Going on the premise that perhaps “everything is already written” through a faith based perspective, there is really no reason to hit our heads against the wall while trying to figure out this puzzle called life. Here’s why we can start to relax and ease into daily living rather than making a mess out of it through manipulation.
1. Who Knows? No one.
Chissà translated from Italian to English means “who knows?” It is used quite frequently during conversation. It’s amazing how one word can be so obvious yet many times misunderstood. We can guess, speculate, and try our best to play detective, but it tends to be exhausting and misleading. By admitting that we really don’t know what we’re doing, who we are, and where we’re going, that’s the first step to accepting that it’s OK to not have the answers.
2. Tell me now, tell me later, tell me never.
Time frames, pressure, ultimatums, and heightened expectations don’t feel good to both the person receiving and giving them. We have been on both flips of the coin to realize this, yet so often we find ourselves being taken down this same road again and again; just in various incarnations. Whether we must give a response or listen to one, it will come to pass in the manner it’s meant to be. Although it may not be in the way we expect or want—for better or for worse, at least it will be more authentic if not forced.
3. What do you want to be when you grow up?
From an early age we are posed this question at school, by family members, friends, and in society. We are conditioned to believe we must become “something or someone” based upon a professional or personal title. If we do achieve the desired label or in fact it never actually arrives, it’s of equal value. We continuously grow, learn, and evolve until we are no longer. Therefore our “title” is never fixed and actually indefinable.
4. Change is unavoidable.
Each day turns into a collection of months and a volume of years. From big to small shifts in our respective lives, we are forever moving forward from the time the sun rises until it sets only to rise again. When we embrace this simple yet meaningful concept, we are more prepared and less frightened to confront daily living; through the ups and downs that may come with it.
5. Perfection doesn’t exist but imperfection does.
The more we pick, poke, and prod at the flaws of others, the more insecure we are. If we choose to find fault in what someone says, does, or looks like then we certainly find fault in ourselves—perhaps very harshly. Once we take a step back and accept how others are made and it’s not our place to judge them, in turn we can learn to become gentler on ourselves, too. We can embrace the fact that as humans, we’re all perfectly imperfect.
6. Self-improvement is a work in progress.
It’s sincerely crucial for one’s personal growth to look for ways to improve. But it’s also imperative to find balance of being open to the lessons that life presents through achievements and disappointments, inner reflection of positive traits and areas of weakness, and through experiences. That being said, we can already accept that we’re bound to make many errors along the way, but we can always find solutions, too. My grandfather, Paul, strived to better himself into becoming a better man on a personal and professional level. Although he appeared to be rigid on the surface, he also prided himself on being flexible—identifying his shortcomings (only to transform them into strengths) up until he passed away only one week shy of his 90th birthday.
7. Controlling others is fruitless, but controlling ourselves is fruitful.
If we think for a moment we can control someone else, we actually lose a sense of our own integrity and we’ll be met with various degrees of resentment and resistance. By loving through condition, placing expectations, and creating a set of rules and boundaries someone must follow based upon “personal standards”, we in turn are actively breaking another individual’s life path and spirit. By inwardly putting this energy into our own realm of thinking and being, we can learn how to be mindful. This means being less reactive and more responsive, less impulsive and more reflective, less fearful and more courageous. What we can discover is inner freedom and valuing the freedom of others.
8. A garden grows with nurture and natural timing.
My father recently told me about his new basil patch in the backyard. After pulling out the weeds, planting seeds, and caring for his crop, he didn’t see much initial improvement. But after getting caught up with work, a few days had passed before he had a chance to monitor the plants. Low and behold, he saw a change—the basil was growing like crazy. For all the nurture give on the front end, sometimes we need to take a step back and let nature take its course. In turn the results are that much more plentiful than we could have imagined.
9. What will be will be.
It doesn’t matter if you send or don’t send that message, ask someone out or not, or call your mom on Monday rather than Tuesday. The details are only blips on the radar. By living life’s process with pure intentions and actions, they will have a greater impact within the grand scheme of things. Self-doubt and second-guessing only add turmoil while self-confidence and healthy risk taking create a sense of purpose. In the end, everything matters yet nothing matters—it’s all relative.
10. Say “I love you” when you mean it—and never fear the response that follows.
Anytime we feel vulnerable in the presence of another whether it is in a plutonic or romantic context, we may take this as a sign of weakness. Our walls become thicker and our guard comes up even stronger at the mere thought of it. But if we give ourselves permission to openly speak our hearts and minds (within healthy reason), we start living lives that are more authentic, pleasurable, and simple. Instead of fearing what others will think or being afraid of rejection, we learn not to take anything personally. This allows us to reveal the best possible versions of ourselves and gives us a greater sense of empathy when others decide to open up to us, too.