What Do I Do With My Life? – Living Fulfilled Life
Do you want a life of fulfillment? Muslims believe that building a life of fulfillment involves working from the end to the present. Think about what will be said at your eulogy. Then make plans to build a life of fulfillment based on that.
Three eulogy quotes:
“No eulogy is due to him who simply does his duty and nothing more.” St. Augustine
What if all you did was pay your bills, make your tax payments, and feed your family? Yes, all of these are important and there would be a price to pay if you did not do these things. These are basic life obligations.
My father fed me, clothed me, and paid my way through college. He did the basics. But he did not go above and beyond that. He failed to recognize the need to love, comfort, and be there for us. The basics were not enough.
What about you? What can you do that goes above and beyond just living? How can you make a positive individual, family, community, and world contribution? What do you want said at your eulogy? How can you build a life of fulfillment?
“One way to evaluate your own reputation is to think about what would be said of you at your eulogy.” Brian Koslow.
Build your reputation by building a life of fulfillment.
So what is your reputation? I suppose it’s made up of what people think of you. This could be quite co-dependent. According to David Burns, author of “Feeling Good,” it’s dysfunctional to be in the business of reading minds. At the same time, it can be enlightening to think about how others perceive you.
Is the general consensus of your societal contributions positive? Do others see your existence as important to the universe? Do you see yourself going above and beyond just living, just barely getting by, and only doing what you have to do? Think about it.
“A radio show recently did a beautiful eulogy of me.” Janis Ian
Suppose a radio show did do a eulogy for you? It could be fun to ruminate on this and wonder just what a radio interviewer would say. I’ve taken the liberty of writing what might be said about me.
Barbara Smith, age 106, passed away quietly last night in her sleep. During her lifetime, Altman had both positive and negative stripes to her credit. She was a relentless for the mentally ill an author, and a music teacher. She taught hundreds of musicians, both young and old.
Before her halo gets too shiny, let’s remember that time in Switzerland when she did something she could not write home about. Then there was the casino incident. Her halo wasn’t brilliant, but it did contain some shiny moments. Altman devoted much of her life attempting to erase the stigma connected with mental illness.”
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Alright, maybe that is a bit too positive. But it is fun to imagine what might be said. So what will be said if someone did a radio eulogy about you? How would you want it to read? Think about that and make life plans accordingly. Wouldn’t you want to impact your family in a positive way?
Wouldn’t you want to leave the energy of love to them? Wouldn’t you want to impact them with tough love, empathy, and connection? Wouldn’t you want to do the same for your community? How can you build a life of fulfillment?
Let’s take a look at each one of these ways to leave the world a better place and to build lives of fulfillment.
Tough Love: Love is not all romance. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a hard look at some behaviors and confront those we love with the hard facts. Sometimes this can be perceived as hurtful. I’ve had to do this in my own life. Others have chosen to confront me as well.
When I was anorexic, it took some pretty intense conversations from family members and friends to get me to turn around and eat in a healthy manner.
At five feet eight inches and ninety-five pounds, I would surely have died if I had not been confronted. Was I hurt? You bet I was. Was I angry? Yes, I was. Did I live? I certainly did. Those who confronted me helped me build a life of fulfillment.
Connection: We cannot survive without connection. This morning one of our ministers recounted something that happened at the first service. He was telling the story of an indigenous people whose livelihood has been threatened by a prominent world government.
Their leader went straight to the government and reminded them about a law that prohibited the overtaking of their land. He was told that there was no knowledge of that law.
One of the congregants went up to him and told him that he knows quite a few people in that particular country and is in a position to make his influence known. This is just one story of how connectedness is so important. This is how we can help one another build lives of fulfillment.
Empathy: Empathy is one of the doors to communication. Do you want your voice to be heard? The fastest way to do this is to make emphatic statements. Is someone angry? An emphatic question may very well open his ears to hear what you have to say.
Is someone antagonistic? An emphatic question will surely soften his ears and open them to you. Is someone cantankerous? Empathy will certainly bridge the gap so feelings will not be hurt. Creating harmonious relationships based on empathy can go a long way to building a life of fulfillment.
