Loving Life? (Part 1)

I recently read an article that was shared on Facebook titled, “10 Things That The People Who Love Their Lives Are Doing Differently,” by Paul Hudson, originally posted on elitedaily.com.

This article intrigued me because I do consider myself to be someone who loves my life. However, I found several items on this list that I’m not doing very well. So, I thought I’d take each “philosophy” listed and do a bit of “virtual” self-analyzing. I’ll post one item weekly.

After all, there’s always room to love my life a little more.

Here’s the first thing people who love their lives do differently:

flowers in skagway (2)

They don’t bother trying to make others like them — mainly because they don’t care if they’re liked.

It’s ironic that this is the first “loving life philosophy” listed, because in my opinion (and the opinion of those closest to me) it’s the one I most need to improve.

So I’ll admit it. I do care if I’m liked. It kind of goes with trying to be perfect. The thing is, everyone has a different idea of what “perfect” is, so that pretty much makes trying to be perfect an impossible task.

Besides, perfect is boring. Instead, I try to remember wabi-sabi–beauty in imperfection.

Following is but a sampling of how this little quirk of mine has impacted my life:

  • I keep my opinions to myself. For instance, during the last presidential election, when friends often got into heated discussions, I kept my mouth shut, though I certainly had some strong opinions. For a long time, I actually feared being shunned for my differing political beliefs, like I had a contagious disease or something. And that’s only a slight exaggeration.
  • It sometimes causes writer’s block. I’ll write something and think, “No, ‘so-and-so’ won’t like it if I say that.” When a writer is afraid of what someone will think (AKA, fear of being disliked,) it’s as if an 800 lb gorilla is sitting on her keyboard. Nothing gets written.
  • I disregard my needs to try to please someone else. Finally, now that I’m in my umpteenth decade, I’ve learned that this is only a temporary fix. It can take years even, but the “real” me ALWAYS finds her way out.

One of the beauties of getting older is the benefit of lessons I’ve learned along the way. Living my life so that others will like me is rather like walking on a tightrope. I feel my way, one step at a time, always afraid that a misstep will cause me to fall.

I’ve fallen many times, and sometimes, when I stood up for myself without regard to what someone else thought, I did lose them. But, I didn’t fall. I grew wings.

On this philosophy, I’ve come a long way. But I’m still a work-in-progress.

Want to play along? Just leave a comment and let me know what you think. Do you love your life? Do you agree? Disagree? Any additions?

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15 Responses to Loving Life? (Part 1)

  1. Dear Jan,

    Loved your essay. I join you in the “work-in-progress” club and we’re not talking about books. LOL!

    I can so relate to everything you said here.

    Looking forward to our first person to person meeting in near future. 🙂

    Kathy

  2. Great look at happiness and life. The older I get the less I worry about people liking me. Odd, they usually do, but I have my share of “enemies” as do we all. I don’t give a rat’s behind, though. One thing I’ve learned is that usually dislike is mutual, so why distress about it? One thing I do try not to do is hurt someone’s feelings with remarks that serve no purpose but to hurt. Then I’ll walk away. Life is a tough road sometimes, and we never know what someone else is struggling with. Best to be kind and feel better about yourself because of it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for making my day. I thought I would be half and half on the questions, but I did better than I thought. This is wonderful. Your essay was great.

  4. Jan, I think at bottom, most people want to be liked and if they say not, they’re mostly fooling themselves. That being said, I think it’s more what you’re willing to do or give up to be liked that matters. We also have to realize that no matter how nice we are, what we do, what we say or don’t say, there will always be some people who just don’t like us and maybe even some who are hateful. I’ve always found that hard to accept but I’m better at letting go and walking away now that I’m older.

    I also find that the internet can be a minefield for this sort of thing because it’s even easier to be misunderstood than in person. Without body language, tone of voice and so forth, it’s difficult to tell how to take some things, even when written very carefully. Hence the use of emoticons, exclamation points and over-the-top comments/compliments, I think.

    Having said all that, I still do battle with myself in this area at times and have felt hurt. I’ve stopped myself from writing something, especially if it’s about a relative or friend, even if it would make a good story, or I have to at least change enough to make it not so obvious. Works in progress we are, Yoda.

    janet

    • Jan Morrill says:

      I completely agree with you about the internet, Janet. It has desensitized us on one hand and has made us less empathetic. When the human element is taken out of a situation, we lose our respect and ability to resolve conflict. We no longer learn from each other.

  5. Pingback: Loving Life? (Part 2) | Jan Morrill Writes

  6. Pingback: Loving Life? Part 3 | Jan Morrill Writes

  7. I think… it is nice to be liked, but it shouldn’t be so important to us that we are not true to ourselves . If people like us, great! If not, it isn’t the end of the world 🙂

  8. Pingback: Loving Life: Part 5 AND Something New: Day 3 | Jan Morrill Writes

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