Naturally as human beings, we tend to downplay both our achievements and the pains we’ve experienced in our lives. We live in a culture that tells us, “Hush, don’t tell.” We are meant to hide away our pain and vulnerabilities—not just here in America, but throughout the world.
The reality is that everything you have been through up until this point has contributed to who you are in one way or another. For some, their past experience creates an opening and a gratitude for life. For others, their pasts have made them tough and more closed off to emotional experiences or commitment. In some cases, more extreme, it’s given them a life behind bars or living on the streets.
Life, as we know it, is you. You are life. Life is a beautiful journey that is composed with both major and minor chords, augmented and diminished chords. Allow yourself to feel and be in time with the music even when it’s not musically pleasing to your ears. And most importantly, don’t allow anyone to silence the music in you.
When we go through extreme situations, it’s common to start tackling the BIG questions in the aftermath:
What is the meaning of life?
What does it mean to be happy?
How do I live fully and with gratitude?
Why do these things happen?
What is God?
After losing my mother, these questions never came to my mind. But one very thought-provoking question did:
What Does it Mean to Live a Life that You Are Proud Of?
This question wouldn’t leave my mind. In my heart, I wanted self-assurance that if I died tomorrow, I could say that I lived a life I was proud of. I wanted an inner peace in passing onto the next life, knowing this one wasn’t left un-lived or taken for granted.
So, what does it mean to live a life that you are proud of?
What does it look like? How do you get there? Is it all-encompassing or simply limited to your professional accolades?