—Marie Howe from What the Living Do
All that we want, all that we do, all that we have, all that we like....our looks, our moods, our family, our friends, our jobs, the weather, our political leaders, our cars, our homes.....all of this......a moot point without LIFE. It sounds pretty basic, like, "No kidding!" Many of us all too often forget to appreciate the basics. And the most basic element of our life is.....that we have been blessed with one!
Being alive is probably the number one thing we take for granted. Okay, we were born, we're breathing...now let's do, do, do, buy, buy, buy, fix, fix, fix! In the midst of our hectic "gotta get ahead' world, we are losing touch with appreciating life itself. How many of us are truly alive? How many are simply existing, you know, going through the motions robotically? The answer is...too many. What does a person's best life look like? Of course, the answer varies from individual to individual. My experiences have convinced me that there are a few global concepts that all of us can consider in creating our own best life. All of them relate to a genuine appreciation for the opportunity to experience life with all its ups and downs and twists and turns. This idea transcends personality, ethnicity, age, and so on. Below are the top four ways you can learn to appreciate your very existence. Incorporating any ONE will change your life for the better. But why not try all four?! Remember to be patient, but practice, practice, practice.
- Notice and appreciate every inch of your body inside and out. Do you realize that most of your body functions through no effort of yours? You think, you get from point A to point B, you breathe, your heart beats, your organs do their thing nonstop, and you wake up in the morning. Your senses either enhance your life or protect you from harm. The list could go on and on. As far as your outside goes, is there any good that comes from disliking it? Appreciate the fact that you are alive and beautiful. This beauty must be acknowledged by YOU. Once you choose to see yourself as a spectacular vision, others will notice it as well.
- Notice and appreciate every person you come in contact with. Each one of us has redeeming factors. Commit to discovering at least one for each person you meet. If this ever seems to be a daunting task, choose one of yours and share it with that person. (Examples: your smile, your patience, your respectfulness) A funny thing may happen. It may become easier to notice something great in that other person.
- Notice and appreciate every element of nature. Yes, even the hurricanes and other "natural' disasters. Why? Because the sheer power, unpredictability, and majesty of the forces in this universe are to be admired. We certainly would not cheer about the loss that may result. However, if we can see beyond this aspect that occurs relatively infrequently, there is so very much beauty in and assistance from nature that we can marvel over. Sometimes, we take these for granted. Appreciating the oxygen that "happens' to flow from trees in exactly the amount we need to breathe, the rains that draw life from a lonely stem by producing a perfect blossom, the magical song of baby birds in the spring, or the almost surreal blanketing of snow on the earth in winter can make all the difference in the quality of your life.
- Notice and appreciate those events you perceive as bothersome or unfair. What?! Why would anyone appreciate a broken leg, getting fired, or losing a loved one? Of course, I am not suggesting that you should love these things. But I am suggesting that you, at an appropriate time, look at any such event in your life and find its message for how you can get even closer to truly living your best life because of it. THIS is what you can appreciate.
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