Everyone is striving towards more happiness and more fulfillment in life. Many, many people are not quite hitting the mark though! What really gets me, is that people keep doing the same things, again and again, expecting things to change. Why?! They look outside of themselves for happiness, and be it because of fear, laziness or ignorance, they neglect to look at the things that will actually make a difference.
Wherever you fall on the happiness spectrum, these 8 naked facts of life are essential to how the rest of your days are going to play out.
1) BE REAL WITH YOURSELF
Are you real with yourself? Brutally honest with yourself? Or have you become accustomed to pretending in such a specific way that the masks you wear, the faces that you show to the world, feel real even to yourself. Have you mistaken the familiarity and comfort that come with coping a certain way for being real?
It’s a lot easier to let your habits and patterns rule – distracting yourself, sweeping it under the rug, responding with anger or blame, or going numb through alcohol or some other form of self-medication.
Being real with yourself can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re not used to it. But it’s far less painful than pretending that everything is ok when it’s not. Inevitably, what’s real will surface – either through depression, anxiety or sickness.
- Be real with yourself when you're hurt
- Admit when you're embarrassed or when you're ashamed
- Accept when you feel overwhelmed or out of control
- Be real when it feels like you can't handle anymore on your plate
- Acknowledge when you're scared, feeling weak or feeling vulnerable
Watch out for the ‘Icing on Top of A Mud-pie’ Syndrome – where, in attempt to be positive, you ignore what’s happening beneath the surface.
Your feelings are your compass in life, there to guide you; they deserve and require your attention.
2) BE REAL WITH THE PEOPLE YOU CARE ABOUT
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who you knew was not being real with you? Don’t let that be you. We can always sense when someone isn’t being real with us, just as they can sense when we aren’t being real with them. Not only will it do long-term damage to your relationships, it will do damage to yourself as well.
The more honest you are with the people you care about, the stronger the connection will be between you and that person.
The vulnerability you might feel in being honest is actually the bridge that will allow you to connect deeper to that person.
By allowing your truest self to be seen, you allow your unique-ness, the very essence of your being, to be felt.
If your vulnerability is met with indifference or contempt, it is a reflection of the other person’s inability to connect on a deeper level. Don’t take it personally.
3) LEARN TO COMMUNICATE
Good communication doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not an automatic skill we are all blessed with and yet, it is a skill we all MUST LEARN.
Our quality of life is directly dependent on the quality of our relationships and the quality of our relationships is directly dependent on how well we communicate.
The communication I mean falls more under emotional maturity than it does your education or intellectual ability. Communicating well with friends or colleagues doesn’t automatically translate into being able to communicate well in the relationships that matter most to you.
Communicating well encompasses being able to share yourself honestly and listen respectfully, without blame, judgment or criticism. It comes with recognizing that our perceptions, sensitivities and opinions are different than another person’s and they are neither right nor wrong – they are just simply different. The goal here must be to understand, not to win.
4) KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SELF-CARE AND SELFISHNESS
Self-care is recognizing that you have needs too, that they are just as important as the next person’s, and that you and you alone are responsible for making sure that those needs are taken care of.
Selfishness is thinking only of yourself and often at the expense of others. It is putting your needs above all others, putting your feelings above all others and having little regard for how your actions impact others.
Don’t confuse the two! Self-Care is essential to not only your well-being but to the well-being of those around you. Without it, hopelessness, anger and resentment will build.
Self-care includes but is not limited to:
- Having, maintaining and moving towards your goals
- Having a vision for your future
- Knowing when you need a break
- Honouring your feelings
- Engaging in healthy activities that leave you feeling refreshed and recharged
- Making the time for the things that matter to you
When we take care of ourselves, we operate optimally, have more to give and actually become less selfish.
5) YOU'RE GOING TO F*** UP, EXPECT IT
You’re human and yes, you’re going to fuck up! It’s not a huge deal. That is a by-product of being human; mistakes are unavoidable. How we handle it is what matters.
Admit when you’re wrong, make amends where necessary and sincerely learn from your mistakes.
Know that it’s ok when you screw up. It’s ok if you disappoint someone, it’s ok if you make a mistake, and it’s ok if you fail at something. It’s ok that you’ve got issues.
Accept your mistakes and embrace your humanness. Make a plan of action and move on.
6) LIFE *IS* CHALLENGING
For everyone, not just you. You’ll always be going through something or another and its impact is relative to you; comparison is pointless here.
It’s easiest to just accept that life will ALWAYS throw curve balls.
Start learning to deal with it well instead of hoping for perfection or being so shocked when something goes wrong.
Look for the positive in it, what growth is available to you or how you can turn this around for your advantage.
Perception is the only thing within your control. It only makes sense to find a way to start seeing these obstacles in a positive light.
Your alternative is to complain about it, get angry, pity yourself, grow bitter inside or feel like life just sucks.
7) GET OVER YOURSELF
Lose your pride, lose your ideals about how you or anyone else should be and lose your ‘shoulds’. Be who you are and feel how you feel.
You gain nothing in trying to live up to an ideal that has you be the perfect human. You lose actually - big time. Instead of living the life that is unfolding in front of you moment by moment, you end up perpetually striving for the proverbial carrot.
We all have a story. They are all relative. We all have issues. You don’t need to hide yours. Your story is what makes you, you. Own it! Don’t let shame, guilt or pride hold you back. Accept your story, embrace who you actually are and overcome the ideals you might be mistakenly striving for. (See #1, Be Real)
8) SELF AWARENESS IS YOUR DUTY AS AN INTELLIGENT HUMAN BEING IN SOCIETY
Self-help, self-development and self-awareness is not something that ‘those kind of people’ do. It’s logical and it’s a mandatory adult duty.
It’s impossible to be human and to be perfect. All of our imperfections are actually opportunities to grow and experience a better quality of life.
If any of the above caused a niggling within you, a silent acknowledgment that you might need to work on a particular area, look it dead in the face and commit to working on that.
Remember #1– Be real with yourself, #5 - You’re human and therefore an innate mistake maker and #6 - Get over yourself, your pride and your ideals.