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Never Get So Busy Making A Living That You Forget To Make A Life

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Never Get So Busy Making A Living That You Forget To Make A Life

Elaine cupped her head in her hands. She realized she had made a mistake. All her life she had wanted to be happy; instead, she realized, she was just living from paycheck to paycheck.

Each time she got paid, she managed to save money, but also spend it on material possessions comprised of the latest fads and tangible instruments to decorate her body. Enough is enough, she thought. I have to do better than just living; I want to build a life for myself.

She thought of all the places she wanted to visit and the concerts she never attended. For some reason, at this point in her life, she knew creating these memories would make her happier than she could ever imagine.

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Expectations vs Reality

Elaine is not alone. Unfortunately, all the advertisements encouraging us to buy, buy, buy with images of people smiling send a message. The message is, “If you own this, you can smile too.” That is a lie.

The reality is that if we own all the things we want, we can still end up feeling unhappy and empty.

You’ve heard of the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses?” Well, it simply means if the neighbor, Mr. & Mrs. Jones, buy a car, you run out and buy one too. It doesn’t matter if you can afford it. In fact, don’t bother to consider whether or not you need a new car. The expectation we place on ourselves, too often, is that if I have what other people have, I will be happy like other people.

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But if we take the time to be realistic, and ask ourselves, “What do I really want out of life?” we may discover the secret to our own happiness; the answer to our own happiness lies in the answer to that question.

Be True to Yourself

There is nothing wrong with pursuing our personal dreams and desires, as long as they are morally and ethically sound. Being true to yourself means responding to your own inner voice or inner child, and granting yourself daily wishes. A ride on a merry-go-round or learning something new are both ways to cultivate happiness while answering the inner call to pursue hidden dreams.

Enjoy Every Moment

Being present in the moment means being aware, appreciative, and accepting. This is how we make a life for ourselves. There are people, and animals, too, showing their love, gratitude, and concern right there in front of us. Are we enjoying them? Are we embracing and cherishing each moment that unfolds – whether that moment is good, bad, or indifferent? If not, chances are we are living our lives on autopilot.

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Making a Life

Making a life that is worth enjoying and living is not rooted in tangible things, but in intangible things. The people we meet, know, and love are great assets to our existence. Are we enjoying them as much as we can? Are we spending time creating memories with friends and family members?

Acceptance and Gratitude Lead to Joy

Living in the here and now means doing so with a dose of acceptance. It means we tell the Universe, “I appreciate who I am, what I have and what will come.” This attitude leads to both self-acceptance and gratitude. Then, we can find a place of joy unimaginable.

Having a happy life is not really hard to achieve. There are family and friends close by. There are museums and parks and local events filled with activities to occupy the time of any person. Take a chance, move outside your comfort zone, and live a happy, joyous, carefree life that is built on pleasant memories.

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Featured photo credit: Matthew Henry via unsplash.com

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Michelle Owens

Freelance Writer/Editor

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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