On this Labor Day (a holiday celebrating resting from work in the U.S, though, ironically I’m working that day!) Weekend, I have been thinking a lot about what my future may be, what I’m doing with my life now, and how I can improve myself and help others. What I keep coming back to, in pondering all this, are these following convictions on which I base my life. These convictions have developed both by my growing relationship with God, and all the things that I have been learning from those that God has put in my life. Here are these convictions, how I plan to continue to implement them into my life, and some of the people who inspire me to live these:
- Be authentic.—There is little else that angers me more than someone who lives to lie and deceive others, or who claim to have a life of truth and love, but their actions tell others, otherwise. On the other hand, I appreciate those who are able to be honest and vulnerable, even at the risk of their own reputations. I aim to be someone who appreciates, encourages, and lives authenticity. I want people to be able to be real with me. I do not appreciate when people lie because they are too afraid to tell the truth. When people share their hearts with me without hesitation and with all honesty, I always strive to value that. One person that I believe had an authentic soul was Rachel Joy Scott, one of my faith heroes, who was murdered in a school shooting, almost 20 years ago. She didn’t hesitate to write about and discuss her struggles with her faith, and she lived her faith in Christ well–loving others as she had been loved by God and others through caring about the new people in her school, the disabled, and the hurting.
- Do your best.—My dad always encourages me to do my best, even when doing so, may not always produce desirable results. My dad does not expect perfection of my brother and me, but he does expect our very best. However, I did not fully heed this practice until an incident in fourth or fifth grade, when I refused to read a book about the Gold Rush because it bored me to death. However, when I had to do a presentation about it, I had to read (or at least, skim) the book in order to do well on it. I ended up passing this portion by the skin of my teeth. Since then, I have almost always strived to do my best with what I could. This has led me to try my best to achieve what I can in many areas of my life, including my job and my relationships with others.
- Never stop caring about other people.—I wrote once, as my Facebook status, that we become monsters when we stop caring about others. I have seen that monstrous part come out in even myself when I stop caring about other people. Too many times, I have seen or heard about it coming out in others who stopped caring, even if only for a moment, too. Thus, I aim to never stop caring about others, as much as possible. Yes, sometimes constantly caring about those around me can be exhausting and even overwhelming, but I think it is still worth it. When you genuinely care about others, you can change lives for the better. When I try to encourage those who need it, I find that they are more joyful and have at least some of the needed boost to their day. We care about others mainly by assigning value to them. One way you can do this today is to write a heartfelt note to someone who has made a positive difference in your life or by verbally and sincerely thanking them. Sometimes we all need the encouragement that our good deeds and efforts matter in this life, and that someone cares about us. My favorite aunt has always striven to care about others. I have written in a previous post, that when she offered to host us during our trip to see her and the rest of our relatives, she became very ill. Despite this, she continued doing what she could to care for and accommodate us. I aim to be like her in caring about the people in my life.
- Live with passion.—For many years, I have lived with little passion. Sure, I had, what I would call, “bursts of passion,” but they never lasted more than a couple of weeks. However, since getting my current job and being part of my current church, I have had renewed passion for life. I aim to be passionate about everything I do. For instance, at my job, I do not just want to do enough to “get by,” but I want to do my very best, with a positive and energetic attitude. Yes, sometimes I will fail at this, but this is my goal every single day. I do not want to delve into a depressed or passionless life anymore, but I want to do everything with meaning, purpose, and/or joy. My friend Veronica* (*=not her real name) lives with passion. Not only does she aim to care about those around her, but she aims to live with passion and joy in everything she does. Her smile and her infectiously joyful spirit are the attitudes I want to possess also for myself.
- Look for the best in people always.—With all the negativity in the world and in social media, I want to “upset the apple cart,” so to speak, by looking for the best in humanity, rather than dwelling on the worst in humanity. I aim to watch more positive videos, both on YouTube and elsewhere, about people doing kind and uplifting things for others. I aim to try to remove myself from conversations where people are speaking negatively and gossiping about someone else. In my aim to encourage people, I want to be able to look to the best in the people who I surround myself, and help the light in them shine and grow.
These are the five convictions I strive to live by, not only to be successful in my own life, but, more importantly, to share the love I found in God and others, with those in my life. We should always be authentic, so we can give others the chance to love us for who we really are, not just an image we project to outsiders. We should always do our best so we can be satisfied that we did all we could in life, and have no regrets about what we did or didn’t do. We should care about others, so that we can make a positive difference in this world and bring love to others. We should live with passion, so that we always have hope and purpose in our lives. Finally, when we look for the best in others, we can help the sunshine in them grow and thrive.