in my own hands whether I’m fulfilled in life or not. That mostly depends on whether I believe that I am being of service to something bigger/someone other than myself, and whether I am cultivating the three “As”—awareness, acceptance, and appreciation. External achievements and possessions won’t compensate if my life doesn’t feel meaningful to me.
How does this understanding help me? I realise that how I feel about life’s events is in my hands, even though I can’t control what happens. I stop wasting time being disappointed if other people aren’t “making” me happy, and I become the driver of my own life—choosing the destinations I want to reach and also enjoying the journey.
3. Understand that there is a part of us that needs healing. If I’m not making choices that bring me fulfillment, there will be a reason—something from my past that is blocking me, which can be discovered and healed.
How does this understanding help me? Knowing that there is a reason if I make choices that are not ideal for me means I can stop pointlessly blaming other people for my pain (possibly harming them in the process) and seek out the support I need to be the best version of myself.
4. Understand that we have value. No other human is, or ever was, more worthy or deserving of respect and love than me or anyone else. I will only find love, acceptance, and respect within myself—trying to get it from anyone else will only lead to anxiety and resentment.
How does this understanding help me? This realization is like a rudder that enables me to steer my life boat in the direction that I choose—not being blown off course by the winds of other people’s needs, or by needing to get their affection and approval.
5. Understand that we have potential. Each of us already has changed the world by our very existence. And if I continue to change the world in a positive way with my talents, skills, and knowledge too—not only using them selfishly—I will find peace of mind and a sense of purpose.
How does this understanding help me? The innate feeling of being worthwhile is the foundation of a fulfilled existence. It seems like there are lucky people out there who were given a certainty about their essential value by their parents. I’m not sure if that’s true, but I am sure that I have had to construct it patiently for myself. The reward is a release from stress and anxiety, and an ability to give and receive love without depending on, or being disappointed by, anyone else.