There is so much advice around on ways to live a good life but really, the rules are so simple. Goodness is not a mysterious quality. Here goes:
Kindness is underrated. Being kind is what makes you human. If kindness doesn’t come easily, then try and “walk a mile” in someone else’s shoes. Put yourself in their position and decide how you would like to be treated. You will find kindness in the answer. The biblical text of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a solid message which puts kindness into perspective.
A massive commodity in today’s world is time. Most people do not have enough of it. And they certainly don’t have time to squander waiting for someone who is late. So think about what you are costing someone when you waste their time. Time is precious, it could be spent with a loved one or helping someone or just having time out. Don’t waste other people’s time.
Pay Your Debts
Paying your debts is not only about money. It’s about putting back what you get out. Your parents put a lot into your upbringing, you have to put back when they are old and need care. If your neighbour helps you fix your car, then you need to help someone else out. The helping hand isn’t always the one who gets back – pass the help on by helping someone else in return.
Save whatever you can, time, money, water, electricity. Don’t penny pinch but don’t waste. Be moderate in your consumption, don’t use everything up and leave nothing for the next generation.
When you use something, put it back. Everything should have a place and, unless it’s in use, put it back. Look after your possessions. Don’t leave a mess behind you – and this is meant figuratively as well. Keep your relationships neat and don’t mess up other people’s lives.
Find Your Soul
Religion is a personal thing but everyone should believe in something. Do you know what you believe in? If not, spend time in meditation and find out. If you have found your soul, nurture it. Don’t leave it unattended for too long or you’ll loose it.
Movement is important to every living thing and there is nothing more uplifting than walking. Walking in the park, walking on the beach, walking in the city, walking with friends. When walking you are self propelled and independent. Walk far and walk for long periods. Don’t forget to sometimes walk alone, maybe that’s where you’ll find your soul.
Creativity is a gift. Something which defines us as human beings. It also is a source of relaxation and can be as simple as planting herbs in the garden, knitting a scarf, preparing a meal. Taking various elements and putting them together your way. Making something from where there was nothing.
Keep In Touch
There are people who love and value you. Keep in touch with them. Return their phone calls, visit them and send them an email. Remember your long standing friends, they are the ones who’ll be a comfort when you are old. Treasure relationships and don’t loose them due to neglect. Remember especially to keep in touch with your elderly relatives. One day, when they have left this world, you’ll regret the time you could have spent with them.
Dignify Your Work
Work is noble. No matter what you do. If someone is willing to pay you to do something, do it well and with pride. If you are unhappy with your work, find something else to do. If you cannot find another job, then be grateful for the one you have.
Don’t allow anyone to treat you with disrespect. If you are living a good life and doing the best you can with what you have, no one has the right to disrespect you. If your children are rude. Walk away from them. Don’t engage. By distancing yourself from the person who is treating you badly, you show your strength. When the situation has calmed down, try to re-engage with that person in a quiet manner.
Listen To Your Body
Your body is powerful. Listen to it. When you are tired, rest. Don’t sit up watching TV, go to bed, lie quietly and wait for sleep to come. If you feel ill and want to try a home remedy, that’s fine. But if you don’t make a quick recovery, get help. Don’t suffer unnecessarily. If you have a disability, learn all you can about it and then work out how you can live the best life you can under the circumstances – then do it!
Trust Your Instincts
If something feels wrong, it probably is. I have a default saying “If in doubt, don’t”. It has seen me through some difficult situations. Your instincts are an amazing tool, allow them to take control.
Everyone of us who has a home, food, work, intelligence, functioning bodies, family has so much to be grateful for. Don’t let what you don’t have undermine what you do have. Treasure what you have and work with relish for the things you want.
Finally, make the most of what you have, every single day. I love the saying “Every day is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.”