Monday, May 7, 2018

Living Your Best Life

The hashtag #liveyourbestlife has been used on Instagram nearly 600,000 times and the hashtag #livethelifeyoulove has been used more than 870,000.  How do I know this?  Because I use these two hashtags frequently when I post.  I decided to become a life coach several years ago and recently made that dream a reality.  I decided to become a life coach because I have always been drawn to the human emotional and spiritual experience.  Since I was a little girl, I have been very empathetic toward others who are in pain.  I remember attending my sister's cheerleading competition when I was in 3rd grade.  At the end of the competition when the winners were announced I was, of course, happy for the winning team, but my attention was engrossed by the disappointment and sadness of the team that came in 2nd place.  This was the New Jersey State Championship and, undoubtedly, this team had worked hard in hopes of being crowned the victors.  As the members of the team wept and hugged each other, I stood nearby feeling every single emotion that these 7th and 8th grade girls were experiencing.  When I went to college, I chose to get my degrees in Psychology and Communication.  Unraveling and understanding how human beings processed and communicated emotions was fascinating to me mainly because I believed that understanding these things would help me to understand how people can live a life of happiness.  However, college courses are tedious and I soon came to realize that living life was far more enriching and fulfilling than studying it.    Its true that life is a classroom and that our experiences teach us more than any college course or textbook could ever teach us. 

My desire to become a life coach was ignited by my own life experiences combined with my empathetic tendencies.  When life got turned on its heels for me a couple of years through a series of unexpected life events, losses, disappointments, and painful experiences, I turned inward.  I needed to understand what had happened, why they had happened, why I had made some of the decisions I had made, why others had, and what these experiences were meant to teach me.  And while I do not claim to be an expert at life, I believe that I have a responsibility to share what I have learned with others and to empower them to embrace life fully even when life is hard and scary and unpredictable and confusing - which is pretty much every day!  The hashtags #liveyourbestlife and #livethelifeyoulove may seem cliché to some.  They may seem like an overly optimistic way to live.  They may even seem like a mask to hide behind in order to not reveal the challenges that we face in life.  So I decided to explain what living your best life and living the life you love have come to mean to me:

  • They are NOT mastering life or being perfect.  No
  • one is perfect and no one has life figured out.  Living your best life means acknowledging and accepting that being human means being imperfect.  It means instead of striving for perfection we strive for real. We strive for being genuine and authentic.
  • They are NOT being strong and stoic all the time.  Living your best life means that you give yourself permission to be vulnerable.  To admit that life is hard.  To actually give yourself permission to be imperfect.  To be honest when things are scary and confusing and uncertain.
  • They are NOT pleasing everyone or living up to other people's expectations or fitting into society's ideas of "normal".  Living your best life means having the courage to look within your heart, honor your feelings, and explore life beyond the surface of what is expected, easy, popular, or assumed to be right by others.
  • They are NOT shrinking for other people's comfort.  Living your best life means acknowledging your unique gifts and letting them shine for the world to see.  As Marianne Williamson said in her book A Return to Love, "Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do."
  • They are NOT playing it safe in order to not disturb the status quo.  Living your best life means to step beyond your comfort zone to experience everything that this world has to offer us and to open our hearts in order to give and receive love. 
  • They are NOT "keeping up with the Joneses"  or living in comparison.  Living your best life means honoring everyone's path.  It means seeing everyone through the eyes of compassion instead of judgment.  It means not engaging in conversations that seek to belittle another or judge their path.  It means offering empathy and to understand that everyone in life wants the same things - to be loved, to be happy and to be safe.
  • They are NOT denying your feelings.  Living your best life means speaking your truth and honoring what is inside your heart.  You will never live the fullest expression of who you are if you do not express the love that dwells within you.  You will never respect yourself if you are not honest with others about how they hurt you.
  • They are NOT acting "grown up" or "acting your age."  Living your best life means grabbing every opportunity for fun, laughter, adventure and curiosity by the reins and allowing yourself to enjoy every minute of those experiences.
  • They are NOT holding grudges or spending your entire life apologizing for past mistakes.  Living your best life means forgiving others and forgiving yourself.
  • They are NOT about living life by a checklist or being in control all the time.  Living your best life means accepting that life is unpredictable and that things change.  It means not resisting change and learning to have faith and patience.
There is so much more that I could write about what living your best life means.  But this list covers the lessons that I have learned over the past several years pretty thoroughly.  The final lesson that I will share with you is that living your best life does not mean one day arriving at your best life.  It means waking up each day with the intention to be as loving, compassionate, understanding, adventurous and filled with grace as possible.  If you do those things, the Universe will handle the rest.


Living Your Best Life

The hashtag #liveyourbestlife has been used on Instagram nearly 600,000 times and the hashtag #livethelifeyoulove has been used more than 87...