It’s easy to get absorbed in our days and lose sight of the bigger picture (those things that matter most) unless we intentionally make the time and opportunities to remind ourselves why we’re doing the things we do. A life well lived incorporates on a day-to-day basis the principles we hold as most important.
Living a well-lived life that matters
If we sit down to think about how to live a life well lived, we might find our mind is blank. One way to think about it is to imagine you're at the end of your life, looking back. What would make you feel you lived your life well? What is the big picture?
What does a life well lived look like to me? A life that reflects those things I truly value, the guiding principles of my life. These are the things that are easy to lose sight of when we are trying to work and take care of our home. But they are so important to remember!
What defines a life well lived for you will be as individual as you are, but here are my thoughts on what it means to me:
A life well lived is one that...
* Reflects integrity. This word means honesty, uprightness, probity, rectitude, honor, honorableness, upstandingness, good character, principle(s), ethics, morals, righteousness, morality, nobility, high-mindedness, right-mindedness, noble-mindedness, virtue, decency, fairness, scrupulousness, sincerity, truthfulness, or trustworthiness. In order for me to feel that I have made a life that matters, these things would need to be reflected in my words and actions on a day-to-day basis.
* Reflects authenticity and being my true self. To me, this doesn’t mean simply accepting my less than admirable characteristics. Authenticity doesn’t preclude seeking to improve and do better; it just means not pretending to be someone you’re not, and risking being vulnerable enough to let others see you for who you are (here, Brené Brown talks about how essential vulnerability is to connection)
* Results in a legacy of contribution to the well being of others and the larger world. It's important to make a difference, which we talked about when discussing what a productive woman is, which is someone who orders her life in such a way as to maximize her positive impact on the world around her. We aren't here just to consume, but to contribute and create and leave the world and the people we interact with better by meeting us.
* I put people ahead of things, so my life includes deep, lasting relationships. What matters most to me is those key relationships with my husband, my children and theirs, and my friends. Relationships need to be nurtured, which can be difficult if we are focused on our productivity and accomplishing goals. If we are not careful, we can lose sight of the importance of relationships.
* Reflects faith in God and faithfulness to my understanding of his teachings. This may not be an element of a life well lived for everyone, but for me, it's a bedrock principle.
How to incorporate these elements into your day-to-day life
* Integrity. Let it guide your actions in how you interact with people and treat them, whether they are your family members, friends, or co-workers. Act with integrity even if no one is around to see it. Let integrity be an integral part of your character.
* Authenticity. Be willing to be vulnerable with others, showing your true self to the people you interact with. Be mindful of when you may be posturing or hiding out of a desire to protect yourself from judgment.
* Contribution. Look for ways to serve others and make their lives better. This doesn't have to be a big event or something that takes a lot of time. But rather, it can be little efforts,