Life can be tough to figure out, and at times we seek the aid of self-help materials to guide us towards a more peaceful and healthy existence. But with the massive popularity of the self-care movement, one might end up confused due to the numerous articles and books written on the topic.
Therefore I simplified things for myself by choosing these 5 simple words and staying true to them.
This is my number one piece of advice to achieving serenity.
You’ve probably encountered people who don’t repay you the courtesies you offer them. Or friends who don’t seem to want to keep up the work of maintaining a friendship. Or relatives who don’t respect you but assume automatic respect from you simply because you’re related. Or even romantic partners who are unwilling to compromise – even just a little – for the sake of your relationship. I bet you’ve even met people who never say ‘Hi’ to you, or wish you well on your birthday, or invite you to social events but react quite bitterly if you don’t acknowledge them.
I know “Do things without expecting anything in return” is a popular ideology, but it isn’t something that’ll lead people to treat you how you deserve to be treated or how you want to be treated. Sure, it’s nice to do random acts of kindness, especially for a co-worker or someone homeless or a stranger. But if there’s someone in your circle who repeatedly takes you for granted or behaves as though your presence or absence in their life weigh the same – then find someone better.
Your energy is better spent towards those who are actually interested in cultivating a mutually beneficial connection with you. This can also help prevent negative thoughts like “I’m not enough” from surfacing.
Don’t keep anyone in your life who isn’t willing to reciprocate the love, energy, and effort that you give them.
With that said, you should also repay the generosity and goodwill you receive from people, especially those who expected nothing in return for their humane treatment of you. Show them your appreciation and match their deed to the best of your capabilities.
Often when we commit a mistake or find ourselves in a dire situation, we are tempted to give up due to a sense of hopelessness and fear of failure.
What we have to remember is we always have the option to start over. And I’m not just talking about economically related things such as starting over a career or education. You always have the opportunity to learn, evolve, forgive, and change for the better.
It’s true what people say – acceptance is key to a happier life.
Accept who you are. Accept your body. Accept your limitations. Accept your possibilities. The sooner you stop trying to change yourself in order to adhere to society’s and other people’s standards, the sooner you’ll be able to begin getting to know your actual self.
With acceptance comes the ability to relinquish control. So, in a way, you should also accept how people see you.
You may feel this immense pressure to be validated and liked by others, and, often, no matter what you do, people will stick to their perception of you. And sometimes that perception will be unwaveringly negative that we will feel the need to prove them wrong.
Exonerate yourself from that pressure. Don’t make what others think of you your business.
Dying is perhaps life’s greatest anxiety. So we never talk about it, and we do our best to live a socially acceptable and successful life, pretending as if the inevitable will never happen.
However, redefining your view of death may improve your way of living. Once you realize we’re dying anyway no matter what, this can perhaps liberate you from some silly social norms.
Wear what you want, experiment with make-up, post selfies online – whatever! Some people will say that it’s unbecoming for a lady to swear, or that your favorite purple lipstick looks horrible on you, or it’s embarrassing that you tweet self-deprecating jokes. Who cares? You’re not harming anyone, and future generations won’t remember nor care about what us average Joes did or didn’t do during our lifetime.
Live your life the way you want to.
No one is unbroken. We each have our own traumas that we need to work on and move past from. Unfortunately, healing isn’t a magic word that automatically fixes us.
You will have your bad days, and maybe those bad days will lead you to believe that you’re failing at healing. But as they say – healing isn’t linear. It is a commitment to and a relationship with yourself, and regression is a part of this.
Don’t punish yourself for tripping up now and then. Permit yourself a bit of time to rest and to replenish your strength. Then, continue to work hard on enhancing yourself and overcoming your conflicts.
Never believe that you are not worth the fight and the struggle.