Before you start the exciting adventure discovering how to live your “best” life, there’s one thing you must do. It’s something many life dreamers skip altogether and then are miffed when they never reach their “best” life! First, you have to Imagine Your Life… no, not in terms of health, wealth, or even happiness. Often, people see someone else’s life and say, “I want to be there – I want their life!” And that’s where the false dreaming begins.
Be smarter than that. Think introspectively. View yourself in the mirror and study the incredible face looking back at you. Get to know that person before you imagine your best and most beautiful life. In the absence of knowing yourself, you’ll be doomed to live someone else’s life and regret that you left your own behind.
French style icon and couturière Coco Chanel declared, “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” I don’t equate outer looks with beauty. I’ve known societal beauties with shallow hearts and encountered exquisite humans so beautiful because they knew and liked themselves. So, know who you are, explore your talents, discover your desires… only then can you imagine your best life. Start with small changes, be consistent, and watch your joyful self emerge, one small change at a time.
Get Off the Grid. If your life feels as if it’s spinning out of control, take pause: it may not be only your life that’s making you anxious. According to the American Psychological Association, watching news 24/7 has people experiencing more stress and anxiety during a time when we need more joy and human relations. So, treat yourself and minimize activities that prevent you from being personally productive, and stop the obsession with social media and its addicting lure to self-comparisons. One study showed people who gave up Facebook for just one week reported being significantly happier overall. Let’s face it – wouldn’t you rather enjoy being in the present than cringing at bad jokes and negative sensory overload?
Do What Feels Right. It sounds simple enough, but how many paths have you taken that didn’t feel right, then you went down the road anyway? Perhaps it felt right, but in the end, it wasn’t for YOU. Maybe it was just what your parents wanted, the path your teacher directed you toward, or the career your colleagues groomed you for. So often decisions are made based on well-intended recommendations. However, you end up nowhere near what you feel is really right – for you. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone say after a long and abundant career, “But I really wanted to… be an artist… play the cello… work with animals… be a filmmaker.”
The Healing Power of Prayer. Regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs, something universal occurs when a person joins their hands together in prayer. Whether giving or receiving, there is power in that heavenly ask. Just inquire about its effect on anyone who has had prayers answered, and their belief is indisputable. I started praying during early childhood, even before I had educated schooling on the existence of a God. But I had so many prayers answered as a child that I knew the act never went unheard. To this day, every one of them is followed by a prayer of thanks – from the smallest things like a parking space opening up so I wouldn’t miss a plane flight, to big things like someone surviving against all odds. But don’t be one to pray and wait. Do kind deeds, help humankind, and read thoughtful prose. When your prayer results in anything less than positive, drop to your knees with gratitude. Then go on to live the great life you imagined.
Finally, take heed to the great legends, men and women of honor and distinction who voiced the same sentiment at end of life. It’s not your resume or the job you held that defines your legacy, but rather the people you affect along the way. You’ll be remembered by the acts you bestowed upon others and the way you lived your best life. Start today by being true to yourself and the people you love; serving those in need for causes bigger than yourself; and enjoying family and friends in real time.
Abella Carroll is a freelance writer