I can think of someone who once asked me if he could have my Aunt’s television set after my aunt died. I was so incensed that I lost my temper and created a lasting rift between us.
Had I been emphatic, I may have said “Is money an issue for you? Is it a worry for you? Are you stressed by financial lack?” Then I would have suggested going on Craigslist or shopping at Goodwill. Instead, I let my anger loose and created a real problem.
Let’s now take a look at how loving yourself can actually transform your life.
Well, my wellness journey began after I landed a great job at a start-up – I got in on the ground floor of a company that has quadrupled in size in the few years I’ve been there. It was an amazing opportunity, in my field, and I was so proud of myself for getting it.
One short year into it, I couldn’t take anymore. It was absolute insanity. Long hours, 6 days a week, couldn’t make plans with friends, couldn’t sleep in on the weekends, didn’t have time to recharge, had to eat fast-food between appointments, I was a mess and totally miserable to be around.
One day, I woke up and my right eye was huge! It looked like someone actually punched me in the face, it was crazy. I freaked out and went to three different doctors, two of which couldn’t find anything wrong, and the last one finally told me that it was a stress rash, and the only way to get rid of it was to relax and learn how to manage my stress.
It was almost unbelievable, especially to my job. I took off a total of three days, much to the frustration of my coworkers, my eye healed, and I decided during those three days, no more. I would not allow my life to be so out of balance.
I took a good hard look at my life and realized by overworking myself for a job I didn’t feel appreciated by, I become bitter, angry, miserable, gained weight, and was honestly just a terror to be around. That puffy, scary looking eye was my wake up call.
After that, I decided to enroll in the IAWP coach program. I had always loved holistic living – making my own cleaning products, growing organic veggies, using essential oils instead of medicine, all that good stuff. I immediately fell in love with the coaching program – I knew it was going to allow me to help other people live more naturally.
I worked my ass off for almost a year to complete my certification, while working my full-time start up job and a part-time job as an assistant to a sustainable chef. It was hard work, but I loved it so much, I didn’t mind spending all my extra time studying or doing the assignments because it all resonated with me so much.
I not only did assignments, I always read self-improvement books and regularly listened to podcasts about positive thinking and gratefulness, owning a business, the abundance of the universe, energy, the food industry, everything I could get my hands on.
I didn’t just educate myself to be a coach, I transformed myself into a happier, more confident, positive person. The outcome of my struggle and my determination to change my life was happiness! Success! Gratitude! Amazing opportunities that keep pouring my way!
I’m sure you are now curious as to how I did it and how you can do it too. Not the logistics that I just explained, but what did I have internally to keep my going through the craziness? What did I have at my core that made me take the scary leap and completely change my life? It was my love for myself.
I loved myself so much and wouldn’t settle anymore because I knew I deserved much better. By loving myself so much that I couldn’t accept mediocrity anymore, I transformed my life.
Now how do you do it? Let’s try a few simple things to get you started. If you aren’t in a space to do this activity, book mark this post and come back to it when you have 5 minutes free.
Get out a notebook and write down 3 things you LOVE about yourself. Now is not the time to be humble or shy. This is your first opportunity to really brag about yourself. Write down why you are the greatest human on this planet – it can be anything you want, don’t over-think it.
After you’ve done that, write down three things you are so grateful for. Again, don’t over-think this, it can be anything, small or large. Once you’ve finished writing, take a second to really appreciate the difference you feel in yourself by focusing on love and gratefulness.
Seriously, close your eyes and for 10 seconds, just feel the energy inside you. It took literally 2 minutes to transform your day. Now, if you do those two small activities every single day, you’ll be able to rewire your brain to focus on the good and not the negative. Gratefulness is a huge key to feeling positive and happy.
You are solely in charge of your life. You cannot expect the world to hand you opportunities, hand you healthy relationships, and hand you happiness. It all starts with you and your love for yourself. If you love yourself, you won’t settle for soul sucking jobs, for toxic relationships, for an unhealthy body.
