“True wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
In an otherwise unhealthy world it behooves us to become healthier people. Why? Because it compels the unhealthy world to balance itself and become healthier despite itself. But also because we humans are the reason the world is unhealthy to begin with.
We’re the problem. But we can just as easily choose to be the solution by becoming healthier people.
Here are seven ways we can start being part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
1.) Be more proactive about your problems
“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” ~ C. JoyBell C.
We all have problems. Some are worse than others. And some problems can’t be controlled. But usually the problems in our life stems from the simple fact that we are living an unhealthy lifestyle.
If this is the case, start facing your problems head on. Take full accountability of your life, and the course it is taking. Focus more on what you can control, like having a healthy disposition toward life, and let go of the things you cannot.
Whether your problems are physical and you need more exercise, or your problems are spiritual and you need to get out into nature more, make it a point to discover the basic underlying factors of why problems occur in your life, and then be proactive about transforming or reconditioning those factors into a solid foundation so that you can begin to cultivate a healthier lifestyle.
2.) Be brutally honest with yourself
“There are so many things I would rather be than good. I would rather be engaged. I would rather be humble. I would rather be genuinely provocative. I would rather be present. I would rather be interdependent. I would rather be challenged. I would rather be wise. I would rather be real. It will never be enough. It will always be worth the discomfort.” ~ Courtney E. Martin
Be engaged with who you are right now. Be fully present with what it means to be you in this moment. Feel what you like about yourself. Feel what you dislike about yourself. Feel in what ways your mind, body and soul are healthy. Feel in what ways your mind, body and soul are not healthy.
Be brutally honest with the things you feel you need to change, and then use that honesty as a starting line to dash into a new and improved life. Don’t wait for other runners to show up, they may not.
Don’t wait for a referee to sound the gun to start the race, sound your own gun. Authentically provoke yourself. Be fully involved with what makes you tick in both negative and positive ways, and then make the best of that information in order to be a healthier person right now.
3.) Be more kind to yourself
“It is beautiful to feel in a body built for feeling, and exist intensely on a planet exuding intensity.” ~ Victoria Erickson
We have a mind, body and soul built for feeling. So do we busy it with feelings of anger, hate, sadness, jealousy, and negativity? Or do we busy it with feelings of love, kindness, happiness, compersion, and positivity?
We have a choice. We can either be a victim of the world, or we can be the world. What we feel is more important than why or how we feel it. It’s a matter of disposition.
If the world is giving us a reason to be angry, hateful, sad, and negative then we should recognize that’s the case, embrace those emotions, and then promptly and responsibly, transform them into more positive emotions. Not because we wish to deceive ourselves, but because we wish to become healthier people.
Being kind to oneself is more than just positive affirmations. It’s about being a mindful, proactive agent of change for the better, a catalyst for healthy change. Even if you have no “reason” to be kind to yourself, you should still be kind to yourself; otherwise you’ll forever be stuck as a victim of the world.
4.) Make your own happiness a priority
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The above quote seems to contradict the premise, but I argue that it actually reinforces it. Emerson is correct– the purpose of life is not to be happy. It’s everything else he said. But it just so happens that everything else he said IS what makes us happy.
That’s the beauty of it. A direct side-effect of becoming useful is that we become happy. The more honorable our intentions are, the happier we will be with the result. The more compassionate we are, the happier we will become in regard to others.
Really making a difference in the world brings about deep happiness. Living well, that is living healthy, is a profound source of happiness. So no, the purpose of life is not to be happy. The purpose of life is to do things in a healthy way so that we give ourselves a chance to be happy.
Put the proverbial oxygen mask on yourself first. The oxygen mask is a metaphor for health. Making your own happiness a priority is first making your own health a priority. It’s circular. One feeds the other. And it will be a sacred cycle that will continue to feed your soul.
5.) Learn from your mistakes
Look for the silver lining in tough situations. Mistakes, if we can learn from them, can be stepping stones that lead up to a healthier version of ourselves. Remember to accept things when they are less than perfect; because, really, they will always be less than perfect. And that’s okay.
It has to be okay if we are ever going to achieve something truly worthwhile. If you’re not making mistakes from time to time, then you’re not trying hard enough and you’re not taking enough risks. Push yourself. Fail and fail often. Take calculative risks. Gamble conscientiously. Don’t be afraid of losing a battle; just be afraid of losing the war.
The only way you can lose the war is to refuse to learn from your battles, especially your failed battles. So get back up on that horse, little soldier. Appreciate that you are growing and improving more in your defeats than in your victories. Learning from your mistakes will help you to consistently become a healthier version of yourself.
6.) Appreciate what you have
“Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.” ~ Osho
It’s easy for us to lose sight of what we already have. After all, we’ve already achieved it and we’re now focused on the next goal. We’re ready for the next step, the next rank, the next pay jump, the next bigger and better house or car. We want want want to achieve something more more more than what we already have.
It’s all a part of being a hamster on the hamster wheel that is the modern day rat race. The stress can be a crippling thing: mind, body and soul. Before you know it, you’ve worked your entire life toward something “more” without ever taking the time to appreciate what you have. But life is not about possessions.
Life is about being possessed by the love of life itself. It’s about appreciating what we have, who we are, where we’re at, how we got here, why we’re here, and what we’re going to do about it in this moment, right now, so that we can become healthier people.
Not healthier because we accumulate possessions or titles or pay raises, but healthier because we accumulate more and more loving appreciation for the process of being a human being going through changes in an ever-changing world.
So appreciate what you have, especially your health. Take a deep breath and learn to enjoy what you’ve already achieved so that you can be in a healthier place to achieve even more.
7.) Forgive yourself
“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.” ~ Mark Caine
We were all of us born into a conditioned state. Our modern civilizations have raised us to believe and to behave in ways that are not conducive to healthy living. As such, we have been conditioned to behave in unhealthy ways towards each other.
But there comes a point in our growth when we become mature enough to realize that we were innocent victims of an unhealthy culture. Forgiveness is the remedy. It’s the medicine we can use to wash away the soul-crippling guilt attached to our past behaviors.
This doesn’t mean we forget or choose not to learn from our mistakes, not at all. It means we are releasing ourselves from the bondage of guilt so that we can free ourselves to be worthy of health. Forgiveness is a way of letting go of the world needing us to be a certain way (unhealthy), so that we can move toward being in the world in a more authentic way (healthy).
Indeed, it provides a platform for the reinvention of love. When we forgive ourselves, we forgive the world. And such forgiveness has the potential to change the world for the better.