In a single week, it was my nephews one-year memorial and two families from my community tragically lost their husband and father prematurely to massive heart attacks. It was hard to see past tragedy, sadness, and a keen awareness about my vulnerability and the general fragility of life.
I was caught in an abyss of thinking about how time passes so incredibly quickly, how what we have today can be taken from us so abruptly and instantaneously, and how being in personal pain, and empathically tuning in to others sorrow, can be undeniably intense and overwhelming.
We often reflect on these unpredictable and unexpected circumstances and say that it can’t and won’t happen to me. It allows our mind to protect us from what we worry about and living in perpetual unease and fear.
What if fear and discomfort are the very feelings that we need in order to lean into being in the moment, challenge ourselves, and connecting with our values?
The battle within our mind to rid ourselves of these uncomfortable feelings and stay with them to propel us toward personal growth is constant. It is a tussle we have with ourselves every day and profoundly impacts our decision making and how we choose to live our lives.
There’s often no way to predict or prepare for what life has to offer us so it’s in our best interest to contemplate how we want to be living life each and every day no matter what may happen. To help with this, you may ask yourself these questions.
Are you taking the time to…
- Share how you feel toward those you care about and love?
- Put yourself out there and challenging your fears and worries?
- Improve on qualities and characteristics that you’re frustrated or disappointed with?
- Preform behavioral experiments to expose yourself and work through challenges?
- Accept yourself, others, and circumstances that you can’t control and/or change?
- Approach your world as a victim or survivor/warrior?
- Assess what you appreciate about yourself, others, and your circumstances?
- Question what you see as your life’s purpose?
- Identify when you compare yourself to others as opposed to focusing on your needs and goals?
- Practice self-compassion and self-soothing when you’re experiencing negative or uncomfortable emotions?
- Embrace a full array of emotions, inclusive of both positive and negative emotions?
- Exercise healthy coping skills and recognize when you’re not?
- Enhance your resilience and rebound after you experience adversity, challenging, or unexpected experiences?
- Acknowledge your achievements, irrespective of how small or large they are?
- Stipulate what your core values are, as they are like guides for your life and decision making?
- Understand what your triggers are to ensure that you’re acting from your feelings rather than from your thoughts and/or feelings?
- Ask yourself how willing you are to change and put in the time and effort to implement that change?
- Evaluate how you’re spending your time and who you’re spending it with and whether that’s in line with how you want your life to be?
- Assess whether you’re living your best life and if you’re not what needs to shift for you?
- Observe how rigid or flexible you’re being in your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and whether “shoulds”, “ought tos”, and “musts” are driving you?
- Just be – and notice and connect with yourself and others in a meaningful way?
- Think about that if you died tomorrow, what would you want to be remembered for and what do you want your life to be about?
A sentiment that kept coming up at my nephew’s memorial service was to “Live like Sammy.” He exemplified living in the moment and deeply touching those he came in contact with. I found myself so proud of all he was able to offer the world in the limited time of almost sixteen years that he was here.
We hear that the way to live life is to live as if it is our last day. We never expect that it will be the case, but we also never know what life has in store for us. There’s no time to wait.