Self-actualization

A romantic relationship, at it’s best, feels like the comfort and bliss of youth. A night in bed watching movies together seems like the times when you were young, hanging out with your best friend – because that person is your best friend.

That best friend dotingly cares for you while you’re sick, believes in you, pushes you to be better, makes you laugh, and soothes your sadness.

While this experience is rare (mostly because it takes so much work to build), there’s nothing quite as satisfying once you have it.

Even if the moment is only that, a moment, it’s worth the effort.

Three things could be said to constitute a well-lived life: impactful work, meaningful friendships, and fulfilling romantic companionship.

In the end, you might feel a sense of pride in your legacy or joy in your friendship, but there’s no replacement for unconditional love.

So cherish your friends, celebrate and seek accomplishments, and fight for love once you find it.

 

You can’t be and do all things.

So do what’s important, and consider what’s left a hobby.

Despite what the rise of the side hustle might suggest, hobbies are okay.

They allow (and are sometimes necessary for) you to live a full life, grow in self-knowledge, and satisfy your creative urges.

Complementarily, if you don’t get to everything you’d like to every day, that doesn’t mean you’re failing.

It’s more probable that you’re ambitious with your time.

Take it one day at a time.

Remember: Progress is slow. It’s often two steps forward, one step back.

Be gentle with yourself, and appreciate the results you’ve already obtained.

Developing a healthy lifestyle is not about living perfectly. While some rare eccentrics can wake up every day, follow the same routine, and eat exactly 1,900 calories a day, chances are you can’t do that.

It’s more likely that if you try to live a “perfect” life, you’ll be miserable and end up failing or going off the deep end.

One time I bought two large triple chocolate Sundays from Oberweis because I had been following such a strict routine. Don’t let that happen to you. It’s not fun. Very nauseating.

A much more realistic and sustainable approach is to treat yourself occasionally. On Fridays, eat some fries. Or some days, just do nothing.

Help yourself be a better you in the long-term: practice moderation.

As we grow up and grow out from our family roots, we settle into our own world. There, surrounded by our first stuff, it can be easy to become selfish.

Independence allows us to be insular, to isolate ourselves from what’s uncomfortable or contradictory.

In relationships, the isolation might make us act in a way that is purely transactional. We like our worlds to be fair, balanced, and convenient. So we help folks who help us, and we say we’re busy if we think someone isn’t generous enough with their time for us.

But that’s not a good way to live your life.

Being a good person is sometimes about doing kind things for others – showing up for them, helping them move, picking up a call – even when they haven’t equally reciprocated, especially when it comes to family.

This is a part of leading by example.

If everyone kept a “piggy bank” of helpfulness, the world would be cynical and devoid of an important kind of love, a love of selflessness for those we care about despite their flaws. An unconditional love.

Do the right thing. Be generous, and show others how to act beyond themselves.

This is another take on life from my southern and unique grandma.

I’m reinterpreting it for you to mean this: Success is often engendered merely through portrayed confidence.

Look the part. Act the part. And you got it.

If you believe in something, keep this in your back pocket, and get after it.

Too many of us are waiting for permission.

It’s scary, yes. And it will always be scary.

If it’s particularly risky, do it now while you have your health.

 

An omnipresent anxiety burbles beneath my immediate thoughts because of the number of unknowns in my life, my perfectionism, and an endless list of tasks that are placed on a perpetual backburner.

Every day I wake up and strive to live my life just a little better. I tell myself something like, “Okay, Kyle, today you are going to live a better life. Make a morning task list, do yoga, meditate, go to the gym, write that paper, prepare the presentation, journal, don’t watch Hulu, avoid Instagram, drink tea, clean out the fridge, Christmas shop, create a blog post, read before bed, and prepare for the day tomorrow.”

And all the while I’m checking into my philosophies and values. These include variations of hopefulness, openness, and kindness. These are my coping mechanisms.

I know that things will be okay in the end, but you can’t completely thwart the doubt and fear.

Rinse and repeat.

Thus, my nature is one of mostly being “on” – tuned in and geared up for life’s challenges and the fight against my inner critic and loser. It’s imperfect. I’m very human. I never get everything done, so I’m constantly playing catch up to an ideal self.

I wanted to share that experience with you because I wanted you to know that you aren’t alone in your struggle. Life is hard work.

My blog is about how to live a good life. Put aside the high ideas, and you’ll see that the reality of the good life is one of grinding – good ol’ fashion schlepping.

I think a lot about what the end game for all the effort looks like. I think in some ways things get easier. Habits are cemented with practice. Though, you probably just get used to the work. You learn to dance with struggle. And you become more accepting and gentle with yourself.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of madness.

But this is exactly what we’re doing when we practice.

We must do the same thing repeatedly to improve – to hopefully become a master.

Madness, then, is sometimes just hope in disguise.

HT to Debbie Millman