Gandhi, that great peacemaker and inspirational leader, applied a simple motto to his life. It read, “My life is my message.”
Gandhi understood that we communicate with everyone we encounter each day; our lives are the books read by others, and our message is shared through our attitudes, values, beliefs, thoughts, words and actions – everything that drives us daily.
The message of your life consists of three very important components. Through it:
- You guide yourself to what is possible;
- You guide others about what is most important to you and what they can expect of you; and
- You affect and influence the larger environment around you.
What does your life message say? Your message will always communicate what is most important to you. If you wish for your life to have positive impact, it is essential to cultivate awareness of the issues that occupy your time and attention.
You shape your life through the power of your attention. Whatever you pay attention to, think about, dwell on, talk, worry or obsess about, will increase and multiply until it affects who you become.
- If you constantly think about what frightens you, you will become more fearful.
- If you constantly think about how unfair life is, you will see more reasons to support this view.
- If you believe you are worthless, your choices and behaviors will reflect that belief.
- If you feel entitled to be angry, you will find more and more to be angry about.
Likewise, when you pay close attention to what is positive, hopeful, supportive, uplifting and encouraging, your life and sense of self will inevitably reflect that.
You alone have the power to choose what you cultivate in the inner garden of your mind. Whatever your circumstances, you can direct your attention to what will most positively affect your attitudes and actions.
Your personal attitudes and values will lift your spirits or dash them far more effectively than anything outside yourself!
You will enjoy happiness and inner harmony to the same extent that you practice self-awareness and self-knowledge. It is self-knowledge that guides your choice of what to focus on. The more self-knowledge you develop, the more self-empowered you become.
Self-knowledge empowers you to argue for your strengths instead of your limitations. It calls on you to recognize your inner strengths and capabilities, and bring them to life in the face of old habits that would hold you back.
Self-knowledge fosters trust in yourself and in the choices you make. There is no short-cut to self-knowledge; it is best acquired while in the thick of living where it grows from keen awareness and observation as your life unfolds.
Your life is your message, and self-knowledge allows you to fine-tune that message. By observing your life and actions, you cultivate the self-awareness necessary to fulfill your life purpose in the most optimal way. Here are a few pointers to get you started:
Observe your impact on other people. Put yourself in their shoes. See yourself from their perspective. Listen to yourself. Know what your moods are and how they affect everyone around you. When you don’t like what you see, change it!
Listen carefully to your own stories. Your stories shape your character, temperament and sense of what is possible, so know what your stories are. How do you habitually describe the impact of life events on you? What themes do you emphasize? Which stories do you keep harking back to? When you see the impact of the stories you tell, you can also change those stories for more optimal outcomes.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps even more important than your strengths, is the awareness of what challenges you. Both strengths and obstacles have lots to teach you. True happiness is found by being aware of your weaknesses, yet choosing to claim the best of who you are.
Find out what matters to you. What do you talk about most persistently? Where are you focusing your time, money and attention? If it does not bring you the outcomes you desire, perhaps it is time to shift your focus.
Notice what makes you happy. What makes you feel genuinely excited and alive? What inspires and moves you? What fascinates you? Focus on these things, and they will surely expand in your life.
Notice what dampens your moods. What are the thoughts that drive your fearful thinking? When you become aware of the thoughts that drive your moods and spin you into fear, anxiety or depression, you can change them to positive ones. Moods are driven by thoughts, not the other way around.
Notice how much you learn from your mistakes. There is no failure in life; there is only learning. Cultivating this attitude will save you from repeating self-destructive behaviors. It also allows you to be less fearful and defensive because you’ll increasingly act from self-awareness instead of ignorance.
Learn from other people. It has been said that smart people learn from their experiences; brilliant people learn from the experiences of others. When you appreciate the experiences of others, you do not need to repeat them for your own learning; instead, you can avoid pitfalls and focus on optimal actions.
Get to know your inner world. You are the only companion you have for life. By getting to understand your own dreams, hopes and wishes, you’re able to support yourself in the best possible way to reach those goals while maintaining a sense of inner harmony.
Stay curious. Children are wonderful teachers because their minds are not cluttered with value judgments of good and bad. The more curiosity you cultivate about life, the more you will move out of judgment and into the field of possibilities from where magic happens.
Your life is your message; self-knowledge is the skill that allows you to communicate most effectively with yourself, others and the world around you.
About the author
©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.