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Live A Beautiful Life In 10 Easy Steps

Live A Beautiful Life In 10 Easy Steps

Life is beautiful! And even more so if you are living a life filled with happiness, peace and contribution. However, many people, including myself, have lived a life full of possessions, with a soul full of hatred, a job that sucks the very life out of them, and an emptiness inside.

Even with its struggles and difficulties life can be beautiful, depending what you focus on. A beautiful life is one that makes you feel fully alive, is full of inspiration and creates a deeper, more connected environment for us to live in. With this in mind I’ve come up with a few steps on how to live a beautiful life.

1. Always be grateful for the blessings and gifts you already have.

A must for all people who want to or who are already living a beautiful life. If you can do just one thing out of all of these steps, I’d recommend this one: being thankful for all that you already have is the key to a beautiful life. Taking time out to be thankful even through the tough times will set you up for a happier, more peaceful existence. It will not only touch your own life but also those around you. How wonderful is that?

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2. Try to know and understand yourself.

Most of us have an idea of ourselves, yet very few actually know or understand who we really are. To begin the wonderful journey of living a beautiful life this is very important. You’ll need to take a good, hard look at the stuff that you may have been denying for years and that which has been under wraps without you even knowing. This is a chance for self-discovery and will include rediscovering your passions, desires, fears and insecurities. It might not be as easy as you first thought, so I’d suggest involving a good, trusted friend to help you dig a little deeper. Either way, this process will open your eyes and help you to see how your life has the potential to be beautiful.

3. Work out what a beautiful life means to you.

If you don’t feel that your life is beautiful right now, perhaps it’s time to ask yourself what it is that you think is missing? Is it a purpose, inspiration, happiness, or something else? Questions that delve deeper are important here like asking: “What is it that is keeping me stuck in this cycle of unhappiness? Is it fear of failure, rejection, or making the wrong choices?” Whatever it is, none of these are good enough reasons to be unhappy or not living a beautiful life.

4. Start to make changes to towards living your beautiful life.

When you know that a beautiful life is there for the taking, it will mean changes will need to be made in some areas of your life. It’s no good doing the same stuff because you’ll get the same results. All it takes is a little time to work out what maybe missing from your life or what needs letting go of.

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For example, if you want to find your purpose in life, perhaps it’s time to surround yourself with people who inspire, lift and encourage you rather than spending time with the same friends who have always brought you down. It might also mean that you need to start standing up for yourself a little bit more and saying no a bit more often; it’s the little things that can make all the difference.

5. Give away love to feel more love.

In order to live a beautiful life, love is one of the things that make life worth living. The thing is, however, most of the time we expect it to be given in order for us to give it back. Instead of thinking this way, why not live your life with love being the principle aim in all that you do, especially when interacting with other people in your day-to-day life? Everyone needs love in their life, whether it’s from a partner, a friend, family or a perfect stranger. Make your beautiful life more meaningful by giving love to everyone you meet in the form of kindness, understanding, tolerance, acceptance and generosity.

6. Practice forgiveness.

How can you have a beautiful life if you are full of resentment and bitterness? You can’t, is the simple answer! However, when someone has wronged you or let you down, it can prove difficult to forgive and forget.

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Forgiveness, however, is not about letting someone of the hook: it’s more about letting yourself off the hook! You see, forgiveness not only takes tremendous stress out of any situation, but it also sets you free. Why? Because if you hold on to anger, bitterness and resentment, they will only eat away at you, keeping you a prisoner of your feelings and hurting yourself in the meantime. It does you no good, and it also ensures that any steps you take towards your beautiful life will be in vain. So do yourself a favor, forgive and then move on with your life.

7. Look at things from a new perspective.

In times of trouble, when your circumstances leave a lot to be desired, it can be difficult to see what you are going through as a gift. However, if you look at the struggle as a new learning opportunity and ask yourself: “What is this situation trying to teach me?” you’ll go a long way to living a more beautiful life.

It’s that change in perspective that makes the harder times seem less so because you are taking the situation and turning it around. This is a wonderful way to view your life because the more you are mindful of what you can learn in any given situation, the more you will breeze through your struggles with effortless grace. Now that sounds great, don’t you think?

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8. Be more flexible in your thinking.

When our thinking is rigid and inflexible, it gives little room for change or improvement. To live a beautiful life it is beneficial to have the kind of mind that can be open and flexible, so that new information or unexpected situations can be grasped with less drama or stress. It’s when we are flexible in our approach to life we can enjoy and experience it with unbound possibilities.

9. Expect the best not the worst.

Life can be a roller-coaster ride, with its ups and downs, as well as triumphs and disappointments. When we expect the very best from people and situations, we start to fill our lives with a more positive outlook, as well as creating a more compassionate and understanding environment. If you learn to expect the best, you’ll bring more situations to you that will only ever be the best!

10. Live a beautiful life to make a difference in the world.

This isn’t about preaching to others on how you’ve changed your life, but more about being the kind of person who inspires others to live a beautiful life too. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” In short, if you want to see a difference in the world and to make it a more beautiful place, then start with yourself!

So, are you ready to live a beautiful life?

Featured photo credit: Flickr sierra ryan via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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