Not too long ago, I was the most cynical, negative and pessimistic person you could ever hope to meet. My ‘life’s motto’ was life sucks, and then you die. I was fed up with I am not sure what, and I constantly said to myself “there must be more to life than this“. Luckily, at this point I started actively looking for a better way to live and enjoy life.
I found people who showed me that there was indeed ‘more to life’. One recurring theme they shared was the idea of falling in love with my life and yourself. I thought they were crazy. Had they seen my life? It was a shambles, and mostly because I had made it that way. But the idea stuck, and I couldn’t get rid of it. Fall in love with life. So began a long journey of discovery that led to me becoming optimistic, cheerful, and annoyingly positive. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy-clappy, cheerful and sunny all day every day – I am still not a morning person (don’t get me started on being rudely awoken by offensive alarm clock noises, or people screaming my name), and I can still feel down, negative, angry and fed up…but it’s temporary, not a permanent way of life.
I figured out how to fall in love with life, even when it’s messy and imperfect and you don’t have all you want, in fact, I finally realized that it will always be messy and imperfect and I will always want more, so I may as well enjoy the journey. Having tried the cynical, pessimistic route, I can tell you with certainty that loving life is way more fun.
Here are some ideas to help you fall in love with your one and only messy, imperfect life:
Feel the joy:
There’s so much joy in the world, so much to enjoy and we miss so much of it because we’re so busy and fed up. I knowI did. Don’t get me wrong, I had some great times too, I did a lot of fun stuff, but I also missed a lot of the joy in my life at the time because I was so convinced it was awful.
Even when life sucks, there are small joys to be found, glorious moments to be enjoyed – find enough of them and you’ll find yourself falling naturally in love with life, no matter how messy it is.
Take charge of your life:
The time that I enjoyed life least was when I was doing what I thought was expected of me. When I decided to do what I wanted to do with my one and only life, I started to enjoy it far more.
This is your life, you need to take charge of it and take it where you want to go, not where you think you should go, where someone else wants you to go, or where you ended up because you didn’t know where to go. I had no idea what I would do with the rest of my life then I figured out the thing I wanted to next, which led me to another idea and now I’m in love with my work (something I never thought was possible). Take charge, and start moving in the direction of what you want (even if it’s not clear what that is yet you can start to investigate possibilities).
Be your own best friend and biggest cheerleader:
The one constant you can count on in life is you. Wherever you go, you’ll take you with you, whether you like you or not. I was very critical of me, I was disappointed in me, and I thought I was making a massive mess of life. Then I realized I was doing my best, and that even the critical voice in my head was trying to get the best out of me.
Work on feeling good:
I had a friend who was painfully positive, naively optimistic; endlessly cheerful (this was my negative, cynical and miserable assessment). I thought she was just ‘like that” and I wasn’t. But once I started to make changes, I realized that feeling good is a learnable skill. It’s a habit, not a characteristic.
It has taken practice, determination and effort to become positive, optimistic and cheerful, but it’s so worth the effort. For a start, positive people are way less annoying when you are one. It’s not just ‘who you are’, it’s who you’ve become. As children we are positive, naïve believers; life sometimes squeezes it out of us – but we can remember to squeeze it back in again and work on feeling good, or at least, feeling better every day.
Don’t expect other people to submit to your will:
Ah, those pesky other people. If the family, the friend, the boss, the neighbor, the government, the world at large would just do what we want them to, falling in love with life would be easy, right? Perhaps not – I suspect it would just be weird and slightly creepy if everyone suddenly did exactly what we thought they should do.
And the reality is that they won’t submit to your will. All the time and effort you put into making others do what you want is utterly wasted, and could be better spent on loving your life. They’re going to keep doing what they do and so are you, even if they think you should do something else; so forget about trying to control the known universe and just enjoy life even with its brilliant imperfections, shining flaws and dazzling flaws.
So, start loving and living life!