Sunday, November 13, 2016

Are You Getting What You Want?

In my last post I suggested that you explore who you are to clarify what you want. I listed eleven attributes that may be part of who you are. Then you can explore your life to see if you are investing in what you want based on who YOU want you to be.

After exploring those attributes or life goals did you discover how much you invest in the real you? Are you doing the things that give you greater satisfaction based on your own values rather than someone else's idea of who you should be and what you should be doing? How did they match up?

To be happier with your life you must be investing in those things that are most important to YOU. There are myriad ways of doing that.

If you want to have satisfying relationships you can invest more time and attention in those relationships that are most important to you. Schedule quality time with them. Be a good listener when you converse. Show up when you say you will and follow through with promises and commitments. Share your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Be real with them.

To fit in with other people you'll need to find commonalities with them. It won't make you happy to be fake with others. You must be real with them. So exploring your commonalities can make that happen. Learn better people-skills. Are you lacking in social skills? You can learn! If it is important to you to fit in in order for you to be happy you will want to learn how to do that and remain real.

To improve the world you may want to develop stronger community feeling through activism or generosity. Even we introverts can do this! :-) There are many opportunities for activism for the causes you believe in. And generosity includes giving of your time and compassion. If you need ideas of ways to participate in making the world better, just check back through some of my previous posts on the subject.

Financial success has different meanings to different people. Wealth is a relative term, even when looking at material and monetary possessions. Decide what for YOU is enough to satisfy this goal and learn ways to achieve it. Do you need more education or training to get the jobs you need to reach this goal? Are you in a field of work that will give you what you want to satisfy this goal? How important is this goal compared to your other goals? Invest in it accordingly.

Sensual pleasure has a role in every life. How important is it in yours? You alone can decide that. And there are all kinds of sensual pleasure, from simply experiencing the sights and fragrances of a spring day to erotic pleasures. All of our senses are capable of giving us pleasure (or pain). Many people find that experiencing all of their senses non-erotically can satisfy as much or more than the sexual pleasures, if that is more fitting for them. If you are not in a caring sexual relationship you can experience your other senses in pleasurable ways that fit in with your other values.

To look attractive in terms of body and clothing can be very important to you. Only you can decide just how important that is. This isn't easy to determine when there are so many voices telling us how we should look or are defining attractiveness for us. Get comfortable in your body and maintain good hygiene to explore this attribute. When you decide how you want to look, do what needs to be done for that to happen.

It is always important to feel healthy and free of illness. But we don't all seem to live our lives to make that happen. So just how important is that to you? What value do you give to this attribute? How much do you want to invest in your health? Are you giving your body good nutrition and adequate exercise? Are you avoiding illnesses that are contagious by getting your vaccines?  Are your practicing good hygiene? Is your behavior reflecting the value you place on this attribute? If not, what do you want to change? Then find a way to do it.

Want to be famous, well-known, admired? Nothing wrong with that, no matter what anyone else may tell you. There are all kinds of ways to be famous and admired. Find ways that coincide with your other values to be happy with your popularity. Fame is pretty hollow if you are well-known for something that isn't the real you. So find ways to be known and admired for you other important attributes. This can work for creating a better world!

How important is it to you to be safe, to ensure bodily integrity? Are you comfortable with physical risk? Are you able to know when you are safe and when you aren't? We are currently in a fear culture in our country. How much of it is real? How much of it is personal to you? What are the real dangers and how do you choose to deal with them? Everything from natural disasters to dangerous criminals can create devastation. How real is the risk to you and how do you want to deal with them?  You have lots of choices. You can live in constant anxiety or you can completely ignore all warnings. Or you can choose something in between the extremes. How important is it to YOU to be safe?

Do you like who you are? Self-acceptance is the attribute of feeling competent and authentic. Obviously one can't be competent at everything. But everyone is competent with something. The issue, I suppose, is if you feel competent at what is most important to you. Knowing what you value goes a long way in helping you develop feelings of competence. So decide what you want to feel competent about and develop that competence. Like the old question "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" The answer is: practice, practice, practice. Get education or training if need be. Develop your self-esteem to be authentically the person YOU want to be.

The final attribute on the list is spirituality. This is the search for spiritual or religious understanding. Spirituality is not limited to religion.

Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all. People may describe a spiritual experience as sacred or transcendent or simply a deep sense of aliveness and interconnectedness.*

*[from the University of Minnesota website:]

What spirituality means to you is also something only YOU can decide. It may or may not be connected with a religious institution. It is often how people determine their purpose in life. The website noted above offers some insight into how you might define YOUR spirituality.

Are you wondering how all of this can make a better, happier world? It begins by making a better, happier you. When you are living a satisfying life you then have what you need to begin making the world better, happier. 

Stay tuned for more on how to do that! And share this post with your friends by email and social media by clicking on one of the "share" links at the bottom left of this page. As always, I encourage you to share your comments below

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