Want to live a meaningful life?
Four things I have learned will help you on your way, best of all, they are FREE!
This past week was a bittersweet one for sure. My Great Aunt passed away at the blessed age of 93. She is the last of her generation for my family and was an adoptive grandmother to me and my brother. Being a true New Englander, she was not the cuddly type who made brownies when I visited. Instead, she taught me hard work, the meaning of your word, and how to build a circle of great people.
It wasn’t until the past 15 years or so that she blossomed as a grandmother, giving hugs, and smiles each time I saw her. I get emotional as I write this just thinking of her amazing life. I aspire to be like her every moment.
What made her life so meaningful? It’s the same that makes mine meaningful and yours too!
First things first, you need to love how God made you.
This does take time. If you are blessed to wake up in the morning and love every inch of yourself, that is awesome! Personally, I have to work at this each day. It is easy once you realize that you were made beautifully. Each stitch of your DNA was put together with love and there is a plan for you to be happy. One action step you can take is to look at yourself in the mirror and say “I love you as you are”. Say this each day and see how your life will change!
Second, give more hugs.
This makes so many meaningful connections and bonds. Breaking that barrier of human contact can be so powerful, you will be remembered. I was taught years ago that we all need at least six hugs a day to survive and eight hugs to grow. Imagine how your life will be if you give eight hugs a day??? Don’t let my warm/friendly demeanor fool you, I’m very shy and it sometimes takes all the willpower I have to give a hug. The reason I keep at it is because I’ve hugged folks that really needed it. Some were hurting, some were lonely, and some were just joyful people. A friend once told me I gave the most healing hugs she had ever known. I think the reason was because I care about other people and found that hugging heals.
If you are new to the whole physical contact thing, take it in baby steps. Handshakes, fist bumps, and pats on the back are a good start.
Third way to have a meaningful life is to smile more.
Even if you have a resting witch face like I sometimes do, it is important to smile. Smiling through pain, depression, heartache, and sadness eases the effects of the moment. When I smile, others smile. I once heard a very tragic story about a man who gave up on this world and if he saw one person smiling between his house and his destination, then his determined fate would change. No one smiled. I decided after hearing this story that I needed to be very intentional about smiling. Granted I take it a step further with my crazy pink hair and colorful clothing.
An easy way to start is to put notes around your space saying “SMILE” and do your best each day. If there is someone who is trying to drag you down, think of them breaking wind or a funny joke.
Fourth and final thought for helping to lead a meaningful life is to pay it forward.
Like the movie from so long ago, the idea still stands. If you’ve not seen the movie “Pay it Forward” I suggest you do! Whether you tithe, give random acts of kindness, or help out as a volunteer, giving makes life more meaningful. There have been times in my life when I had very little, but simply giving what I could helped me appreciate what I did have.
There was a day when I was twelve years old that I had to buy a pair of tights for my dance recital. I had to get a specific brand that was not cheap. I was impatient and wanted to buy them, but my mom was scheduled to be a server at a soup kitchen the same afternoon. I went with her complaining all the way there. When I arrived, I was polite and began to help out. My eyes were opened to people who had nothing. Mothers with children, war veterans, elderly, men looking for work, and immigrants. People with hopes and dreams like I had. For one afternoon, they could eat a warm meal and I decided to treat them like royalty. I would say “Sir” or “Ma’am” like I was properly raised to. I would smile and take their bowls away, asking if they wanted more. After the day was finished, those tights meant a little more to me. It was not until a few years later when I was almost homeless myself that I could truly appreciate what a small gesture truly means.
Loving yourself, giving hugs, smiling, and paying it forward are four action steps you can take today to make your life more meaningful and best of all, they are FREE. The more these steps are put into practice, the more they will become second nature.
My aunt was one who definitely did all of these steps and more. I was able to sing at her service and the moment after the reception was done, the heavens opened up after a cloudy day for just a moment to beam a ray of sunshine for me to see. I believe that was her smiling at me one last time.
What story has helped you in your journey of living a meaningful life?
God bless you and keep you safe!
Best Always <3,