I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it.― Rita Mae Brown
In 1999 I was the most cynical, negative, and pessimistic person you could ever hope to meet. My ‘life motto’ was life sucks and then you die. I was fed up with life, had a job I hated, no money, and I constantly said to myself “there must be more to life than this”. I was 26. Luckily, at this point, I started actively looking for a better way to live.
I found coaches and writers and mentors who showed me that there was indeed ‘more to life’. One recurring theme they shared was the idea of falling in love with my life. I thought they were crazy. Had they seen my life? It was a shambles – I was a mess; falling apart physically, mentally, and emotionally…and spiritually I was bouncing off the walls of my life.
But the idea stuck, and I couldn’t get rid of it. Fall in love with life. So began a long journey of discovery that led to me becoming optimistic, cheerful, and annoyingly positive. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy-clappy, cheerful, and sunny all day every day – I am still not a morning person (don’t get me started on being rudely awoken by offensive alarm clock noises), and I can still feel down, negative, angry and fed up…but it’s temporary, not a permanent way of life.
I figured it out – I figured out ‘how’ to fall in love with life, even when it’s messy and imperfect and you don’t have all you want…in fact, I finally realized that it will always be messy and imperfect and I will always want more, so I may as well enjoy the journey…having tried the cynical, pessimistic route, I can tell you with certainty that loving life is way more fun.
Here are 7 ideas to help you fall in love with your one and only messy, imperfect life:
1. Feel the joy
This is the biggest lesson I’ve learned in the last 15 years: Feel the joy. There’s so much joy in the world, so much to enjoy…and we miss so much of it because we’re so busy and fed up. I know I did. Don’t get me wrong, I had some great times in my twenties – I did a lot of fun stuff…but I also missed a lot of the joy in my life at the time because I was so convinced it was awful.
Even when life sucks, there are small joys to be found, glorious moments to be enjoyed – find enough of them and you’ll find yourself falling naturally in love with life, no matter how messy it is.
2. Connect with your inner wisdom
In my twenties, I had this unsettled feeling, a constant niggle that there must be more to life than what I was experiencing. It was my soul whispering to me that there was a different direction for me to go. At the time, it felt like a raging dissatisfaction, but now I recognize it for what it was: my inner wisdom.
It’s hard to fall in love with a life where you are disconnected from your highest self, so find ways to tune into your guidance, your intuition and listen to the whispers of your heart and soul. They’re always talking to you, and all it takes is the time, the effort (and maybe some peace and quiet in a busy, noisy life) to hear that inner wisdom.
3. Take charge of your life
The time that I enjoyed life least was when I was doing what I thought was expected of me – the job, the saving for a mortgage, the seeking the perfect husband. When I decided to do what I wanted to do with my one and only life, I started to enjoy it far more. It didn’t involve a job (I’m self-employed); I spent the mortgage savings on a trip to Australia; and…well, I’m still open to meeting a great guy, but he no longer has to fit some awful stereotype of “Perfect Husband”; and I shall love life whether he’s around or not.
This is your life, you need to take charge of it and take it where you want to go, not where you think you should go, where someone else wants you to go or where you ended up because you didn’t know where to go. I had no idea what I would do with the rest of my life…then I figured out the thing I wanted to do next, which led me to another idea…and now I’m in love with my work (something I never thought possible). Take charge, and start moving in the direction of what you want (even if it’s not clear what that is yet you can start to investigate possibilities).
4. Be your own best friend and biggest cheerleader
The one constant you can count on in life is you. Wherever you go, you’ll take you with you, whether you like you or not. I never used to really like myself. I was very critical of myself, I was disappointed in myself, and I thought I was making a massive mess of life. Then I realized I was doing my best…and that even the critical voice in my head was trying to get the best out of me.
The inner critic’s methods were not working at all, but at least she had a positive intention. Once I understood that, I could retrain the inner critic to cheerlead instead (it’s much more likely to get the best from me, I don’t respond well to criticism) and I could start to like myself, support myself and really treat myself well…which leads me to…
5. Take excellent care of you
Most of us take better care of our cars than we do ourselves, until we break down. It’s what I did. I pushed myself into adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue…and ultimately MS. Looking back, it’s no surprise at all that I ended up needing to sleep for 16+ hours a day. I acted as if I was indestructible, and completely ignored my body’s screams for rest until I was forced to listen.
And it’s what I see so many people do – we fail to heed the subtle messages of our body, mind, heart, and soul, all of which need to be taken care of, until we absolutely have to pay attention to the message that we’re running on empty. Your body, your mind, your heart, and your soul are all more important than your car (and I speak as someone who loves my car) – take care of yourself.
