As a result of the changes in my own life over the past couple of years, a few basic truths have emerged. Coming to terms with these truths is helping me to live life to the full. Have I got a full handle on them? Nope, but my deep down understanding of them helps me to move in the right direction.
Don’t dwell on the past and what could have been.
The past is gone, leave it there. No amount of ‘wanting to’ will change what has already happened. Things we have said and done cannot be unsaid or undone. Focus on living life now in such a way that regrets will not be a part of our future. Say what needs saying and do what needs to be done.
Let go of what we can’t control.
This means letting go of people and events which are not our responsibility. Learning to accept that we can’t change them is vital. If we all truly grasped how hard it is to change something about ourselves, then we would fully understand that we don’t have a hope of changing anyone else. Accepting this one truth will bring a real sense of peace and serenity into our lives. Accept others as they are or don’t become involved with them.
Be honest with ourselves and others.
Look at ourselves, our situations and our relationships with honesty. Let's not delude ourselves into believing what we want/wish/hope for is our current state. An awareness of our reality will probably, if not certainly bring pain but without it; we will not be in a position to make changes which will enable us to move forward with our lives.
Treat others as you would want them to treat you.
This Golden Rule will need to be applied to live a full life. Treating others with respect, kindness, compassion and love will send a clear message and if we are not met with similar treatment, then it may be time to set boundaries within relationships or walk away.
Accept that there is a Higher Power.
In my case, I believe in God and know that He is in control of all things. Does He want bad things to happen? No. Does He allow us to suffer the consequences of our choices, yes and that sometimes means others are hurt terribly because of our shortcomings. We in turn will also suffer as a result of the failings of others. Turning our will and our lives over to God daily brings peace that passes all understanding. Prayer and meditation is a means by which we can communicate with our Higher Power and vice versa.
Keep a thankful spirit
No matter what our circumstances are, there is always something to be thankful for. Car trouble? Let's be thankful we have a car. Messy house and full laundry basket? We can be grateful that we have a roof over our heads and families who create dirty wash. Think of all the things we have that money can’t buy and be thankful for those. Reminding ourselves that there are many who are thankful with much less than we have will also keep us grounded and fill us with gratitude.
The day generally goes the way the corners of our mouths turn. It can take far more energy to be miserable so choose happy. We don’t have to go around grinning like an idiot to be positive. It is an attitude of the heart and making the choice daily to see the upside rather than the downside of everyday events will go a long way towards ensuring that we have a positive day. Lighten up and laugh whenever possible; it's almost always possible.
Do what we can with what we have right where we are.
We all possess knowledge, skills and talents which can be effective if we are willing to use them and put them into practice. The biggest help with this one is to not worry about doing things right or wrong and to not worry about what others think of us. Just get started! “Inspiration exists but it has to find you working.”- Pablo Picasso
Want to do something, go somewhere and achieve something? Setting short, medium and long term goals will help give us an action plan with built in markers to check our progress. It’s so easy to become discouraged or to veer off track but goals are there to keep us coming back to the path that will move us forward. If we don't have goals, how will we know where we're heading or even more importantly, what will we have to aim for in life? “Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort.” – Theodore Roosevelt
One day at a time
This lesson may seem in contradiction to the goal setting point above but really it is just a way of focusing on the present moment. What can we do today that will bring us closer to where we want to be? During tough times, we can do something for one day that we may not want to do for a lifetime. Focusing on just one day at a time helps to take the worry factor out of our lives. Just do what we can one day at a time and that is enough.