Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Although, I am sure that most of us wish it did. There are no guidelines for how your life is supposed to go. Often times we are just ‘winging it’, hoping for the best. Sure, there are the Ten Commandments for those who are religious, but they are pretty general, obvious, and somewhat out-of-date.
I can’t tell you how to live your life, choose where you are going to go, or what you are going to do. I can’t tell you what you should and shouldn’t do because every person’s life has different circumstances and different outcomes. However, I can share with you the unwritten rules I live by, and allow you to decide if they might work for you. Many of these ‘rules‘ are just basic common sense. You may already adhere to some of them, while others may not be your taste.
I am not telling you that this is the way you should live your life, I am sharing the way I live mine.
Unwritten Rules For Life:
Get Comfortable With Yourself, Flaws and All
There is no such thing as perfect. Even if the cover of Maxim seems to be saying (or screaming) otherwise. The truth is, no one in the world looks ‘perfect’. Perfect has nothing to do with looks, and everything to do with emotions. So, embrace your body, flaws and all.
People come in all shapes and sizes. We act differently, we think differently and we enjoy different things. No two people are exactly alike, not even identical twins. Accept your body no matter your size, color, or style. It’s the only one you’ve got, and it is perfect. Perfectly YOU.
If you spend your life wishing you were someone else (or wishing you looked like someone else) you will end up deeply disappointed. Spend time loving your body. Get to know it and find ways to flaunt it.
Being comfortable in your skin, no matter what shape or size, is one of the sexiest things in the world.
Be The Change You Want To See In The World.
It is easy for us to sit back and talk about how we should live our lives. Even easier to talk about how others should live their lives. But it takes a real effort to put those thoughts into action for ourselves.
If you feel like someone should be nicer, happier, more open with you, try being those things to them. The saying ‘treat others the way you wish to be treated’, goes beyond just respect. If you are being the person you truly wish everyone else was, you are showing others that you expect that same in return. If you wish the world was more caring, be more caring yourself. Perhaps through volunteering at a charity or doing some other good deed. By doing so, you are setting the bar for others to follow.
You can not expect to make a change by just sitting around and wishing. You have to get up, get out, and take action. Ask yourself, ‘If not you, who? If not now, how?‘
Realize That Honesty Is Overrated.
Okay, this title is a bit deceiving. Honesty is not actually overrated. However, it has a time and a place. It is important that we are truthful with others (and with ourselves). Nevertheless, there are going to be times in life when honesty is not the best policy. This is not meant to encourage lies. Rather, encourage avoidance when the truth might hurt another person or will not help them in any way.
You know that moment when a friend asks you if they look fat? THAT is one of these moments. You don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings simply for the sake of telling the truth, but you don’t want to lie and hurt them either. If you are feeling uncomfortable with the truth, take a moment to assess how it would make you feel. If it would upset you, chances are it will upset someone else.
In these moments it is probably best to either avoid or fib, for the other persons own good.
*One possible way to derail this uncomfortable question is to ask the person, “How do you ‘feel’?” There is no real way to avoid this situation of course, but the person asking you is usually looking for reassurance, in which case the best response is probably, “I think you are beautiful.”
Accept That The True Meaning Of Life Is What You Make It
Humans have spent thousands of years searching for an answer that has been right in front of them all along. The true meaning of life is what you choose.
There is no proof that we are here to serve any specific purpose. A manual on how we should be living has yet to be found. What we should be doing or why we are here is anybody’s guess.
Life is a series of events that pass rather quickly. If you’re lucky, in the end, you’ll have had some great times, and have some great memories.
Make your life’s purpose to live the best life you possibly can.
Treat Every Person You Meet As a Potential Teacher.
Every single person we meet in life has the potential to become a teacher. Lessons are a huge part of what makes us who we are. We learn these lessons many different ways, through our parents and our upbringing. Through our education and our careers. Through our friends and acquaintances, and even through strangers. Some of the greatest lessons I have learned in life have come by complete surprise. Some of the greatest conversations I have had have occurred with complete strangers. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Take time to talk to the lady on the bus or the man who sits on the corner.
You never really know what you might learn. Knowledge is a big part of living a happier and more fulfilling life.
Chances Are You Will Regret It More If You Don’t Do It Than You Will If You Do.
One of the most important things to remember is that life is all about taking risks. Well, it is if you actually want to LIVE.
If you live your life always worrying about the worst that can happen, nothing will ever happen at all. Life is short. Before you know it you will be wondering where the time went with nothing but a bucket list full of regrets.
Risks are meant to be just that, risks. Even when the worst does happen, it’s usually not as bad as it seems and is probably less of a regret than not attempting the task at all.
