What does it mean to live your best life?

I get that live your best life is a common phrase and probably one we use too often, but there is a natural inclination to want to be able to say at the end of the course that you lived your life well.

The definition of living life well, and the claim to be living your best life, is purely subjective. In fact, it seems to be the antithesis of living in the way others expect.  It invites setting aside the conventional wisdom, the rules for “getting it right,” and pursuing your own path to happiness and ultimately, satisfaction.

I Googled this topic and came upon a definition offered by travel writer and photographer, Alison Armstrong, for live your best life:

“Living your best life is not necessarily about being successful in conventional terms. It’s not about doing things and having things that you think will make you happy more than anything. It’s about being willing to live an unconventional life. Being willing to take risks, being willing to step outside of the box that society presents to you. If you achieve this, you will be happy and you will be living your best life.”

Alison Armstrong

I don’t know if I can say I’ve led an unconventional life, but perhaps I have. In my day (the 1970s, when I was first adulting) conventional wisdom looked like this: Aspire to be married with a little house with the white picket fence, two cats, two kids and a job you enjoy.

My life’s been unconventional in that I…

  • Married young (at 20) and then married old (at 50) so, apparently I believe in marriage. And,
  • Kept my birth name the second time around, having learned from giving it up the first time, that I am who I was born to be.
  • Chose not to have children (for a variety of reasons), and I’m good with that decision.
  • Accidentally fell into a PhD; I was 3 semesters from completion before I knew I was on that path.

These were unconventional decisions, to be sure.  Here’s what I think today, satisfaction doesn’t come from simply bucking conventional wisdom.  It arises from a willingness to explore what’s out there for you alone.  What decisions might set you apart from the seemingly pre-ordained path that the world of advisors would implore you to follow?

I also think that living your best life requires that you take what life hands you and make more of it than would commonly be expected.

Two women embrace one another other with one arm as they look and point to the horizon while riding on a boat over water. Both enjoying the adventure they seem to be on.

What gets in the way of living your best life?  Most of us would say adversity – circumstances that don’t go our way.  I’ve always believed that how we deal with adversity, those “gifts” in life that we wouldn’t necessarily choose for ourselves, reveals more about us than how we deal with blessings.

In this life, I’ve known some adversity (although, no more than many other people encounter) and in those times of challenge, I have always discovered some new inner strength I’d never noticed before.

Other things that impede our path to living our best life include:

  • Decisions that don’t serve us, especially in the long-term.  We celebrate the wild party but forget about the hangover; we’re enthusiastic about the impulsive purchase but forget about the credit-card debt that follows.
  • Belief systems that stop us in our tracks. You can spot these by listening to your self-talk. Phrases like, “I can’t” or “I’m not good (smart, rich, pretty) enough” or “That’s impossible” reflect beliefs that we put in our own way.
  • Longing for what we don’t have, rather than loving what we do have.  All too often we’re convinced that new stuff (or different stuff) is what is required to improve our lives.  Instead, keeping only what we cherish, surrounding ourselves with objects and people who bring us joy may be the path to more satisfactory lives and to gratitude.

I wish for you the commitment to live your best life. I invite you to surround yourself with the things and people who replenish and support you on your journey. I implore you to let go of self-deprecating thoughts that trap you with unnecessary limitations. And, no matter what your current adversities might be, I wish for you the ability to acknowledge your strengths that are sufficient to see you through.

Self-care is every conscious action you take that feeds your soul, nourishes your body, nurtures your spirit, or replenishes your relationship with yourself!

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About Paula

I help other caregivers – both professionals and family caregivers – acknowledge their pain and learn to practice the many small skills of self-care that can sustain them through the challenges of wholeheartedly caring for others.

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How Can I Help You?

Through Co-Create 4 Life, you will learn a range of well-being strategies from skillfully implementing self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout. Book a free consultation call today to discuss your options.

How Can I Help You?

Through Co-Create 4 Life, you will learn a range of well-being strategies from skillfully implementing self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout. Book a free consultation call today to discuss your options.