Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. – Norman Cousins
Looking good on the outside is important to most of us – me included. Five workouts a week, a discerning eye on what goes into my mouth and a clean shave every morning helps me look as good as possible.
But to be honest, the real reason I do these things is to feel even better on the inside.
For most of my life, experiencing true and lasting self-confidence has been a challenge. I exercise not because I hope to become a world-class athlete; I exercise because of how I feel about myself afterward.
The feelings of accomplishment and commitment are my fuel – my energy to sustain me through the challenges and obstacles that occur as a natural part of living a life.
Feeling good on the inside is integral to living a happy, successful and balanced life. But, not all days are easy ones. However, we get to have a head start every day when we feel worthy, valuable and full of passion.
The following simple guide to feeling good on the inside can provide the power necessary to give you this head start:
Enjoy the moment
There seems to be problems lurking every day, so when the good moments happen allow these to be enjoyed more. Stay in the good moment, the comfortable moment, and the passionate moment for as long possible. These moments can be extraordinary. Live them fully and begin noticing how much better you feel on the inside when you do.
Celebrate your success
Take time to congratulate yourself and to pat yourself on the back for whatever level of success you just achieved. Allow others to celebrate with you and be open to their praise. Humans are not robots. We have souls that need nourishing and our batteries sometimes rundown. Allow yourself to feel the pride and joy of your accomplishment.
Always keep moving forward
The day most people give up is the day before they would have found success. Feelings of failure, regret and doubt begin to swell into things that can be far more dangerous. No matter how tired or discouraged you may feel, if the thing you are working so hard to obtain is aligned with your life’s purpose, then you will achieve it. Perhaps not on your timeline, but you will achieve it nonetheless. Stay focused on how it will feel to get there. Your spirit and your faith will give you the energy to keep moving forward.
Self-deprivation doesn’t feel good to me. What does feel good is the ability to choose when and how to treat myself. By treating yourself to a special meal, dessert or a concert ticket you are confirming you are worthy to enjoy something a little special.
Strengthen your relationships
Never miss the opportunity to tell someone who is close to you how much you love them. Time invested in your relationships can result in deeper connections and a better sense of what you are able to give – and what you would like to receive.
Be real with yourself
You never really believe the lies you tell yourself. These lies only make you feel more anxious and incredibly guilty. By being real, and completely honest, you are in a better position to discover what you really want in life and what feels good.
Accomplish one item from your “to-do” list each day
All you need sometimes is to take one small action in order to continue moving in the direction you want to go. Forward progress, and movement, can make you feel that you are well on your way; no matter how long it might take you to get there. Pick one thing, each day, on your to-do list and complete it. Soon, all of these one-day-at-a-time items will aggregate into something amazing – something you have created and something that belongs and feels good to you.
Be responsible for meeting your own needs
No one else is going to do it for you – nobody. Only you know what’s in your head and what lives deep in your heart. If you want to have financial success, work harder; or if you want to have a better marriage, then become the better spouse. Yes, there are people who you can count on for love and support; but if you rely on these people, and only these people, you are missing an incredible opportunity to fill yourself with a level of love, grace and respect that can never be taken away.
Acknowledge your feelings
When you are happy, say you are happy. When you are angry, say you are angry. An important part to feeling good inside is to know exactly how you are feeling.
Keep your balance
Listen to your inner voice, your inner wisdom, when you are pushing too hard in one area of your life or when you are neglecting another one. Live somewhere in between. This middle space often feels better.
Start the day right
Start the day in a way that is right for you. I love the serenity of the early morning to either write or workout. This is my time when no one has any expectations of me. It feels like freedom and happiness to do some of the things I love to do. Both make me feel great on the inside, too.
End the day well
Spend the remaining time in your day doing what you enjoy or what brings you peace and sense of completeness. Allow yourself time to enjoy what you have accomplished and begin planning for the next day. This time for centering will allow you to connect with what’s going on inside your mind and in your heart.
Be a person of integrity
Do what you say you are going to do. Treat others with respect and dignity. Don’t cut corners with the people you love the most. To feel good on the inside means being good on the outside, too. There is a direct connection between the two.
Test yourself. Push yourself a little. Don’t back down from a fair challenge. When you embrace challenges you are given the opportunity to learn more about yourself. No matter if you are successful or not, you can feel better for trying.
Perform one random act of kindness
There is a certain connection we all share. Without knowing everybody you encounter, you do know they certainly have struggles, disappointments and perhaps pain in their life. By holding the elevator door for someone a few steps behind you, or helping a stranger change a flat tire you are making their day a little easier; a little brighter. In return, you are adding to your own repository of personal contentment. Simply put, it feels good when we make a point of doing considerate and generous things for others
Show your gratitude
An amazing thing happens when you express your gratitude: More of the things you are grateful for keep coming back to you.
Pick a cause or organization that is important to you and consider making a donation. The donation does not necessarily have to be monetary. Consider giving some of your time or offering a talent. While the beneficiary receives the expected value, so will you.
Nourish your mind
Learning can be a lifelong process of discovering the unknown and the interesting. By expanding your knowledge, you are in a better position to try on new things and see how they fit and feel to you. This discovery process will put you in a better position to get in touch with what feels right and what feels even better to you.
Trust your inner wisdom.
When you listen to your inner voice, and respond accordingly, you are seldom wrong. The tug you feel that guides you to a particular awareness or decision is unusually aligned with truth and reality. Shame, guilt or disappointment can occur when your inner wisdom is ignored. Happiness, peace and confidence are gained when you follow and respect what you know in your gut to be true.
Appreciate what you have.
Only this day is guaranteed. Spend each day giving thanks to the people and circumstances in your life that bring you the most happiness. While it’s important to remain optimistic and excited about the future, it can also be humbling to become aware that the people we love the most can be taken away in the blink of an eye. Reach out and express your gratitude. It will be returned. And when it is, you will feel twice as good on the inside.
How do you feel good on the inside?
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