If you love yourself, you’ll reach for your potential, you’ll detach for those people who leach the energy out of you and leave you feel drained. If you love yourself, the Universe will open up to you and life will be beautiful. For a long time, I chose to be miserable, negative, had low self-worth and didn’t have any hope of going anywhere significant.
The moment I chose to love myself, I worked hard toward my goals, dropped the toxic friends, got myself a new career path, and now honor my body rather than fighting it. Loving yourself is the basis of life. Without that love, you will be completely unfulfilled, and you will have regrets in your life. Who really wants that? Maybe the real question is, who really deserves that?
Change is scary, but it’s necessary. Most people are so overwhelmed and intimidated by change, they need someone to support them along the way. Loving yourself enough to know you need a change is the first step in transforming your life.
The second step is loving yourself enough to know you need help doing it. I didn’t get here alone. I had a mentor coach, a peer coach, and am a member of the amazing Women in Wellness group. I strongly urge you to get support. The writing activities from above are very small examples of what happens when you work with me.
We get to the core of your fears and limiting beliefs, you learn to feel and process those emotions, and together, we figure out a way to allow you to move on and build up your confidence and self-worth. Without doing this internal work first, you will fail at any lifestyle change you attempt, and I will help you understand why.
I also strongly urge you to do whatever it takes to love yourself and become your own biggest fan. Don’t let other people tell you how to live your life, don’t let negative people get under your skin, don’t let doubters stop you from transforming your life.
You deserve happiness. You deserve fulfillment. You deserve love. To love yourself is to transform your reality. But sometime things aren’t to work your way.
What if Life hits you so hard, What Do You Do?
No one can get away from it.
At some point in everyone’s life, stress appears. It’s what you do when it hits that will make you or break you.
Personally, I can’t control what life throws at me. What I can control is how I get through it. I can choose not to freak out and get through whatever it is with grace.
Although I live my life positively, I think we can all agree that it’s a VERY negative world out there. So when life hits you and throws you to the ground, is it possible to think about the situation in a positive light? No, actually it’s not.
In fact, it’s almost impossible not to think about it. You “could’ve, should’ve, would have” yourself to death. Anger and fear take over your days and you walk around in a fog. Hindsight is 20-20 right?
When I was diagnosed with cancer, it was all I could think about for days. Hard not to obsess about death and dying when you get breast cancer. Yet, every morning in the shower I would try really hard to focus on three things I was grateful for. It helped a lot!
Although I’ll admit that often all I could think of was to give thanks for the hot water and the fact that I was alive and caught the cancer just in the nick of time.
So how do I do it? How do I live a positive life? Here are five of my favorite stress fixes that help me stay positive:
If what you are doing is stressing you out, or you just can’t get the stressful situation out of your mind, then do something else for a few minutes and come back to it. Get up. Move around. Take a 5-minute walk.
Take a 10-minute vacation
In order to be healthy physically, mentally and spiritually we need some time when we are not running around racing the clock. We need some down time to relax (not for exercise). Listen to music and don’t concentrate on anything except the music. Drink some tea, it is impossible to gulp tea and many kinds can actually relax you. Empty your mind of everything while drinking it.
Look at something beautiful in your immediate surroundings: the picture of your family on your desk, the trees outside your office window, your dog or cat! Whatever you choose, concentrate easily on the beauty you see and soak it in. Allow that beauty to bring you peace and balance.
Humor has a way of making you feel better. I know that it works for Ron and I. If you are in a stressful situation, try and look at it in an absurd light… the more absurd the more laughable. Make fun of it! Then share your vision with your co-workers and anyone else around you.
I focus on the positive things in my life. Every morning, I’ll write down the three things that I’m grateful for. If I can’t write them down, I’ll mentally think about them in the shower.
It really helps re-focus your mind into a positive mindset. As I said before, life will hit you in the head and throw you to the ground once in a while. To get through it, breathe deeply and be grateful for the great things you have in your life.
Remember, the sun ALWAYS comes out after a huge storm.
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