Reflecting on the major changes that teachers have helped me make in my life, this morning, I consolidated some of their suggestions into 7 key points:
1. Don’t just make peace with your past. Make purpose from your past. Don’t just accept what has happened. Seize the opportunities that it has given you. Don’t just let it go. Let it grow. Every day in your past has been specifically culminating toward your ability to make the current decisions, even if you don’t yet know it or understand it.
2. What others think of you is none of your business. How others perceive you reflects their internal state, not your own. The size of your reputation is an illusion. Only the integrity of your character is real. Stay true to your values. When others attempt to influence you with their opinion, weigh all choices against your moral compass.
3. Time will heal almost all wounds. Give time, some time. Pain will subside. Scars make us who we are. They are the story of our lives written on our body. Be proud of your wrinkles and scars. They share who you are, and prove that you’ve challenged yourself to improve and grow. You can also help time with tender loving care; yes, you deserve to heal, no matter what choices caused the wounds.
4. No one person or thing is responsible for your happiness. Nothing can give it to you. Don’t waste your time trying to find happiness outside in the world. Everything you desire outside will only lead to disappointment or dissatisfaction, once you possess or achieve it. There is no one and no way to become happy. Happiness is the way. Bring happiness to every problem, and you’ll discover the potential; to every obstacle, and you’ll discover the opportunity.
5. Don’t compare your life path or process with others. If we all threw all of our problems in a big box, we’d immediately snatch our own back very quickly, once we discovered what path others must follow and the process life requires for them. Don’t even compare your current self with a past version. This is the first time that you’ve been the current you. Compare your current choices against your values: which decisions will bring you closer to your values? That’s the only valuable comparison.
6. Don’t think so much. Once you start acting, the solution will appear. Over analysis leads to paralysis. You don’t know all the answers anyway. Often in life, the answer is that there is no answer and yet you must act anyway; giving us the chance to be courageous. Courageous action despite the unknown leads to confidence we are competently capable. Confident that we can handle any challenge allows us to experience the mysterious support helping us… if we remain determined and persistent enough to act… which leads to faith that everything is happening for a specific purpose: a loving conspiracy to your growth and development.
7. Smile. As strange as it sounds when you’re in a crisis, if you remember the points before this one, smile. Not all the world’s problems are your own. What you can do, you must do, for awareness of an issue implies a responsibility to take action upon it. But the best energy you can bring to any choice is a relaxed smile. Often you won’t feel happy about the current situation, and feel that you can’t smile. You don’t only smile because your happy, as it is a two way mechanism. If you want to restore your happiness, smile. The highest possible solutions will occur when you come from this state of calm peace. That secret holds the joy in life.