How To Enrich Your Life and Live It Full Out
Learn how to value yourself and live without regrets.
People are constantly trying to live up to some kind of expectation. These norms are not always meant to be the best thing for us, and so we get caught in a vortex of striving for success and winding up unhappy. You might feel like you have to change yourself in order to move ahead in life, that you need to cover certain scars, and smile for the camera.
In a way, social media and dependence on technology has made life easier to complicate. You see stimulus every day from people you envy. You look upon the lives of those around you and ask yourself why your efforts are yielding the same results, whether those efforts have been in finding love, buying a home, graduating college, paying off debt, or losing weight.
Chances are you are missing one valuable step. You don’t know yourself yet.
Learning To Value Yourself
Rather than saying, “Love Yourself,” I’m going to opt for the phrase, “Value Yourself.” There are two reasons why I’m going to avoid using “love.”
First, loving yourself is difficult, and most people don’t ever get around to truly loving themselves. I am one of those people. I don’t necessarily love myself, but I do know that I’m a capable human being, that I have certain talents, and that I live life to the fullest. There are things about my psychology and physiology that I’m not satisfied with, but I’ve come to accept these parts of myself as pieces of the bigger picture.
Valuing yourself means that, even if you aren’t 100% satisfied with yourself, you have accepted who you are and know how to work with what you have.
Second, “love” is different person to person. My love doesn’t match your love. Love is dependent on your personality, your values and morals, your lifestyle, and your past. Some people might consider love as a relationship with their partner, while others might love food or travel. Love is very arbitrary, and therefore, loving yourself becomes a challenging notion to simplify.
Besides, when you are told to “love yourself,” you will obviously begin by thinking, “Well, what part of me should I love?”
I remember receiving advice that told me to select things I loved about myself—physical or mental—and list those in an attempt to come up with affirmations. What happened? I ended up dividing up myself based on what I loved and hated about myself. “I love the shape of my mouth,” but “I hate my jiggly stomach.”
Separating my form based on what I like and dislike created a toxic relationship with myself. And most people are the same. Rather than valuing your health or the strength of you body, you compare yourself to others, thinking that if you had what they had, you’d be better off.
But that’s not entirely true, is it?
“Comparison is the thief of joy,” as the saying goes.
That is why “Value Yourself” is much more effective than “Love Yourself.” Values are, by definition, things that are important and functional within your life. Values determine priorities. Values help drive your life to be everything you have imagined it to be.
So when you value yourself, you understand that your life is in your control. If you value your health, you are more likely to think of “self-love” as eating healthily, as devoting time to exercise, as laughing with friends and family but also designating time for yourself. When you value your time on this planet, you start living more fully. You start checking off those boxes on the bucket list rather than enslaving yourself to the 9-to-5 work schedule.
Of course, learning how to value yourself is a task in and of itself. But what you gain from the practice is priceless.
Define and Enrich Your Values (and Self-Worth)
When I talk about enriching your life and living with no regrets, what I am really suggesting is that you let go of the things holding you back from achieving your goals. In order to do that, you need to believe you are capable of wonderful things. You need self-worth (or self-esteem). Now, people will always have varied ideas of what is important. Every goal is unique, because at the core, the person desiring to complete that step is also unique.
When I work with a personal fitness or writing client, I first determine what motivates them. What is driving them to work towards their goal and why? Figuring out what fuels their lives often comes down to understanding their values.
Values make you stronger. Furthermore, when you value yourself, you naturally discover ways to play up those strengths while working through weaknesses.
Here are some ways to define your values:
Ask Yourself The Right Questions
Finding value in your existence and living your best life means understanding who you are. This requires reflection. You can ask yourself the following questions while meditating, working on mind maps, writing in your journal, or whenever you feel comfortable.
• What moments do you think of as a major success? Who were you with during these moments? What were some contributing factors to these events?
• Why do you take pride in specific achievements but overlook others?
• Do you have any life desires not yet fulfilled?
• What experiences in life do you value the most?
• What character traits do you value the most? Are those traits currently present within you?
• How have you held yourself back in the past? What are you afraid of?
• How can you empower yourself to become the best version of yourself?
Keep in mind that most of these questions are meant to commence a discussion within yourself. Be honest when you answer, even if you don’t necessarily enjoy the answer. Coming to terms with these realizations will enable you to see more clearly.
Prioritize Personal Values
The next step is going to need farther introspection. You will simultaneously find power within yourself and make solutions for problems. This doesn’t always happen right when you want it to. Sometimes, it can take days, weeks, or even months to prioritize specific values and gain a sense of stability.
