How should you live your life?
Isn’t that what we all want to know?
We might value our freedom to do what we want and be what we want, but we still want someone to show us the way.
As much as we may deny it, we want some rules that we can follow. Some guidelines that tell us what we should do and who we should be.
Luckily for you, some of the most important rules to live by can be found below.
If you follow them, you will live a happier and more peaceful life.
If you follow them, you will enjoy better mental health and well-being.
If you follow them, you will one day be able to look back at a life well lived and smile.
Today is your opportunity to steer your journey along a new and more harmonious path.
The only question that remains is: will you take it?
1. Live In Accordance With Your Values
Somewhere within all of us there exists a set of guiding beliefs. They may be quite close to the surface, or they might be hidden in the depths of your being.
Wherever they are, it is vital that you get in touch with these core values and that you live in accordance with them.
Knowing what they are is not enough. Just as talk is cheap, so are thoughts.
Your actions are what matter.
You have to express your values and beliefs through your actions.
If something is important to you, show it in the way that you choose to live your life.
Don’t simply harbor these views and feelings inside of you. They are of no use there.
If you want to live a life of few regrets, you have to put your values front and center in all that you do.
A life lived in harmony with your values is one that you can feel content with.
So stand by them when they are challenged. Don’t allow yourself to be persuaded to act against your values.
If others are disappointed by this or make fun of you for sticking to your principles, that’s their issue, not yours.
2. Focus On What Really Matters To You
Take a long hard look at your life and ask what really gives it meaning.
What brings out the best in you? What leaves you with a feeling of genuine warmth and satisfaction?
What do you most enjoy spending your time doing?
It’s important to focus only on those things that lead to consistently positive feelings.
There are many things that bring short term fulfillment, but long term frustration.
Take wealth or fame or success, for instance – they may provide temporary relief from an underlying feeling of disappointment in life, but they cannot give you the peace and happiness you crave most of all.
Instead, look at the people, the experiences, the moments. All the things in this world that you think about most fondly.
Put your energy into the relationships you value, the activities you take pleasure in, the causes that matter most to you.
Be proactive. Be the friend who arranges catch-ups, the person who pours passion into their hobbies, the one who is dedicated to those things that touch their soul.
For many of us, life will be long in terms of years, but that doesn’t mean it will feel that way.
In fact, it can seem ever so short when all we do is focus on tomorrow.
Too often do we anchor our thoughts on future events and sacrifice the very moment in which we are living.
We look forward to the weekend, to Christmas, to a vacation, to some big event that we impart so much importance on.
Little do we realize that, by doing so, we hasten the passing of time.
We exclaim in amazement come the end of every year at how the past 12 months have flown by.
That is precisely why you are better off taking each day as it comes and focusing on what you have to do that day.
Tomorrow will wait. It’s not going anywhere. So stop trying to live for tomorrow, and ground yourself in the work of today.
4. Embrace Change
The only constant in life is change.
Nothing stays the same forever, and it is better to accept this fact than to fight against it.
Fighting change can only put it off temporarily, and sometimes even that is not possible.
All it does is to make you resentful of this new development and reluctant to see any potential positives that might come from it.
This doesn’t mean that you have to go out looking for change, but it does mean you have to expect change at any moment.
It also means being willing to identify and accept situations in which change is probably for the best (e.g. a breakup).
Being comfortable with change allows you to ride the inevitable bumps in the road whilst maintaining as much inner peace as possible.
You won’t enjoy every change, but you can lessen any negative impacts by embracing it for what it is: an essential part of life.
Without change, life would become stagnant and our enjoyment of it would be reduced.
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5. Don’t Try To Live Others’ Lives For Them
You have your life; other people have theirs.
It’s important that you don’t confuse the two.
Far too many people spend more time than they should worrying about what other people are doing.
They provide advice and guidance where none was asked for.
They step in and act for someone else because they think they know what’s best for that person.
They may even put pressure on someone to follow a path that they would like them to follow, even if it is against that person’s own wishes.
