This is the challenge before each of us. How do we live right; right according to who or what? With so much information and opinions being thrown at us on a daily basis, it can get very confusing and the lines of right and wrong get blurred.
Well, it is time to unblur those lines and discover for ourselves what it means to Live Right!
Here, you will find some insightful ways to help you discover how you can live right by following some simple directions. It is really not as complicated as some choose to believe. The directions provided will not dictate the conclusion that you must come to, but it will provide the framework that every individual needs in order to gain clarity for their own life and make choices based on the truth of that clarity. Now, let’s begin.
Direction # 1: Be Still
Two words: be still. Definitely easier said than done. We live in a fast paced society. Ever get impatient with the microwave? Exactly – fast is just not fast enough for our culture. Instant gratification, high-speed internet, quick and hurry-up everything, run here, run there, move, move, move. That is the norm. The only time that we are truly still is when we are asleep or dead. Most of us struggle to even rest well when we sleep due to so many sleep disorders, along with stress and anxiety. We are even told in a spiritual sense to “be still”; it is a clear directive. Be still!
So what does it mean to be still? Is it physically, mentally, spiritually or what? The answer is: yes. Yes to all. We exist in spirit, mind and body; therefore, all three aspects of who we are need to come into the unison of that stillness. All three parts need to know that being still is intentional and will serve to benefit us in more ways than we can know. It is time to tell yourself to be still, and be intentional in your stillness.
What does being still look like? It may look different for each of us because we are all unique. What it looks like is not as important as getting ourselves to actually comply. For one individual, being still may look like sitting on the floor, legs crossed, eyes closed, looking like meditation; but for someone else being still may look like sitting in a swing in the backyard, no phone, no laptop, no pet, nothing, just sitting. It may be sitting on the beach or a pier and looking at the water. That is my favorite “be still” moment. It’s good to be outside and be still.
There are many resources available around the science of ‘being still’, but one that comes to mind is Stopping: How To Be Still When You Have To Keep Going by Dr. David Kundtz.
Whatever your way to be still is, the most important thing is to do it. Take moments to just know that the world is so much larger than just you and yours. The world is not yours to fix, but it is yours to enjoy and leave an imprint; however big or small, you can make a difference. There is something on a higher level that is working on your behalf, guiding you, and all you have to do is be present and still to hear the messages meant just for you.
Once you have taken the time to make yourself be still and spent some time on reflection, you will recognize that you are part of a bigger picture. Then, you will be better equipped to tackle the other directions you need to take to help you live right.
Direction #2: Touch Up
This one can be tricky because it requires interaction with others. When you think of “touch up” you think of maybe touching up your makeup before going out or touching up an old piece of furniture to make it new again. In either case, you are investing time and devoting action to something that is important to you. This is the key to any meaningful relationship; they need time, devotion and intentionality. There may be relationships in your life that have been neglected or gone unattended for some time. It is time to mend some fences and let some healing flow into your life, as well as the others who have gone without your attention.
We do what we can do by forgiving and releasing that situation. You have heard of the term, letting go, that is where this practice comes in on your touch up journey. Then, we look for those individuals with whom we know that with some intentionality, kindness or just a listening ear, we can make that relationship all new again, and bring a fresh perspective into our life This touch up will bring such a renewed sense of purpose and joy into your own life that you will wonder why you have not done it much sooner.
Direction #3: Move On
This direction is much easier to follow after you have done some touch up on your relationships. You must learn when it is time to move on. When you realize that you have exhausted much time and energy on a situation with no results, then it is time to simply move on. This may or may not have anything to do with relationships, but certainly can apply to those as well. It may be that you have wanted something for yourself, but have been unsuccessful in attaining it.
That failure and disappointment can leave you defeated and depleted. If you have given it your best shot to no avail, maybe it is time for a new plan, move on to what you know you can attain or do.
This does not mean that you are giving up. It just means that you will no longer waste your valuable time and efforts on something or someone that remains inaccessible to you, garner a new approach as it were. Make a new plan and venture on in a different direction. Work toward successes no matter how small. This will improve your self-esteem and confidence, and who knows, after a few doors open that thing or relationship that you longed for may just be there waiting for you. The point is to not get stuck. If you are stuck, you are going nowhere and that is discouraging. It is like trying to take a trip with no gas in the car; the desire to go is there, but the means to get you there are absent. Work on the smaller goal of getting the gas in the car and see where the journey takes you.
Direction #4: Shut Down
This direction will change your life very quickly. There are so many voices vying for your attention every day, especially with the utilization of social media. Opinions and comments, likes and dislikes are yelling out for you to hear them 24/7. It is relentless! Knowing that you need to shut down is easy, actually shutting down is hard. We are very accustomed to quickly checking our phones and our email, wanting to hear or see what this person or that person said.
The media is excellent at construing tantalizing headlines to grab your attention and then proceed to tell you how or what you should think about any given situation. Through this bombardment, many fall prey to relinquishing any reasonable conviction of their own, but through empathy take on the convictions of others whether right or wrong. We tend to build up emotional responses to situations that we only hear about from someone else and pretty soon we are championing a cause in which we are not personally invested.
