As I was doing a little reading this morning, I ran across an article by a friend, and wanted to share its main points with you, along with some contextual and practical applications to help you incorporate its wisdom into your day-to-day life. Her name is Brene Brown, and she is known for her life changing work related to helping people live happier and more fulfilling lives. As a researcher and story teller, she interviewed thousands of people, and discovered common characteristics of those living fulfilled and happy lives. She calls them the “10 Guideposts of Wholehearted Living.” To prepare yourself for them, you may want to watch her insightful, entertaining, and highly popular Ted talk, “The Power of Vulnerability”. WARNING: This video could incite laughter, hope, and inspiration!!!
While we consider her findings, it is important to realize that those she interviewed were not born with these abilities. They learned them. This means that we can learn them too.
1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
Many of us still choose to think, feel, speak, and act based on how we think others will respond to the choices we make; instead of just being who we are. We allow the stress created by such ego issues to make our decisions for us. The more we choose to be our authentic selves, or live according to our true nature (spirit), the healthier and happier we will be. Meditation, journaling, higher consciousness counseling, and yoga may help us gain the awareness, acceptance, and courage to face and overcome this challenge.
2. Cultivating Self Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
Perfectionism is often a defense against feeling inadequate, or inferior. Self awareness self acceptance, and greater self control will help us overcome this issue, and the defenses (like perfectionism) that support it.
3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
When we get stuck on worries, concerns, or losses; we often feel anxious, paralyzed with fear, or other variations on a theme of powerlessness. Rather than facing and overcoming these concerns, we may turn to games on our phone, TV, excessive alcohol use, or other things to distract or numb us from the truth that we are trying to avoid. Mindfulness meditation, journaling, establishing an accountability partner, working out, and higher consciousness counseling can help us become more resilient, confident, and learn to let things go (including consciously cutting cords).
4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
Focusing on the things we are thankful for, and the natural joy of our spirit, will raise the vibration of our consciousness, improve our health and happiness, and make others feel better too. Take the time to acknowledge and thank those you interact with each day (especially your partner, kids, friends, and coworkers).
5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
This point, for many, relates to unresolved issues of trust and control. As we develop and practice using our intuition, we will find that it is perhaps the most trustworthy source of information. When we live in truth and responsibility, hold ourselves accountable, become more discerning of others, learn to trust in our own judgement, and gain greater self control; we will be better able to let go of our need for “certainty,” which is a form of needing control. When we gain trust in ourselves, and greater self control; then we will be better able to trust others and let go of our perceived need for control.
6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison
Creative expression can help us cope when we are struggling, and then connect more fully with the truth of our spirit. So dust off that old guitar, pull out those painting supplies, or slip into those dancing shoes to either deal more effectively with stress, or rise a little higher in your happiness. You might also consider taking a photography, cooking, painting, or karate class.
7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self Worth
When well rested, the world literally looks different to us. When we’re fatigued, our brain does not allow us to fully relax into the broader perspective available to us when we are replenished. Exhaustion proves nothing except that we are not taking care of ourselves. It is not a measure of success. And productivity has no bearing on our worth. Our value comes from who we are, not what we do. Remember, we are worthy as we are.
8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
Anxiety, for many, has become a way of life. Some I work with cannot remember a day in their lives when they did not experience it. Meditation, relaxation training, exercise, and many of the other suggestions offered in the previous link will help remedy this rascally, usually unwelcomed visitor.
9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self Doubt and “Supposed To”
Make your work something you truly enjoy doing. Remember, “Work is love made visible.” If you haven’t yet been able to make this happen, and need to do something you don’t really like in order to make ends meet; then volunteer for something you love, or do it as a hobby.
10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and Always In Control
This one, for many, relates to their image and need for control, which again points to inadequacy and control issues. When we challenge ourselves to let loose a little, take some risks with those we know and trust, and laugh heartily, sing joyfully, and dance merrily; we will feel happier and more fulfilled.
Photo Credit: Nickolai Kashirin