By Sophia Godkin PhD
There is much to learn through life, so much that sometimes I wonder if that isn’t one of the reasons why our life expectancy is nearly 80 years and only growing. And though there are many life lessons to learn, there are certainly some that stand out. I call them the ‘5 Ws of Life’ and here they are for you to learn, relearn, practice, and enjoy to make the most of each and every day of your life.
- Who you are is unique and your uniqueness is what makes you special. In the short term, it’s easy to conform to society’s supposed ‘norm’ and to be like everyone else. In the long term, however, it becomes very difficult for your heart and soul which are simply yearning to be shown and expressed for all that they are. So whatever you do, don’t change who you are, and don’t change just because someone wants you to fulfill an expectation or need that they have. Remind yourself that this life is yours to live as you wish, just as you are. Don’t change to make someone love and appreciate you. Be exactly who you are, say exactly what you feel, do exactly what you wish, and those people who are meant to be in your life will love and appreciate you for all that you are, all that you say, and all that you do. As you embrace who you are, embrace the uniqueness of the people in your life too. Honor your differences and make it a priority to try and love them just as they are.
- When you want to do something but fear you might fail, do it anyway. Throughout life, failure is one of the experiences people fear having most. It’s why some people reject certain opportunities and why others don’t even try at all. As you journey through life, you recognize that taking a light attitude towards failure is far more productive and conducive than regretting opportunities you missed because you were too afraid to try. You realize that failure is inevitable and is actually the real proof that you have stepped outside of your comfort zone, that you have lived, and that you have tried. Not trying, as it turns out, is actually the worst failure of all. It turns out that, when at the end of their lives, people report regretting spending as much time working as they did, not staying in as close contact with their friends and family, not spending more time with their children, trying to please everyone, and not having had the courage to express what they were feeling. They never regret having tried and failed.
- What the future holds is uncertain. Be happy now. Many people spend their lives getting ready to live. They set goals, architect plans, and craft beautiful road maps that they hope will lead them to the life they truly desire, all the while forgetting to enjoy the journey of getting there. The future is created right here, right now. So don’t wait for the future to deliver you the joy, love, and meaning that you are yearning for. Choose to create it now. Life is truly lived in the experience of each present moment, not in anticipation of the next. We’ve all heard the figurative story of the man who was saving up his millions for the wonderful future he planned only to die suddenly in his sleep decades ahead of “schedule”. Don’t be that guy (or girl). No plan or road mad crafted by the mind can circumnavigate the uncertain, always-changing nature of life. Live now. Do what you’ve always wanted to do now. Be happy now.
- What matters most in life is the people in it. Healthy relationships with friends, family, and community are the single most important ingredient to your happiness. Not work, not sports, not the internet, not money. Prioritize your relationships and treat them like they are the gold trophy of life because they are. Don’t let yourself get lost so much in the hustle and bustle of daily life that it overshadows, overpowers, and hurts your relationships. Call the people you love, spend time with the people who matter, learn how to be truly present with the members of your family, build relationships with your neighbors, become a part of your community, lend a hand, and be the recipient of another’s helping hand. Many people spend decades looking for a genuine feeling of happiness in life only to realize that it’s been under their noses and in their friendships and relationships the whole time. Spend less time alone and more time nurturing the relationships that count and you won’t need to wait decades to experience the beautiful feeling that comes from knowing that you belong, that you are loved and cared for, and that there are people everywhere looking forward to spending a moment and sharing a smile with just you.
- Why things happen the way they happen is not always certain but in one way or another, your thoughts certainly do become things. Nothing is more powerful than what you believe. The thoughts you think moment to moment become the way you feel day to day and the beliefs and life experiences you have year to year. In this way your thoughts become things. It’s not magic, it’s physics. We are energy and energy is always attracting to it other energy that is in vibrational harmony with it. As an energetic being wishing to live a life full of ultimate joy and freedom, it seems therefore that you ought to be mindful of what you are thinking and thus feeling. In each moment it is wise, therefore, to direct your thoughts to better and better feeling thoughts. And while it can be satisfying to look back and use this wisdom to understand the specific reasons why something may have happened in your life, it’s not necessary. What’s necessary is that you recognize just how much power you have in the unfolding of your life, that you trust in the ability of the infinite Intelligence of the Universe to give you the life that you want, and that you choose to exercise your will to create love, success, and happiness greater than what you may have once thought was possible, starting right now!
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