There will be times when your attempts fail. There will be times when these risks bring you sadness or pain. Still, there will also be times when they work out perfectly and lead to even greater things. The best thing to do is stop, think and follow your instincts.
Some of the most amazing people in this world would not be known if they hadn’t taken a risk or two in their time. What have you got to lose?
Gratitude Is The Heart of Happiness
I write about gratitude a lot on this site. This is because I truly believe that gratitude is the heart of happiness.
Life is always going to be full of ups and downs. Bad things are always going to happen. There will always be times when you are left asking ‘why me?‘ but there will also (always) be those who are worse off than you. Those who have so much less food, money, family, friends, etc.
Look around your right now, what do you see? Chances are if you are reading this you have a computer (or access to one). You probably ate dinner tonight and odds are you will have breakfast tomorrow. Perhaps, your sitting in a house, apartment or even a trailer. Maybe your living in a shelter. Whatever the case, you have a roof over your head. Thus, you are so blessed. When you take time to look around you and truly consider all the things you have to be thankful for in your life, you will soon realize how much you actually have.
Each day take a moment to be thankful for something, big or small. The more gratitude you give, the more things you will find to be thankful for. It really is contagious.
Gratitude is the stepping stone to positive living and one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
A Sense of Humor Is Always More Important Than Appearance
There comes a point in everyone’s life when they realize that looks are not everything. In fact, there comes a point when we start to grow up and realize that looks are the furthest thing from everything that there can possibly be.
Sure, everyone wants to look ‘good’, but being good-looking becomes less important the older you get. Values, personality, and a sense of humor start to move up on our list of qualities. As we grow, we start to see beyond outer appearances to the person that is inside.
Truthfully, the top quality I suggest you seek in a partner or a friend (and even in yourself) is a sense of humor. Laughter is the best medicine, and long after the looks are gone, laughter will be what’s important.
Freedom Sometimes Comes In The Form Of Words
Stress takes a toll on your body and your mind. Letting it all out is a great stress release but it can sometimes backfire. If you are feeling stressed, odds are your judgment is not going to be at its finest. So, voicing your frustrations out-loud is not always the best choice.
When something is really getting to me and I just can’t shake it, I tend to turn to writing. Writing in a journal has been a great help for me personally. It helped me to work out many things I would not have otherwise resolved on my own.
It is amazing how putting thoughts on paper often helps to bring them into perspective. When looked upon afterward, writing often allows us to see the problem in a different light.
Talking to friends and family is a blessing, but companions tend to take sides. They will often agree with you or tread lightly to avoid upsetting or offending you. Paper doesn’t lie. The thoughts you have will be there, in black and white, without any bias.
Writing has helped me a great deal and it is something that I regularly suggest to others. The key is to sit down and simply write, without any thoughts or editing. When you are writing freely in this way, the truth tends to shine through and the clutter is quickly cleared away.
We have usually worked out a solution in our minds but the clutter and chaos of daily life can block that out. This is especially true when stress levels are running high. Getting it all out of your head and on to a page might make it easier to understand.
Never Ever Compromise Who You Truly Are, For ANYTHING
Do you remember those ‘peer pressure’ videos you were shown in school? Life has a lot of that. In fact, the pressure to live up to other people’s standards runs rampant every single day.
Those who watched those videos thought, “That will never happen to me” but it has happened, time and time again without you even knowing.
We all have to conform to some degree. Clearly, you can not go to work as a lawyer in the Supreme Court wearing ripped jeans and a Led Zeppelin T-shirt, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose that part of yourself entirely.
The same goes for your beliefs, values, thoughts, and passions. Who you are is composed of a great number of things, and who you are is fantastic. No matter where life takes you, no matter who you meet or what you do, NEVER EVER lose sight of who you truly are inside. It is that person that has taken you where you are today. When everyone and everything else is said and done, it is that person you have to look at in the mirror and live with the rest of your life.
Don’t be afraid to let your true colors shine, even if it is only in little ways. That person is what makes you unique, and it is that person that will make you happy.
As I said, there is no handbook for life. No set way to live that ensures you will be happy and abundant. There are no set rules that tell us what we should or shouldn’t do. We have to make the choices that fit us best. We must do the things we are most comfortable with, and live the life that is going to make us happy.
The list above is not meant to tell you how you should be living your life, how you should think, or what you should be doing. It is simply a few of the things I do to make myself happy. They may work for you as well.
All in all, it comes down to you. You are the only person who knows what you need to be happy. The answer is inside of you, you just have to listen to yourself.
What are some of the unwritten rules you live by?
What advice would you give others on how to live a full life?
Feel free to share your thoughts and tips in the comments section below, and as always stories/submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Until Next Time,
Live Life to the Fullest.