When life challenges you, it is during these times that relationships and spirituality provide meaning, which can give you purpose to help you cope. Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS at freedigitalphotos.net
For me, faith in a Higher Power has always been an integral part of my life. During times of uncertainty about the future and fear of how I may cope, it has been necessary for me to have the knowledge that there had to be Someone beyond myself to provide meaning where my purpose in life would otherwise be tenuous, fragile and fraught with questions.
It has only been recently where I’ve had the budding of a revelation that life’s aim may not be necessarily to just ‘be happy’. Happiness is wonderful, but during these times, there has probably not been as many life lessons which have helped me to develop at a deeper level. When things are going well, emotionally it is an ‘easier ride’ because there is no need to find inner strength and resources because there are little in the way of challenges present in our lives. It is during difficult times that spiritually we develop more, as we turn to whoever our Higher Power is, as well as realising the factor of secondary importance after this – our relationships with others.
When life is difficult, it also tends to provide opportunities to help one grow. Personal growth is almost guaranteed because during these times we need to find resources so that we can cope. For example, when we lose a loved one, it is painful – there can be no sugar-coating of reality because it is difficult- and that can’t be escaped. However, lessons such as the importance of valuing relationships more of people who are still in our lives, because if these people are taken from us, we have learned we do not want to have regrets that we may have been left with.
When we have loved somebody and lost them and are left with regrets regarding for example, wishing we had spent more time with them, we are actually given a lesson that at least can help prevent similar mistakes being made with those close to us happen again.
Death is something that we’d rather not think about – it can be so easy to feel someone will always be there. Of course that’s what we want, but when I find myself caught up in trying to achieve personal goals and the like at the expense of relationships, reflection of past losses have a sobering effect on my consciousness. However, I still find myself slipping back into old ways of forgetting my core values – one of them is to be close to those important to me – my family primarily.
There are many facets that comprise our personal lives – career, relationships, spirituality, personal growth, financial goals. I remember in Psychology we learned that it is our relationship with people that long-term is the primary source of happiness for us. Many of us chase the climbing of a career ladder, worries about finances such as paying off a mortgage. It was found in a scientific study that people who win the lottery are not happier to a significant degree two years later! It has been found that the health of relationships to those important to us that significantly affected our happiness. This is something money can’t buy. This isn’t just an assertion based on intuition- science has backed this finding up.
It therefore makes sense that to find contentment and happiness and to help prevent later regrets that we would be wise to invest time and energy into our relationships with others.
Think of someone who is most important to you. If something happened to them tonight, would you have regrets that you did not give as much of yourself as you could in that relationship? Visualise what kind of relationship you would like to have with that person, if you currently do not have that. Make an effort to consistently turn the reflections of those personal values into demonstrable action.
Life is short – let the people who are important to you know NOW how important they are consistently and regularly. Time with those we love is time that is most worthwhile spent for you AND for them. Life spent with these people is also time that is most fulfilling and meaningful.
This article is best summarised by the saying that the 2 most important commandments are 1. Love God and 2. Love others as you love yourself.
And sometimes, it is only when life gets tough do we remember that our life meaning and purpose become evident. It is only when life gets tough that we find inner strength.