The quickest way to living a life you love is through learning to love the life you live.

You’re waiting for something to change in your life before you can be happy. You might think if only you had a different partner (or one at all), a better job, or kids that did their homework then surely you’d be happy. Surely then you’d wake each morning with the glow of one living a life worth loving. Enough! Here are 5 ways to get started:

1. Be present – You must be aware of your current existence and that you have control over your perspective. Whether you’re willing away early morning grouchiness or seeing a messy house as a chance to teach teamwork, your choice of perspective will make all the difference between just living and loving.

2. Practice gratefulness – Every day, no excuses. Pretend to be grateful if you must. It’s one of those things that catches up to you quickly as life reciprocates your emotional generosity. Seeing the good in your life will allow you to keep your heart fed while you work to change the more unsavory parts. Try it. Live it. You’ll love it.

3. Pursue balance - As a person given to extremes this has always been a tough one for me. I’ll go from taking great care of myself and communicating well to abandonment and silence as I let work consume me. The pursuit of balance requires constant adjustment as your life shifts but every time I really try for the middle I end up happier about my life. And that’s truly the point.

4. Nurture friendships – You know the people who for some reason or other welcome you into their lives? Treasure them. Make time to spend with them. It is those relationships that you’ll look back on with satisfaction when you get old and begin to wonder what your life was worth. Many of us spend far too much time thinking about how some material possession will improve our lives. An iMac would be nice. A good friend is worth just about everything though!

5. Embrace simplicity –  You don’t need to have all your gold-plated ducks in a row in order to love the life you’re living. You don’t need lots of stuff and relationships so driven by drama that you often wish just to be left alone in silence. Instead you might try for a simpler approach and enjoy things because they are useful and not because they are expensive. You might join a friend just to talk and not worry about all the expensive trappings we so often heap on get-together’s. Try for simplicity and if complexity sneaks up on you, so be it. In learning to love the basics you’ll find a wondrous appreciation for the nicer things that come along.

What have you found helps bring you back to the moment you’re in and really start to enjoy the life you’re living right now?

image: adam foster

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