“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
What we see in life depends on what we choose to see.
Certainly, we’ve been conditioned through our life experiences to see things a certain way, but we are free to replace those habitual patterns of thought with more affirming and positive ways of thinking if we choose to. The consistent work it requires is a choice we make as well.
One step in the process of beating back depression is to break free of our darker patterns of thought and interpretation. This requires opening our eyes to new ways of looking and new ways of seeing the world. The following, then, are 6 additional ways to see life and interpret it in ways that add meaning and purpose to it.
14 Reasons to Love Life (#9-14)
These are the last 6 reasons to fall madly in love with life. They work for me, anyway. I hope they do for you …
Reason #9: Life is an Outward Expression of an Internal Condition
It’s liberating knowing we are the sum of our thoughts, attitudes and behavior (some exceptions to that rule notwithstanding). If your life is in shambles right now, you can change the outside circumstances by changing the inside conditions.
Our circumstances largely (even if not completely or always, but usually in the long-run) reflect the quality of our beliefs, thoughts and actions.
If we want a better set of life circumstances, it’s exciting to know that all we have to do is change something inside to start the ball rolling. Now that’s personal power!
Reason #10: We Matter
You and I matter, in part, because we are part of the human family. Your absence would thereby diminish that family. You make a difference to it.
Still, we matter most of all because I believe we’re children of God. I believe that makes you something pretty darned special. I believe we’re endowed with the spark of the divine. That means we can become even more spectacular than we currently are.
My faith in that potential excites me and motivates me. It deepens my love of life, adding passion to the love affair I’m having with it.
Reason #11: Ssssh! We’re Taking a Test
Life, as I understand it, is a test. But it’s more than that too. It’s a test to see what we’ll do, how we’ll live our lives and treat others, for sure. But it’s also the classroom itself. It’s a lesson within a test, where we learn from the very act of taking it.
But unlike most other tests you’ll take in life, this one allows cheat-sheets. Copying is allowed as well. So are creative answers to life’s tricky open-ended questions. Innovation and experimentation is therefore encouraged within the framework of universal principles.
So to walk away from the test when the answers are being made available (even if effort is required to get at those answers) seems something like turning around just a few feet from a mountain summit we’ve hiked a thousand miles just to see.
Personally, I want to reach the summit. I want to run through life so I can have as much time as possible to figure out how to master it the best I can. I still have so much to learn about making it work well.
No-brainer disclaimer: Having said that, I feel compelled to add a note to those who have lost loved ones to suicide. While we may be in the middle of taking a test, I believe the Administrator of this Test holds those accountable who are of right mind. To me, those so distraught that they take their own lives don’t seem to be in an accountable state of mind. Besides, the Test’s Administrator is compassionate, I’ve heard.
Reason #12: The Little Things
There are jokes I haven’t laughed at, food I haven’t tasted, flowers I haven’t smelled, music I haven’t heard, places I haven’t visited, nature I haven’t stepped foot into yet.
I spent 6 months in Japan. I lived in Taiwan for 2 years. And that’s it. There is too much of the world I haven’t seen. Too many of the monuments I haven’t visited. Too many jungles and forests and beaches and mountains and other majestic and beautiful scenes I haven’t witnessed.
And while I’ll never experience all the world has to offer, I want to take a better crack at some of it while still here. Life is mostly made up of lots of little things. Learning to see and appreciate the small stuff makes life deeply meaningful and wildly more enjoyable.
Reason #13: The Big Things
Freedom, faith and religion, human potential and possibility, democracy, truth, wisdom. These and other big issues drive me forward in search of ways of talking about them that stir hearts and motivate steps. I want to live to learn how to do that better.
Big ideas move me. They add depth and passion and purpose and meaning to daily living. By filling your heart and mind with the words of great authors who write about such big ideas, you too can have that depth and passion fill your life.
Reason #14: There is too much Left Undone
There are businesses to start, relationships to strike up, Christmases to celebrate, people to befriend, children to hug, books to read, books to write, articles to post, my blog to expand, ideas to teach and promote, shortfalls to overcome, vacations to go on, people to love, sports to play, limits to break, comfort zones to challenge, challenges to face, character to build, courage to exercise, happiness to attain and life to live.
And so we’re all unfinished masterpieces. We are best-sellers with the last pages unwritten, waiting for us to write them. We are ball games with the final innings still in question. You are now up to bat in your own life.
So step to the plate and swing!
Life is an incomplete design. And we are the designers. We choose the colors, the pattern, the shape and size of the final product, a glorious finished work of amazingness. Granted, God gave us the materials and even some basic instructions to guide us, but we weave the pieces together to make of our lives what we will.
To mix metaphors (again), if the canvas of your life has been painted in dark, foreboding colors so far, pick up a new tube of paint. Squeeze it onto your palate. Mix in another. And splash it over the shades of gray that may have characterized your life to this point. It’s in you. And it’s up to you. Only you. Be the artist who creates the beautiful work of art on the canvas that is your life.
Such a masterpiece will take time. Mistakes will be made. They are expected. But the end product will be breathtaking and well worth whatever time it takes to create it.
And so now I invite you, my dear reader, with every beat of my heart and every hope and prayer and desire of my soul, to come with me on this wild ride called life. It gets bumpy, but life’s bumpy ride is well worth the bruises if we open our hearts and truly see with our eyes the amazingness that we are and that surrounds us daily.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo by Child of the Revolution