6. Work on feeling good
I had a friend who was painfully positive, naively optimistic, endlessly cheerful (this was my negative, cynical and miserable assessment). I thought she was just ‘like that’…and I wasn’t. But once I started to make changes, and studied lots of self-help books, I realized that feeling good is a learnable skill. It’s a habit, not a characteristic.
It has taken practice, determination, and effort to become positive, optimistic, and cheerful…but it’s so worth the effort. For a start, positive people are way less annoying when you are one. It’s not just ‘who you are’, it’s who you’ve become. As children we are positive, naïve believers; life sometimes squeezes it out of us – but we can remember to squeeze it back in again and work on feeling good…or at least, feeling better every day.
7. Don’t expect other people to submit to your will
Ah, those pesky other people. If the partner, the boss, the neighbor, the government, the world at large would just do what we want them to, falling in love with life would be easy, right? Hmmm…perhaps not – I suspect it would just be weird and slightly creepy if everyone suddenly did exactly what we thought they should do.
And the reality is that they won’t submit to your will. All the time and effort you put into making others do what you want (or complaining when they don’t) is utterly wasted, and could be better spent on loving your life undeterred by those darn other people. They’re going to keep doing what they do…and so are you, even if they think you should do something else; so forget about trying to control the known universe and just enjoy your life…even with its brilliant imperfections, shining flaws, and dazzling flaws.
So there you have it, my seven top tips for falling in love with life. I’d love to know what your top fall in love with life tip would be? And if you’re not loving your life right now, what is getting in the way of you falling in love with life?
Photo by Lucy Maude Ellis
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37 thoughts on “7 Ways to Fall in Love With Life”
Love that line….”wherever you go, you’ll take you with you.”
Thanks Audrey – it was the line that helped me realise I’d better get liking me! x
Thank you for writing this message. I realized after reading this that although I try to be happy most of the time, I have a long way to go.. lol
Hey Jeanine – me too! And I wrote a book about it! :-O I think it’s the work of a lifetime to get happier and happier and happier. I hope something I suggested helps you step the joy up a notch. xx
No. 3 was the hardest for me to accomplish.
I studied what I didn’t really enjoy. I worked my socks off in a job that sucked the life out of me.
But I was afraid to make a change. To go into uncharted waters.
One day the pain of the current situation was greater than the pain of change.
From that point my life changed entirely.
I asked myself what do I really want to do in life?
And I started acting on the answer. Each thing I did felt it was a bit closer to my life purpose.
I came back to this question constantly. And each time the answer changed a bit.
Until I finally found my life purpose. And today I’m working towards it.
It’s the most important question you can ask yourself.
It drives you away from self criticism. It drives you towards doing what you truly love.
Thanks Benny – you’re right, I can so relate to that – I was bouncing off the walls of the life I thought I was supposed to have until finally I ‘escaped’! Congratulations on finding your purpose, may you love every day of your life. x
Thanks Donna :)
DONNA!!!! I love that I found this article, decided to read it because it looked like a good read and then I loved what it said!! But my most favoritist ;) part evah was scrolling down and seeing that YOU wrote it!!! How awesome is that?!?! (It’s very awesome, just so you know!) I love these happy type synchronicities. Nice work.
Lmao – I love that Adrienne! It is extremely awesome. I’m so glad you liked the article even before you knew it was me!!! :-D x
Number 5 really speaks to me. When you take care of yourself, you can’t help but feel better about life and the world around you. Nice article.
Thanks Donna. Absolutely – taking care of you makes life so much easier! x
Love my life? I have to admit, for me this sounds hard to do. I feel like we’re conditioned to complain about our lives and never feel satisfied. I’m 26 myself and have hit a low point too now. Can you tell me a little thing that you work on that turned your life around? What did you do that got you to improve? Was it one thing? An epiphany? Or more gradual? How did you do it?
Hey Casey – I can tell you now that the conditioning to complain CAN change – I did it, and I know you can too. It was a gradual process for me. I know a lot of people have success with gratitude lists. The more you focus on the good, the easier it gets. I also like doing love, affirmation and appreciation lists…5 things you love; 5 affirmations you like – eg “I am ready to fall in love with life”; and 5 things you appreciate. Give that a try and see if it works for you. You can also read a few sample chapters of my book on Amazon or on my blog if you’d like a few more ideas, Good luck…and may you fall head over heels in love with your life. Donna.xxx
Spot on Donna! Thank you for your post – I love Rita Mae Brown’s quote that ‘the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it.’ I was always convinced that was so.
