I woke up this beautiful summer morning from a bad dream; thankfully, not a full-blown nightmare which I have too often. These sleep-state images were about being in a terrible accident and waking up paralyzed, my ability forever at the mercy of a wheelchair; my life abruptly halted.
In the dream, I was frantic, pushing back against a reality I was unwilling to accept, pleading with my family and closest friends to let me go. I was afraid of a life that felt powerless to me. Because of that dream, I started my quiet time this morning with not only my usual “Thank You, God,” but also, “Thank You for the abilities I, much too often, take for granted.”
Through dream research, I know that night visions are rarely interpretations of something literal. But, it wasn’t until I was in a calmer, meditative state that I could step back and figure out what was behind the fear-filled thoughts that streamed through my psyche: I’m mindful that I often feel like I’m not enough, metaphorically, paralyzing me with: “what if I’m not supposed to choose this path? What if I never accomplish my goals or live up to the belief that others have in me?
I’ve been thinking about “rules” we live by—life bullet points (whether one or one hundred) that create the framework within which we believe we should or must exist. I honor many fundamental how-to-live guidelines. Sometime’s, it’s overwhelming; there’s so much that I think is essential that I’m paralyzed by the fear of not being enough.
These “Seven Cardinal Rules for Life” have been widely accepted in our culture:
Make peace with your past.
Not defining yourself by your past allows the creation of life that reflects who you are now. What has happened until you’re reading this should no longer negatively influence the future; with intentionality, choose to move forward as your best self.
Don’t worry so much about what others think.
I agree from a big picture perspective, but this is much easier said than done! It takes work, but when you recognize how special and valuable you are, it becomes easier to let go of other people’s views.
Time heals almost everything.
Eventually, most pain, hurt, or loss will have less power. Sometimes I was simply “hanging on by a thread,” lost in the dark, but I found myself—sometimes different but still present. The scars we have, both physical and non-physical, are testaments to having lived.
No one except yourself is the reason for your happiness.Find your joy, your passion, what feeds your soul, and then move into that space. Happiness is self-created and inextricably linked to the life being played out. You can’t find happiness unless you believe in the possibility of it being part of your life.
Don’t compare your life to others.
What we “see” as another’s reality is just a glimpse of it. What’s played out in public is often not an accurate representation of what’s happening behind closed doors. Your life is a creation of the environment you were born in and your choices up to this moment. Don’t assume that someone else’s reality is any different.
Stop thinking so much.
Disclaimer—This is next to impossible for me. I’ve been overthinking my entire life! But, I know that no matter how much I think, I’ll never have all the answers, and that’s as it should be. It’s okay to be in the moment without second-guessing, analyzing, or managing it.
Smiling has a positive psychological impact on the smile-wearer and anyone they come into contact with. If there’s even one thing to smile about, do it! That smile might just be what’s needed to change another person’s day.
Help others—especially those in need.
Never assume you know what someone is thinking.
Answer a person when they speak to you.
Stop doing the same thing, expecting a different result.
Forgive, and try not to let the pain you experienced lessen who you are.
Make time for those who are most important to you.
Tell the truth, especially to yourself.
Follow your heart, not the crowd.
Treat your body with respect.
Think before you speak.
Do unto others as you would them do unto you.
When given a choice, take the high road.
Remember, always, your self-worth.
So, on this beautiful morn, I’m aware that I get to dream big, knowing I have a compass to guide me, acknowledging how blessed my life is, and aware that if I take it one step at a time, it’ll all work out.
May this be your truth too.