Fully Appreciating Who You Are

20151129_223519014_iOSThis morning I was driving to work listening to the Diane Rehm show. Today the interview was about suicide. Do you realize that over 41,000 people a year kill themselves in this country? I often think of two close friends I once knew very well who committed suicide, one in high school, and one years after dropping out of law school.

Suicide is the end point of depression. Today we are constantly bombarded with news about harsh realities of the world. Yet, in my opinion, it is the psychological struggles we all deal with in our childhoods, our homes, our schools, our workplaces, day in and day out, that go unnoticed. The people living with all of these problems, all of us, need to recognize this and be good to one another, smile at each other, talk to each other, and yes even help each other.

There is solid hope that you can achieve an authentic and lasting joy for living.

Step 1: A simple strategy: the simple act of carrying on. The promise to yourself that no matter what comes at you, your waking up, putting your pants on, and going out there to give it your very best.

Step 2: We can fully feel the love we once had for another, or that we received from someone, just as strongly now as we once did. We can also feel the loss, the pain, and grief all over again, and if we’ve never dealt with it, read on…

Step 3: Deal with it. Get help. Talk to someone, ideally a doctor, counselor or therapist.

Step 4: Reach for a new level of understanding about who you are, what you’ve been through, and recognition that you are a damn good person. By seeking out and discovering your memories, you can harvest a new appreciation for enduring the battles, the obstacles, and perhaps even the terror you once felt. You not only endured, you purposely decided to persist, and you overcame. This recognition can provide a foundation for continuing on your path today. And guess what, you may find that a lot of other people had very similar experiences?

It is great to receive a gift, to get help with something, or even to enjoy simple pleasures like taking a walk, feeling the sun, or reading a good book. Yet our willingness to take on new challenges, move forward in the face of fear and uncertainty, and perform as best we can, these are the things that bring true satisfaction and joy. And one of the fundamental pillars of the satisfaction and joy you already have (which may be buried under a mountain of current concerns, tasks, and worries) is the very fact that you have made it to this point. Appreciate everything you have been through, all the experiences you’ve had, all the people and places you know about, and how unique a person you are. This alone is cause to celebrate your life and provide you with a genuine appreciation for who you are, how much absolute value you exude as a person, and the depth of your character.

20151129_222432720_iOSBeyond this fundamental foundation of who you are lies a vast and infinite array of possible ways you can take what and who you are and use it grow even more.

Step 5: You can now leverage your foundation to learn even more, serve even more, love even more, grow even more, give more than ever. You can continue to work on yourself to deepen your foundation of education, knowledge and experience to serve others, and in doing so, to serve yourself. The reasons to do so are innumerable but only you know the tune, the feel, the beat of your own drummer. Keep listening to it. Be aware of it. Yet it’s not enough to just hear it, you need to reflect on it and then begin to take real physical actions to turn that corner. The feelings will come after the actions.

Forgive yourself and others for anything that may be hanging you up, then restart with a positive mindset focused on your own personal growth and development. That is something you will look back on as a turning point in your life – a time when you severed a mindset that was hurting you. It makes no sense to suffer through life, it goes by too fast. So slow down and enjoy it.

There is simply no good reason to not purposefully appreciate how good of a person you are and then to fully experience the joy of simply living your life the way you want to, exactly as you want to. Good luck.