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Back to Basics: Life Pillars That Still Matter, That We Sometimes Neglect

How simplifying our framework can help us be happy

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Some people seem to have it all figured out. Others can’t seem to catch a break, no matter what they do. If we really zoom out and look at our lives, we can certainly identify times that making a different decision would have changed everything in a big way. The problem is that it’s hard to zoom out when you’re mired in the reality of the moment. 

Most people learn pretty well from their mistakes, making necessary adjustments so that the next time a similar situation occurs, they handle it better. That’s the best we can hope for, since mistakes will inevitably be made. 

It’s best to let yourself go back to the basics, when you start to feel that bad decisions, doubt, and insecurities are the rule and not so much the exception. It’s really not hard to simplify your life and it may be exactly what you need. 

Here are some basic pillars that you may need to dust off and revisit.

Empathy

Those that are successful at life, spend a lot of time thinking about others. This mindset of empathy and compassion for others, takes us out of self-centeredness and reminds us that the world is bigger than what happens to us or within our four walls. It reframes how decisions are made, setting the foundation for all that follows. Many sociologists theorize that empathy is among the greatest keys to our survival. Looking out for each other unifies us and helps us strive to progress as a whole, rather than as individuals.

Clear and Honest Communication

Don’t hold back your feelings, but share them kindly and candidly. There is no reason to be rude, and no reason to hold anything back. The truth shouldn’t be withheld for fear of the repercussions, nor should you ever lose your cool. Transparency is beautifully cleansing and relieves stress because your issues are out in the open and not simmering under the surface.

Family-However you define it

Family, however that looks for you, should be a focus. Your family may not look like everyone else’s, and it may not be perfect, but there surely is something there worth salvaging. Whether a family you’re born into, or a relationship that has become “like family”, that bond is sacred and it’s important to make time to nurture it. Much like empathy, putting effort in your family pays off to you as much as the other person. It doesn’t take much, let’s be serious. Just pick up the phone and plan something. We’re all busy, but there are only a handful of people in your life that know you the way these people do, and you can surely make time. Take care of this relationship, you may not need it right this minute, but you likely will at some point. 

Faith

Faith gets a bad rap sometimes, not sure why. You have to believe in an unbridled way in something bigger than yourself. Again, whatever that is to you. For me, it’s God. When things get really hard, or painful, or unbearable, I know I can turn there. It’s a comfort and it centers me once again. Believing that we are at the center of everything, doesn’t give us much when it’s time to be grateful for all that is good, or when it is not so good. There’s nowhere to take those feelings and emotions, and that can feel lonely and empty. Find a way to connect in a spiritual way to something that feels right to you. By doing so, you have given yourself an avenue to pour out the gratitude, the pain, and the questions, without worrying how you will have to deliver it to your audience. 

Community

Interacting with our peers, whether socially or spiritually is vital. When we think of life as a pie, community is a giant piece that is needed to make you whole. You can work, have your family and your faith, but community supports you differently. It gives you an opportunity to have an outlet for physical health, helping others, stepping away from daily responsibilities for a moment, and expanding your mind beyond what happens day to day. This is an easy one to let slide, since being busy is our favorite thing to do it seems. When you cancel plans, or put off the opportunity to have this interaction, you’re really denying yourself balance and variety. It’s the part that can be a little unpredictable and pleasantly surprising. Let’s not forget that it can bring you joy in a different way, and that’s very underrated.

When life gets super complicated, you can get a lot from stepping back and looking closely at your pillars. They are essentially your personal core values. Looking at the whole of your life and really examining if you’re living into those values, can answer a lot about your state of being. Things can feel unbalanced, as if you’re lacking some purpose or even just like you’re unbalanced or that something is just “off”.

And when you start to get that feeling of “something is missing”, it probably is.

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