Following this direction takes a lot of willpower and determination, but you have to momentarily shut down. For your own sanity and well-being, do this for at least for a season or a designated amount of time. You have to clear away all the voices, opinions, and comments of others. It is healthy and helpful to quiet all the voices and words for the benefit of your own inner peace. Remove yourself from all the situations campaigning for your attention; turn it off, shut down and unplug from the world. Intentionally pull yourself away from the grip of negative social media and remind yourself who you are as an individual. Refresh your understanding of your roots and what you know and believe in your own heart to be true.
Just because so many opinions and comments are being feed to you, does not mean you have to ingest them. We have a choice and a choice to shut down, even just for a time, is the right choice for each of us. Allow yourself time to just detox for a moment, like showering away all the dirt and grime of the day. Get back to what is really important and meaningful. Remind yourself that you do not have to take on all the negative banter the world is pushing on you. Relax, read something encouraging, go visit a friend or loved one, actually talk to someone in person and allow yourself to be reset and energized with the good things around you.
Direction #5: Clean Out
How refreshing is it after we have labored to clean out the garage, or clean out our closets? After the work is done, we often go back and admire what we have accomplished and at how much better the area looks afterwards. This same concept applies to our lives. We often let things pile up in our lives so much so that they have become a permanent fixture. Most likely we do need to literally clean out places in our home, office or personal space; that definitely does make us feel good. But, maybe we have also picked up bad habits or bad attitudes that we have let stay with us to our own detriment. You may have gotten so used to watching something in particular that you do not even recognize that it is negatively affecting the way you talk, feel, or the way you react to people.
Cleaning out takes determination and it has to be intentional if it is going to make any real difference. This means you have to get blatantly honest with yourself and admit to what things need to be cleaned out and why it is they have to go. You have to acknowledge to yourself that you have allowed it. Only the brave and those who are serious about being the best self they can be will endeavor to follow this direction. Too many will simply say that it is just not that big of a deal. That is where many sell themselves short and miss out on reaching their potential.
Cleaning out gets rid of the junk that serves no real purpose and makes room for better things. A life cluttered with baggage and useless junk is heavy and cumbersome, leaving little room for joy and greatness. It is work to clean out your life’s closet, so to speak, and you may have to do it more than once to get to the place where you are really free from that old habit or thing that drains your peace and steals your joy. If you do this soul searching and make the effort to rid yourself of all that is hindering you, you will feel refreshed, encouraged and proud of your own accomplishment. And, you will have made room in your life for the things that truly matter and benefit your life in a real way.
Direction #6: Give In
This direction can be a bit confusing. When we think of giving in, we think of giving in to the pleasures of life; the if it feels good just do it mentality. That is not the “give in” direction for living right. This give in means to allow yourself to be the unique individual that you were created to be. Stop trying to make yourself into someone you were never meant to be in the first place. Understand that you are like no other, filled with talents, ideas and skills that no one else has. Give yourself room to make mistakes and to learn for them without expecting perfection. You are fearfully and wonderfully made so give in to that notion and follow the direction that has been weaved into your very being. You are not who everyone tells you that you are. You are a uniquely created individual. Be brave enough to give in to the purpose for which you were created.
This will take some practice and much time to get it right. But, you should strive to recognize those desires and inclinations that are naturally a part of you. Maybe you have a strong desire to help people so look for avenues or paths that allow you to do that. Maybe you are not great with people, but you have an incredible way with animals and are naturally drawn to them. Then, by all means, find a way to work or volunteer with animals. Give in to those talents and skills that come natural to you and bring you joy and a sense of inner peace when you do them.
Recognize that they are your these talents and they are for a genuine purpose. Quit fighting who you were meant to be and just give in. Your life will not be measured with someone else’s measuring stick. You were never intended to be like someone else or even accomplish the same things as another. When you can do this, you will know you are living right.
Direction #7: Live Right
What does that look like? This direction incorporates all of the others mentioned and maybe more. It means to take into account all that is yours to understand and know. There is so much at stake and there are so many choices to make. But, you cannot forget that there are consequences, good or bad, for our choices and actions. You are not aimlessly floating through life; you have the power to choose, you have free will. Your destiny, your status, your progress in this life is directly linked to the choices you make; the big ones and the small ones all have an impact.
Now, that does not mean that we can just chose a path, a career, or a status and it will just happen for us because we want it. If that were the case, we would all wake up tomorrow as wealthy tycoons. But, it does mean that each of us have the choice to make the most of our beginnings and chose where we go from there. We all have a different starting point, but then we all can choose our next step.
Even if your choices seem very limited, choose the right step and go in the right direction. Choose steps that help put you on the path that is positive and beneficial for you to live the best life you can. And remember, you are not an island all unto yourself. You need people! There are others who are here to walk with you, those you may know and those that have been placed here to lead you even when you are unaware. Don’t be discouraged when you make a misstep because you will, we all do. When you do, recognize it and own up to it; don’t gloss over or ignore it. Say it, say where you missed it. Then, start from where you are and review the directions above. Start again using what you have learned. If you will lay hold of the truth that you have a definite purpose in this life and that the power to live right is yours, then you will be intentional with your choices, inspirational with your words, and influential with your actions. You will Live Right!
About the Author: Angie Preslar-McCutcheon is a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer from Huntsville, AL. She is passionate about family and writing. She endeavors to share what she has learned from her own life experiences and hopes that others will be inspired to journey on and journey well. You can visit her online at angiemccutcheon.com.