Last night, my teenage son came back from attending a presentation by Joel Osteen–a minister spreading “God’s message of hope and victory.” While our family is deeply spiritual, but not religious by definition, it meets black and white dogmatic teachings of mainstream religion with skepticism. However, my son was very excited to share the points that this minister, Joel, made in his religiously inclined talk. When religious terms are filtered out, he had some excellent points about living, loving and fully embracing life in general. Here are a few that my son relayed:
1) Wake up in the morning with a sense of gratitude. This one totally makes sense to me because the mood of the morning sets up the mood of the day. To me, gratitude is the easiest way to get your not-so-great mood of the moment uplifted. Therefore, practice gratitude often (not just in the morning).
2) Refrain from negative thinking. This goes along with the first one. Replacing negative thoughts with positive takes practice, but it can be done. You are what you think.
3) Forgive everyone. To me, this is important because it is hard to be grateful and think positively if you hold a grudge at someone or something. Being resentful only hurts you in the end. Let go of the grudges–it will set you and your life free.
4) You are made in God’s image and therefore, perfect. I am not sure if I agree 100% with that because it creates a sense of arrogance and entitlement. But I would go with a reframed version of this statement. Everyone has good parts and parts that can be improved. Knowing yours will give you more appreciation for yourself. And accepting yourself as you are now and striving to improve your weak spots makes your life get better every day.
Gratitude, positive thinking, forgiveness, appreciation of your good parts and working out your weak ones are the cornerstones of loving the life you got. Practice these skills regularly, and they become habits, and habits become your life.