By Kerine Wint
Consider Having your Own Life Philosophy
The concept of knowing or creating one’s own body of knowledge to guide and inform one’s perspective is something I believe we should all be paying special attention to. Everyone has a philosophy on life, whether they realize it or not. The process of refining this philosophy will allow you to have something to carry you through rough times and allow you to easily enjoy and appreciate the pleasant moments.
Philosophy refers to a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behavior. I’ve always been intrigued, and confused by the various types of philosophies that exist and are constantly being blasted whether for finding ways to be happy, to be successful or for finding life fulfillment. All of these philosophies are great in theory until you find contradictions or feel overwhelmed by the life changes you’d have to make to follow-through.
What I’m more interested in is the moral and metaphysical sides of philosophy — ethos, and logos, to put names to it — where we can navigate through right and wrong, virtue, causation, existence; and all the other abstract constructs our lives are plagued by.
Like myself, there may come a time when you’ll find that it’s difficult to build the courage to forge your own path. Despite that, one thing I always try to remember is that my life and life goals are entirely perspectival. Each person’s experience, and thus their perspectives, are unique and it’s only fair to try and accommodate that by creating one’s own abstract rules to live by. Fortunately, establishing a personal philosophy is an endless task – your ideas on life and how you choose to live it will constantly evolve with you.
As you get older, become awakened to new ideas, and learn hard lessons from tough experiences, you’re bound to undergo a few course corrections along the way. As long as you have your basic principles and are comfortable in them, you can have that tailored-compass to all the things you want to become.
One You; Your Philosophy
Ask Yourself This
- What are your values? What do you consider to be important in your life? Create a list of those things and narrow it down to between three or five items. You can care about a ton of things but when you find yourself in certain dilemmas it helps to assess your options. When push comes to shove, and you find yourself caught in a tricky dilemma, you’ll need something of which to assess your options by. When you’ve chosen your top three to five values, it becomes easier to know when your life isn’t on the path you want it to be. You know that when these core values are violated, you need to step back and reevaluate what’s happening around you. Think carefully about the things you keep in high regard and that will ensure that the decisions you make will align with your individuality.
- What do YOU think your purpose is? A lot of us may not really know what that is yet but luckily, your purpose isn’t finite. Just as you evolve, so should your purpose. You aren’t the same person you were five years ago, and the lessons you’ve learned have probably changed your outlook on many things. So, whatever it is you want to get out of life – or put back into the world – make it a part of your philosophy. It’ll give you clear goals and base for your philosophy to continue to evolve too.
- What are your habits? Habits make up a big part of your life and being conscious of what they are is crucial. Your personal philosophy has to include your habits because these will become the ways that it becomes incorporated into your life. Like everything else, you can create habits based on your own unique traits. The ebb and flow of your everyday life. The possibilities are infinite so don’t be afraid to experiment. See what works; review what doesn’t. The creation of good habits — like most things — is a process of trial and error, but it’s important to get them right.
- What meaning should it have for you? Good life philosophies should make you feel good and great ones will keep you happy even in troubling circumstances. And with that happiness, there should be meaning. Your personal philosophy should make you feel useful and valuable, otherwise when pleasurable moments fade you are left with nothing. You should be able to apply it in all situations and circumstances. Your strategy for deriving meaning and happiness should last even after things like a breakup, a death of a relative, or unemployment.
If you can’t see where to begin, just use your existing philosophy as a starting point. Everyone has one whether they believe it or not. By starting with the principles you already live by, you’re simply just refining it to make it complementary to the person you are today. You could also study other philosophies and make a hybrid that suits your individuality.
Don’t worry about being “corrupted” by a new way of thinking, nor should you be afraid of having conflicting principles once you can comfortably distinguish which are useful when. Allow yourself to explore the possibilities. And honestly? See what’s out there first just in case there’s something that fits perfectly. Like I mentioned before, your philosophy, like yourself, will evolve so don’t get hung up on using it for the rest of your life.
Lastly, don’t complicate it. Your philosophy shouldn’t feel like a grave burden. It should make you feel stable, confident, and excited by possibilities, adventure, and opportunities.
This article was originally published on Witted Roots.