Living Your Best Life Doesn’t Mean It’s Perfect, but It Does Mean It Can Be Cultivated…

“Living my best life” has become another trendy statement, popular hashtag and common quote you can find posted just about everywhere. On Instagram, the #LivingMyBestLifehashtag has clocked more than 1,000,000 posts and counting. A quick Google search of the phrase, meanwhile, delivers 6.1 billion results, including articles, books, social media accounts, and websites dedicated to helping us all figure out just how to live our best lives. One of the deepest desires of all humans is to live a fulfilled and happy life.

In the age of the internet, social media, and a highly digitized world, it can be easy to idealize lifestyles that seem unachievable. The concept of faking a “perfect” life on social media has been around almost as long as social media itself. 

We all know by now that Instagram and Facebook lives are not real. Most of us tend to post our best moments, our most memorable experiences and our most perfect pictures. They are there for show and therefore, make #LivingMyBestLife seem so easy at times and at other times it makes us all feel like we will never measure up to the “best life” someone else is living. Just trying to keep up with the idea of a “best life” is like having another full-time job. Unfortunately, most times we are aspiring to lives that are just not real, not perfect and actually not at all what some may believe.

So, what is our best life and how do we live it? The most important word in the phrase “Live YOUR best life” is the word “YOUR.” What constitutes what “YOUR” best life looks like will be totally different than that of anyone else’s “Best life”.

Strip away the Instagram filters and look at your personal values objectively and with honesty. Figure out what’s most important to you, what matters most to you, what things make you feel most alive and what still gives you goose bumps when you do it. Just taking inventory of each of those areas will give you a starting point for what you truly desire out of life. Then you will be able to answer the question, What do I need to do to be satisfied with my life? Once you’ve figured that out, set some goals. 

Living your best life is a wonderful goal to shoot for, but many of us confuse that with living the perfect life. We get hung up on all the details, trying to make sure everything is just right. We tell ourselves it has to be the right time or the best circumstances before we’re ready to try something new or make a change in order to get to those things that make us most happy. We let perfectionism hold us back. If you feel you fall into this trap, keep reading and learn how you can live your best life without waiting for it to become perfect. Living our best lives definitely doesn’t mean we are living perfect lives, it simply mans we are living the life that allows us to be our best selves, allows us to love and to laugh…

  • Consider What’s at Stake
    • First, when you get caught up in feeling like things have to be just perfect, take a minute to consider the stakes. What will you miss out on if you wait until things are perfect? What opportunity are you giving up? The fact is, we’re never guaranteed a tomorrow. Holding out for the “right time” usually just ends up costing us our happiness and fulfillment. Instead, decide what it is you want out of your life and take action steps to get it RIGHT NOW! Not tomorrow. Not someday, but TODAY! Often, a simple reflection will be enough to push you toward going after your goal, rather than waiting for “the right time”. 
    • Whenever I feel myself pushing off until tomorrow what I know I should do today, I just reflect on what’s at stake. I remember who is connected to me and who is depending on me to make it happen, and that alone tends to be enough to push me past my SELF-IMPOSED limits. 
  • Know It’s Not All or Nothing
    • The all or nothing trap is one that is common. This is the belief that you have to have all the resources in place or know everything there is to know before taking on a task or taking a risk. This line of thinking is false. It’s simply a way of getting caught up in the cycle of perfectionism and remaining in place. Take baby steps and give it a try even if you don’t have everything in place. Sometimes things come together on their own. The truth is, there will never come a time when you’ll feel completely ready to just go for it and give something new a shot. You could almost always use more money, experience, research, time, or other resources. You may not be able to do absolutely everything you want to try, but you should definitely take chances on the ones that are within your grasp. 
  • Change Your Self-Talk
    • If perfectionism is holding you back from living your best life, chances are good that you’re probably sending yourself some negative messages. Listen to what your inner critic is saying to you the next time you decide that you shouldn’t do something and then see if you can’t turn that message around. If you hear yourself saying that you’ll never get the job promotion because you’re not qualified, try giving yourself some realistic reasons why you might just have what it takes and what you have to offer. Refuting negative self-talk can go a long way to stopping perfectionism in its tracks. 
  • Do More of What Makes You Happy
    • Sounds easy, right? But most of us shy away from what makes us happy because we are fearful of judgment. No matter what the judgment looks like we tend to let this fear overshadow the fact that it makes us happy ~ which in turn makes us unhappy because we’re not doing what we love. So it’s simple: Do more of what makes you feel good. Dress the way that makes you feel beautiful. Raise your children the way that feels ethically and morally right for you. Choose a career that makes you feel accomplished. Eat things that give you energy. Listen to music that makes you feel powerful. Do your hair in whatever way makes you feel good. Be friends with people who treat you right. Live in a home that gives you comfort. Marry your soul mate and not just the person that fits the criteria of society. By combining all of these things together ~ you are living your best life. No, it’s not perfect by any means but you are living a life you love and not one that someone else dictates. 
  • Accept Your Right Now Knowing That It Gets Greater Later 
    • Never accept mediocre but at least start by accepting your right now while all the time realizing that it gets greater later. Watch what happens. The next time you want to do something different or step out of your comfort zone, but you don’t think you’re ready, just go for it. Pay attention to how you feel and what it’s like to push past those feelings. Note the end result. Maybe things won’t turn out perfectly, but you may discover they end up being worthwhile anyway. 
  • Express Gratitude
    • Gratitude is a powerful concept when it comes to living your best life. Acknowledging the good things, you have right now let’s you build upon that foundation. Being thankful for what God has blessed you with puts you in a mindset that allows you to no longer come from a place of lack, but instead, you’ll feel more content and optimistic about all the possibilities life has to offer you. 
    • Just by being alive ~ we are miracles. The fact that we even get to have this life is truly incredible. Learn to appreciate every moment even when they are not perfect moments. Celebrate every great accomplishment, appreciate every relationship, every emotion, every meal, and every time you open your eyes in the morning. Take many pictures and thank God that he allows you one more memory in your memory bank. No, it’s not perfect but it’s worth it. 
  • Live Authentically
    • Finally, it’s important that you live according to your priorities and that you’re being true to yourself. Living your best life and being intentional means that you know who you are. You’re not living life according to anyone else’s terms. Keeping your purpose and values in mind will help to be sure the actions you take are in sync with the person you want to be. 

Keep these steps in mind the next time your inner perfectionist tries to sabotage you and keep you from living your best life. You may be surprised at the results when you simply start CULTIVATING what you desire to see, feel and experience in “YOUR” best life.

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