Gandhi, that great peacemaker and inspirational leader, applied a simple motto to his life. It read, “My life is my message.”
Gandhi understood that we communicate with everyone we encounter each day; our lives are the books read by others, and our message is shared through our attitudes, values, beliefs, thoughts, words and actions – everything that drives us daily.
The message of your life consists of three very important components. Through it:
- You guide yourself to what is possible;
- You guide others about what is most important to you and what they can expect of you; and
- You affect and influence the larger environment around you.
What does your life message say? Your message will always communicate what is most important to you. For your life to have positive impact, it is essential to cultivate awareness of the issues that occupy your time and attention.
You shape your life through the power of your attention before you even make a choice. Whatever you pay attention to, think about, dwell on, talk, worry or obsess about, will increase and multiply until it affects who you become.
- If you constantly think about what frightens you, you will become more fearful.
- If you constantly think about how unfair life is, you will see more reasons to support this view.
- If you believe you are worthless, your choices and behaviors will reflect that belief.
- If you feel entitled to be angry, you will find more and more to be angry about.
Likewise, when you pay close attention to what is positive, hopeful, supportive, uplifting and encouraging, your life and sense of self will inevitably reflect that.
You have the power to choose what you cultivate in the inner garden of your mind!
Whatever your circumstances, you can direct your attention to what will most positively affect your attitudes and actions. Your personal attitudes and values can lift your spirits or dash them far more effectively than anything outside yourself can!
The power of consciously focusing your attention also sets the stage for personal empowerment in your life. To the same extent that you harness your focus to practice self-awareness and self-knowledge, personal happiness and inner harmony become available within. Self-knowledge helps guide optimal choices, so the more self-knowledge you develop, the more self-empowered you ultimately become.
True self-knowledge allows for an honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses – not to judge or avoid the weaker aspects, but to allow for their healing and integration. This process is at the core of all personal growth. It ultimately empowers you to call on inner strengths and capabilities to meet life’s challenges, instead of making excuses for your woundedness or fear. Each time you strengthen or heal an area of woundedness, you become more integrated and more resilient to make empowering choices.
Over time, self-knowledge fosters trust in yourself and in the choices you make. There is no short-cut to true self-knowledge; it is developed in the thick of living where it grows from keen awareness and attention to the unfolding process of your life.
Your life is your most powerful message to others, and self-knowledge allows you to fine-tune that message. By observing your life and actions, you can cultivate the attitude and skills necessary to fulfill your life purpose in the most optimal way.
Here are a few pointers to get you started on honing your unique message:
Observe your impact on other people. Put yourself in their shoes. See yourself from their perspective. Listen to yourself. Get to know your emotional terrain and how it affects everyone around you. When you don’t like what you see, change it!
Listen carefully to your own stories. Your stories shape your character, temperament and sense of what is possible, so know what your stories are. How do you habitually describe the impact of life events on you? What themes do you emphasize? Which stories do you keep harking back to? When you see the impact of the stories you tell, you can change your habitual stories for more optimal outcomes.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps even more important than your strengths, is the awareness of what challenges you. Both strengths and obstacles have lots to teach you. True authenticity is found by being aware of your weaknesses and working to improve them, yet choosing to reach for your highest potential.
Find out what matters to you. What do you talk about most persistently? Where are you focusing your time, money and attention? If it does not bring you the outcomes you desire, perhaps it is time to shift your focus.
Notice what makes you happy. What makes you feel genuinely excited and alive? What inspires and moves you? What fascinates you? Focus on these things, and they will surely expand to enrich your life.
Notice what dampens your enthusiasm. What are the thoughts that drive your fearful thinking? When you become aware of the thoughts that trigger your emotions and spin you into fear, anxiety or depression, you can exchange them for positive ones. Emotions are driven by thoughts, not the other way around.
Notice how much you learn from your mistakes. There is no failure in life; there is only learning. Cultivating this attitude will save you from repeating self-destructive behaviors. Adopting an open mind leads to learning and growth; it also allows you to let go of habitual defensiveness and fear because you increasingly act from self-awareness instead of ignorance.
Learn from other people. It has been said that smart people learn from their experiences; brilliant people learn from the experiences of others. When you appreciate the experiences of others, you do not need to repeat them for your own learning; instead, you can avoid pitfalls and focus on optimal actions.
Get to know your inner world. You are the only companion you have for life. By getting to understand your own dreams, hopes and wishes, you’re able to support yourself in the best possible way to reach those goals while maintaining a sense of inner harmony.
Stay curious. Children are wonderful teachers because their minds are not cluttered with value judgments of good and bad. The more curiosity you cultivate about life, the more you will move out of judgment and into the field of possibilities from where miracles happen.
Your life is indeed your unique message and contribution to the world. Self-knowledge is the key to unlock that message so you can communicate most effectively with yourself, others and the world around you.
About the author
©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit http://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.