Its surprising how easily people forget to implement some of the basic foundations for living a good life. Often the steps outlined below are necessary to integrate before deeper issues can be resolved. I could add a few more things to this list and most likely you could as well. But I think it’s a nice start and well worth the reminder to place emphasis on life’s foundations.
1. Learn to discern how driven we are by the unconscious. Then develop a rapport with the unconscious. I am sometimes asked how to develop a rapport. Some of the ways are through dreamwork or paying close attention to day dreams. Another useful way is to invest into something creative. Often when we are being creative, we are more in touch with a deeper part of ourselves. Learn to listen to your body, closely and without judgment is yet another vehicle to explore.
2. Accept and embrace the situation. This does not mean a life of passivity. It just means to embrace life as it presents itself, where sometimes what is presented is the motivation to change – which is just as valid as anything else.
3. Let go of control. Sometimes we might need to be in control for short periods of time and that’s ok – it really is. But often the more we let go, the better life turns out to be.
4. Be kind to self. In my experience people struggle with this more than most things in life. Our heads are often filled with negative self-talk and criticism. It is great to push ourselves and extend ourselves, but we do not need to put ourselves down to achieve our aims and desires. Compassion, empathy and kindness towards self are vital ingredients in our growth and ability to enjoy life to the fullest.
5. Likewise, be kind to others. If we can be kind to others we can also be kind to ourselves – the outer can become the inner and the inner can become the outer. Kindness is a great thing that can heal much of the damage we encounter in life.
6. Recognize what is important to you. Follow through on this as much as possible. Don’t just think it, be it… If you want to earn more money become the instrument which can earn more money. This is a fundamental law of life and is essential to understand but also to implement.
7. Allow ourselves to be vulnerable. If we are investigating ourselves and trying to grow, we need to be able to recognize and bring to the fore our deepest fears and desires. Being vulnerable allows us to build resilience. This does not mean we suffer for the sake of suffering.
8. Let go of things that consistently bring you down. Do things that you enjoy, be with people who lift you up and don’t bring you down. Make a distinction between things which are helpful to you and things which are not. Feed the helpful by giving those patterns more attention and starve the unhelpful by not giving those patterns attention. This is one of the foundational principles learned from advances in neuroscience.
9. Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude! The more the better. This is one of the most consistent and well researched themes to emerge from the scientific literature on the positive psychology moment. It can make a huge difference to the quality of life if persisted with daily.