“Living your best life”. I use this term now and I hear it more and more. But I’ve been asked what does it actually mean. You may have used it yourself and I reckon you will have heard of it too.
It’s a good question really because when I hear and see it used today it’s not always used in the same way I would use it. So I wanted to do a blog on this very subject.
There are lots of different angles to look at but I’ve had a think and I want to look at three ways of viewing it and what my thoughts are. You may have some thoughts too so please do comment and let me know. I’m going to look at:
- Achievements or outcomes
- Being happy
- Fulfilling your potential
Achievements or outcomes
Now what do I mean by this? I’m thinking does living your best life mean you are an ‘achiever’ or you judge your best life by the outcomes of activities or things you work on.
I’m going to steer clear of the social media subject here. Hands up who has those people on our social media that we knew years ago or met once that post these amazing lives. It can make us feel bad about our lives and ourselves which just isn’t very healthy for us. We get jealous or try to measure up against them. When the reality is we really don’t have a clue what their life is like.
So lets bring this back to what WE achieve. For me and my mental health, I think it comes down to why we are doing what we are doing. What is the reason behind the achievement we are working toward? Some of my achievements I’ve not even been that arsed about. Looking back now that’s probably because I was doing things for the wrong reasons. I was doing things because they were what I thought I should be doing next or they were what was expected of me. In reality, these things didn’t mean anything to me because my heart wasn’t in them. I was doing things I didn’t want to do so not enjoying life.
So like with social media if we judge our best life by the outcome, the achievement, the story behind it could be pretty grim right? What we see isn’t what is actually happening. The old judging a book by its cover!
However, if we are achieving things by doing something we love, or for a reason that is personal to us, then the journey is great and the achievement is fulfilling. Surely this is living our best life? I’d argue the achievement or outcome doesn’t really matter. Maybe it really is just about the journey. If you had a great 6 months working up to something, and the outcome wasn’t what you wanted, was the six months wasted? No chance it was wasted! So maybe I’m talking myself round here and achievements isn’t the ‘living our best life’ part, it’s making the most of the journey there.
This one is a tricky one!!! Surely being happy is living your best life? As long as your happy that’s all that matters right? Who cares if what makes you happy makes others sad?
You may disagree with me here, which is fine by the way. I’ve mentioned before that I use meditation and mindfulness daily as it has really helped me with my mental health struggles. Even now I’m ‘on the mend’ I still have to do it because I start to slip backwards again and I enjoy it now.
Meditation and mindfulness talk about “what you put out into the world comes back to you”. There’s a few variations on this theme. The Beatles said “and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”. The point I’m trying to make here is you could be happy being a tool, but you’re negatively affecting those around you.
So my view is that just being happy isn’t living your best life. Let me know what you think about this.
Fullfilling your potential
Again I think at face value this is self explanatory. But just to be clear, what I mean here is about self development and continuing to grow as a person.
Is it fair to say that unless you continually grow you are not living your best life? If you look at this from a work perspective, I genuinely don’t think there is anything wrong with going to work, doing a great job and going home at the end of the day. You don’t need to going for promotion after promotion. After all that could make you miserable. However I do think that even if you are someone that wants to go to work do a good job and go home, you still have a responsibility to do the best you can. There are always things you can do to improve how you do things. So I think what i’m trying to say is that if we don’t improve we stagnate.
It’s all very well saying if it aint broke don’t fix it, but if that was the case we’d still be living in caves with our man bits hanging out scratching our heads trying to work out what’s for tea 🙂
So to bring it back to the first question, what does “living our best life” mean. I think it’s quite a personal thing really. Financial success? Climbing Everest? Having a huge social circle? Having a big family? Owning a big house? Being adored by millions? Living a life with no regrets?
Some of these things are subjective. Some of these things are a dream for some and a nightmare for others.
I absolutely believe that if you are measuring yourself against another, then you will never live your best life. My personal view is that only you can truly know what living your best life is. If you’re unsure, then my advice is to go out there and try things, you’ll soon get an idea for what is important to you. It’s so important that you do take time to look after yourself and those around you.
I hope you found that useful, as always it’s great to hear your views.
Take care of yourselves.