Thank you Gene – yes, it’s such a great quote isn’t it? We should teach it in schools! :-D
I know these things, yet, the clarity and focus in the way in which you organized them provides a resonance in my mind like a gently falling leaf. “After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked—as I am surprisingly often—why I bother to get up in the mornings. “~Richard Dawkins
What a beautiful quote Chas – thanks for sharing. And I’m glad the post resonated with you. x
I loved your 4th point the most ‘Be your own best friend and biggest cheerleader’. I am an introvert and love spending time alone for sometime and I feel in solace when I do that. Whenever I feel low or I feel like I need inner motivation, I sit with ‘myself’ in a peaceful place and within 20-30 minutes I feel charged up and energized. I totally agree with that point.
I loved your post and thanks for such a great post!
Hey Geetha – thankyou I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. I’m the same, I’m an introvert so I need time alone…and what better than time with your best friend?! <3 x
Wooow….I’m glad I stumbled into this just at the time I decided to intentionally make the most of my life. Your words are profound Donna and I can totally relate to the pessimistic feeling about life. How can we possibly appreciate life if we can’t truly fall in love with it? Whether with its perfections or imperfections, I’m going to feel good about my life.
Thank you for resounding it…. ‘Fall in love with life’!
I’m really glad you stumbled across this too Mamuzo, congratulations on making that decision to feel good about your wonderful, special, unique life. May you fall in love with every moment of your life. x
Thanks Donna for a great post. I totally agree with you. I am where you were at 26 but older but working hard on getting to a great place. I am no where near the place I want to be but I am not where I was a year or two ago. I am working on getting there so thanks for the encouragement and inspiration.
I love all 7 of the suggestions you’ve made but #2 & #4 are the ones that resonate with me most. Finding that inner wisdom is definitely hard for me because I never trusted my self to ever make sound decisions. I now know that I do possess the wisdom to make those decisions and most of all I am my best friend and motivator.
Thank you Rose. Yes, it is a definite process – day by day, month by month, year by year you get closer and closer to loving life and being able to hear and follow your inner wisdom…sounds like it’s already guiding you towards a magnificent life. Good luck and may you love life more every day. xxx
I really like No. 7. Our expectations about other people can sometimes be an incredible drain on our energy. Letting go of those expectations is one of the most difficult things to do. But the sooner we appreciate those ‘imperfections’ the happier we will be with life!
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Peter, yes, you’re right it is so difficult…but worth the effort when you’re not wasting energy trying to dictate to others…who just won’t do what you want anyway! :-D x
Really wonderful write up Donna – there was so much in here that my inner dialogue was saying YES! to.
Yes! there is SO much joy in life all around us just waiting for us to notice and embrace it.
As a mental health therapist, I often work with my clients to not only make positive changes in their lives, but really look at and challenge their not-so-helpful perceptions and perspectives. IT’S SO POWERFUL!!!
Thanks so much again!
Thanks Julia – and thanks for the work you do…it’s amazing how perception can change everything isn’t it?! xx
Great post! My favorite tip was to connect to your inner wisdom. I’ve found this works great for me. I also remember to stop and just be in the moment. The more I remember to do that and appreciate what is happening in that moment, the more I find I fall in love with life.
Thanks Sandy – yes, it works amazingly well for me too. Absolutely – fall in love with enough of ‘this moment’ and falling in love with life becomes easy!! xx
If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us. It’s amazing how the things we do without awareness can destroy your chances of happiness and all it takes is to be present. Checking the expansion and contraction opens up the channel to living a conscious and successfully and fulfilling life. Thanks for this insight of “words”
Thanks Ritesh, and what a beautiful way to put it “If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us” – yes! Well said. xx
7 other ways to fall in love with life:
1.Don’t hold on to past. Learn to let go.
2.Being popular is not important. Being positive is.
3. Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go.
4.Look at life as a mystery to solve, not a problem to resolve.
5.Listen deeply and listen to understand and don’t listen to reply.
6.Stop analyzing life. Live it.
7.Don’t compare yourself to anyone. You are unique.
Agree 100% M.Doshi – especially number 2…I wish I’d known that when I was 15!! x
I love this post…it doesn’t feel like homework rather pure reflection and inspiration.
I found connecting to my inner wisdom was the change for me as I entered the next journey in my life. It was here that I had the courage to take a leap of faith and listen to my soul. Still at times there is an unbelievably loud inner voice trying to defeat me but I have learned to return those thoughts to “sender” – it is not my thought it is someone else’s thought. Time is going to pass anyway so I am learning to stop resisting and begin receiving what I know to be true. It is a continual work in process. 2015 is going to be an unbelievable year of loving my life! Thanks
Yes, Cindi, it is a continual work in progress for everyone, to deepen their soul connection and make the dissenting voices pipe down! I find that the more I take care of myself, the less those voices shout! May you love every day of 2015 and beyond! xxx
I love this :) I love life and you can never love it if you dont love yourself! :)
Great tips to live a more productive and happy life. Love your life! Thanks for sharing!