A few years ago, I was leading an unconscious life.
I was doing soul-crushing work as a lawyer and climbing the professional ladder. I also found myself in a dysfunctional relationship and practiced mental self-sabotage on a daily basis.
When my life hit rock bottom with a divorce, I was shaken to the core. But I was able to realize I had an opportunity to rebuild my life from the ground back up. I let go of my job, career and relationship to start living with more intention and purpose.
I consciously began making decisions that led to more joyful living.
You and I both have choices every single day.
You can choose to live an unconscious, follow-the-crowd life, or a more evolved and soul-centered one. You can choose between allowing your ego to lead, or your spirit.
Here are 10 soulful choices you can make daily to live a joyful life:
1. Choose desires over obligations.
So much of your life is based on what you’re supposed to do and what everyone else is doing. Society makes you feel terrible for going after your dreams. So does your family.
You’ve only got one life to live, so stay true to your desires. If you want more passion, fun or excitement in your life, get out of your soul-sucking corporate job and pursue that thing that makes you come alive every day.
2. Choose connection over things.
Stop buying crap that makes you look good or feel good. This is a never-ending cycle that never truly satisfies. Vow to cut your spending and simplify your wardrobe and home.
Instead of meaningless shopping and accumulation, reach out to friends and family and spend some time with them. Talk to them, take them out and take interest in their lives.
3. Choose understanding over grudges.
It’s easy to get offended. In fact, you’re likely to get offended just reading this article! Or maybe you get offended because you didn’t get invited to a get-together that you didn’t really have time to attend in the first place.
So many things can piss you off on a daily basis, but you can check your expectations at the door. Things will not always work out in your favor — your favorite croissant might be sold out, you could end up in traffic, or your sister could have forgotten your birthday.
Seek to understand the situation and rather than hold a life-time grudge and file a lawsuit, find a way to express compassion. Look at things from the perspective of others.
4. Choose service over power.
Do work in the world that allows you to serve the greatest number of people. Serve others — don’t harm them. If you’re hurting people or trying to take advantage of them in some way, it's time to reevaluate. Maybe it's time to leave your job and start expressing your talents in a way that can be of service to others. This is your true gift in this world.
Never choose power or money over service. Your ego loves the former; your soul will love the latter.
5. Choose humility over ego.
You’re the sh*t! You think you're smarter than everyone else, live in a nicer neighborhood and earn more money, and therefore are of greater value and importance over others.
If you believe these things, then you're acting from an ego-centered place of arrogance and superiority.
In a world of first-class travel and Ivy League schools, society wants to remind us that some people are simply more worthy than others.
Don’t buy into this nonsense! Treat everyone with respect and humility. Don’t forget where you came from and the struggles that you overcame to get where you are now.
6. Choose quiet-time over busy-time.
We run around our day-to-day life embracing our perfectionist tendencies and our unknown desire to get it all done. Forget that.
Cut out the things you hate doing out of obligation.
Create downtime for yourself to breathe, rest and reflect. Cultivate quiet time for your soul to take in life at its own pace.
Your life will not be remembered by what you got done, it will be remembered by how much you embraced each moment in front of you.
7. Choose today over what happened.
Unless you have access to a time machine, you can’t change the past. But you can embrace what you’re doing today, and the experiences that you’re facing right now.
Lighten your load by releasing the burdens of the past. Catch yourself when you want to brood over past failures and pain. Center yourself and bring your attention back to the present.
8. Choose your intuition over your fears.
Your fears speak to you through your critical inner-voice. Your soul speaks to you through your intuition.
Your fear speaks to you through worst-case scenarios and negativity. Your soul speaks to you through hope and wisdom.
Learn to tell the difference and live more in line with your wisdom-filled voice.
9. Choose gratitude over anger.
You can react in two ways to every situation — anger at something not turning out the way you wanted, or gratitude for the lessons learned from the experience.
Even if you’re temporarily angry, step away from your anger for a moment to see what lessons are waiting for you. What’s the take-away? How will it help you grow?
10. Choose vulnerability over hiding.
Show up in the world exactly as you are. Embrace your emotions, hurts, pains and life's story. Your unique journey is what makes you, you.
Share who you truly are and what you’re feeling with others. No need to hide, create stiff boundaries or put up walls around you. Being vulnerable with others allows you to show up honestly in the world and create deeper and more genuine relationships with others. Yes, you might get hurt sometimes, but at least you’ll always be deeply seated in your truth.
You have a choice everyday about how you live your life.
Let go of fear-based, ego-filled living.
Opt for a more joyful, soul-centered life.
“At any moment you have a choice that either leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it.” -Thich Nhat Hanh