Looking back at the answers to the previous questions, you might find a theme. For example, I value freedom and independence above all else. Because of this, I have chosen a lifestyle that is rather non-conforming. Because I valued my independence, I worked hard to become a self-proprietor and entrepreneur. Prioritizing independence also help me become more assertive and outspoken, because there’s no freedom in waiting for others to guide me.
Here are steps to prioritizing your values:
1. Reconsider the traits you value. Write down your top values. For example, do you prefer accountability over adventurousness? Punctuality over flexibility? Justice over mercy? Spontaneity over structure?
2. Once you have come up with a list of values, ask yourself how you can promote those values within yourself by correcting weaknesses. For instance, you might be able to tackle an unhealthy lifestyle by putting more emphasis on your need for stability. This takes in form when you schedule cooking dinner at home or prepping for meals instead of routinely going out for fast food.
3. Commit to those values. Actively promote your strengths while working on your weaknesses.
But, this is just the beginning.
Becoming More Aware Of Your Value
Not everyone is going to understand you. Not everyone is going to recognize your worth. That’s okay. What matters is that you have woken up to your own potential. This goes beyond knowing what you value. This means seeing the world with open eyes. Stop distracting yourself from the obvious.
What does that mean?
Stop staring at your phone, obsessing about images for several years ago. That time is not coming back. Stop eating and drinking to quell the pain. A full stomach won’t fill a void of dissatisfaction. Stop using ephemeral things—like television shows, video games, and music—to deal with your problems. It’s all just frequencies and pixels, anyway.
Look, if you distract yourself, you are putting a bandage over a bullet wound. You might feel numb to the pain right now, but eventually, the blood is going to seep through, reminding you of everything you haven’t been able to accomplish.
If you want to enrich your life, you need to understand that sometimes you are your own worst enemy. You are limiting yourself by distracting yourself. You are smothering your ambitions under an endless wave of nugacity.
Coddling the minutia lobotomizes you. Wake up.
Be Aware Of How You Spend Your Time
If you value yourself, and I mean truly, unapologetically value yourself, you will start to see the shackles you put yourself in. Then, you will seek to eliminate the restraints.
A lot of people talk about going soul-searching or rediscovering themselves by disconnecting from Facebook, but they forget that they are still connected. They are still taking selfies or listening to music on the bus to block out other people. They distract themselves with trifling matters and reduce their awareness of their lives to external objects and notions.
Enriching life comes down to one simple action: Being bare. I’m not talking about public nakedness. I’m talking about being painstakingly centered and aware of the moment. When you are distracted, you aren’t aware of what you could be doing. You are simply going through the motions, maybe even denying yourself opportunities to prioritize your values.
The difference between being aware and being distracted is the subtle dissimilarity between browsing Reddit forums and studying methods to move forward with your dreams. In one instance, you are mindlessly viewing the world. The other has you proactive investing your time wisely.
If you value yourself, you are going to use every minute of every day wisely. Rather than seeking justification for your dithering, you’re going to leap wholeheartedly into every opportunities.
Figure Out Your B.S.
It’s all mind over matter. Visualization, for example, has been researched thoroughly and plays a huge role in getting people off the couch and moving. Even Olympic athletes credit visualization to their success.
Or, as Eminem put it so nicely, “You can do anything you set your mind to, man.”
Aside from freeing yourself from distractions and intending to prioritize your values, you also need to realize the ways you talk yourself out of doing just that. Visualizing success helps you sniff out the bullshit that you tell yourself about yourself.
“I’m not going to look good in that outfit, so I’m not going to go.”
“I’m too lazy to run a 5K, so I’m not going to train.”
“I’m not smart enough to complete the program, so I’ll do something else."
“I don’t have enough confidence, so I’m not going to tell them how I feel.” (I’m so guilty of this one.)
Instead of muddying the waters with negative self-talk, you should/could focus on a more fortune outcome. Besides, what have you got to lose? Giving into negative thought patterns is worse than taking a chance. When you do the former, you sign up for failure. The latter has at least two pathways. If you value yourself, you will know that having at least two doorways is better than a single dead end. Having two choices is better than miring yourself.
Living life to the fullest is the goal of many, but so rarely do people achieve it. An enriched life is one of endless growth and discovery, of personal investments, and self-worth. Once you have ascertained what drives you, you will be able to move forward. Once you identify what holds you back, you can bolster your personal strengths. Value yourself for all that you can do, all that you can and will overcome, and there will be no holding you back. Ever.
(The post was originally published on my blog: https://www.thetravelingvalkyrie.com/enriching-your-life-living-life-to-the-fullest)