This sort of behavior is especially common in parent-child relationships, but it can also occur amongst friends, siblings, co-workers, and even acquaintances.
If the above sounds at all like you, it is worth doing your best to curb these sorts of behavior, even if you believe you have someone’s best interests at heart.
Allow other people to live their own lives.
Yes, they may make mistakes that you could have helped them avoid, but you know what, they will learn better from that mistake than from you telling them so.
Trust that, by giving people the freedom to forge their own path in life, they will rise to the challenge. They may even surprise you by how capable they are.
6. Accept People’s Differences
Just as people have their own lives, they have their own beliefs, opinions, and ways of doing things too.
Sometimes we allow these differences to rub us up the wrong way, and this disrupts our peace of mind.
But when you’re old and looking back on your life, do you want to see conflict, annoyance, and drama?
No, of course you don’t.
Which is why you have to accept – fully and truly – that people will think different things to you, behave in different ways to you, and choose different life paths to you.
Sure, you can express your own views and do so with passion, but don’t feel the need to convert others to your way of thinking.
Similarly, you may do things in a particular way, and you can suggest these ways to other people, but if they choose not to listen to you, you ought not to let that concern you.
The fact that we are all different is what makes the great tapestry of life so rich and enjoyable.
Disarm your defenses, stand down your offences, and be willing to accept our differences, whilst also celebrating what brings us all together as a society.
7. See The Good In People
Yes, we are all different, but we also share something in common: we are fundamentally good.
It’s easy to forget that when someone really aggravates or upsets you.
When you feel like a wound has been inflicted upon you by another, you instantly start to look at them in a negative light.
What’s more, the hurt caused by one person can make you look less favorably on others who have done nothing to upset you.
If you can, instead, go through life trying your hardest to see the good in people and let that guide your feelings toward them, you’ll find your relationships and interactions with others are more harmonious.
You’ll find forgiveness that bit easier, which is good because grudges do nothing but weigh you down mentally and emotionally.
You’ll be more open to strangers, more kind and courteous, more willing to trust.
That doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to the things people do that cause hurt to you or others. It does mean trying to empathize with them to understand why they acted in the way that they did.
If you can accept people as flawed creatures who are inherently good, you will spend less time being negatively impacted by them and their actions.
8. Be An Encourager
The world has enough critics already – that’s a fact.
So, instead, make it your personal mission to lift people up and encourage them in their endeavors.
Whenever the opportunity presents itself, provide the positive voice that reminds someone of just how capable they are.
Being the encourager amongst your family or a group of friends actually lifts everyone up. The more they see and hear you be positive toward one member, the more likely they are to follow your example.
You don’t have to be fake about it. You don’t have to go around telling everyone how wonderful they are.
You can just choose to remain silent when a critical thought comes into your mind, and choose to speak up when you know someone could use a comforting, positive word.
As an added benefit, the way you treat others will also change the way you treat yourself. That means less self-critical thoughts and more empowered ones instead.
9. Live In Harmony
You may have noticed that the words harmony and harmonious have appeared multiple times already in this article.
That’s because harmony is the key theme running throughout all eight of the previous points.
When you reach a certain age and start to think back over the life you have led, what would you prefer to see…?
A life of conflict, ill-feeling, shattered relationships, and unhappiness?
Or a life of peace, kindness, love, and caring relationships?
Harmony is being able to live and work alongside people you may fundamentally disagree with, and treating them with the respect they deserve.
Harmony is being able to adapt to change as and when it happens.
Harmony is knowing what you believe in and acting in a manner than reflects those beliefs and values.
If you want to smile every time you reflect on your life, follow these nine fundamental rules.
They will improve your relationships, your state of mind, and your ability to weather the ups and downs of life.
Simple though they may be, they can have a powerful influence on your life from this moment onwards.
Take this opportunity to put yourself on a brighter path, one that you won’t regret taking when your time on this Earth is up.