All of us tend to take life a little too seriously. Do you see the proverbial glass as half empty or half full? Living life to its fullest means always seeing that glass as half full. Whether you think it is good, bad, or ugly, you are experiencing life. You can choose the way you react to the things you experience in life. There are three ways to live life to its fullest: laugh at life, wait to worry, and practice forgiveness.
#1 — Laugh at life.
Things happen that you cannot manage, manipulate, predict, or prevent. That's just life. However, of the things you can control, one of them has the ability to positively impact every area of your life, including the hard times. It's your ability to laugh! Laughing is not a personality trait. Instead, it is something we do purposefully, looking for things to laugh at.
The French have a great adage: "The most completely lost of all days is that on which one has not laughed." I like that and try to make each day count. One of my most constant sources of laughter is laughing at myself. Whoever said that if you learn to laugh at yourself, you'll always have something to laugh about, was absolutely correct.
If I take myself too seriously, then I begin to think more and more about the negative situations around me. From that vantage point, discouragement, lack of faith, hopelessness, and bitterness can seep into my life. Instead, laughter enables me to maintain a healthy perspective. Why not laugh? There's always a reason to laugh. There's probably also a reason not to laugh, but you have to choose which one you want to do. Here are five reasons why cultivating the habit of daily laughing is beneficial. Laughter is…
1. Better than tears.
2. Good for you.
4. Fun to be around.
5. A good teacher.
#2 — Wait to worry.
More damage is done by worrying than by what is being worried about. This is because over 90% of all worries never come to pass. Worrying is neither normal nor necessary. Over the years I have made it a deliberate point not to worry. If something happens at work or home that would constitute a worry, I have learned to address the potential worry and say, "I'm going to wait to worry." Then when I objectively and realistically address the issue, the obvious need for worry goes away.
How can you win over worry? Entire books have been written on this subject, but I have found that regardless of the great information on this or any topic, people will continue to do what they choose to do. The only way for them to bring about change is to wilfully change their way of thinking. Living with a positive attitude and without worry is a great way to live. I don't expect something bad to happen, but if it does, I deal with it and get on with life. Make the decision for yourself to live worry-free. It is not only possible, but it is very enjoyable.
#3 — Practice forgiveness.
Forgiveness is an incredible thing, especially when we're the one being forgiven for wrongs we have committed. It not only feels great to be forgiven, but it feels just as great to forgive others who have wronged us. To me, forgiving others is like being given a reprieve from an impossible task. It takes time and practice to develop an "I will forgive you regardless of what you do to me" mentality, but the rewards are immeasurable.
Despite the heavy price that forgiveness carries with it, the price of un-forgiveness is far greater. People who never forgive have effectively been held captive, stuck in a jail they made for themselves. Their emotions, creativity, joy, peace, hope, dreams, etc. have been minimized by their unwillingness to forgive. Choosing to forgive or not forgive will always be our choice, but for me, it's always been one of those "no-brainer" choices. Forgiveness is first a choice and then an action. Forgiveness is freedom. Forgiveness requires guts, determination, courage, and a whole lot of love.
Wouldn't you rather be remembered for someone who lived life to its fullest than someone who was negative, bitter, or unforgiving? There's an old saying that if you want to know what people will say about you when you are gone, write your own epitaph now and then live that way. Here are a few of my favourites. He … loved God first, loved his family and extended family, was an encourager, a giver; he always had a positive attitude, and he kept his word.
Remember, we don't always get a second chance. I want to make the most of everyday, because tomorrow there is no guarantee. Carpe diem — seize the day — to start living life to its fullest! Learn to laugh at life, wait to worry, and practice forgiveness.