We all have a philosophy of life, even if we don’t know how to put it into words. Some of us are cynics, some are optimists. Some think the world owes us; others want to give back. I have a few sayings or mottos that I live by.
Live in the now
I used to worry about what was going to happen next, some distant time in the future. I would lie awake at night and make up all sorts of what ifs. Usually the scenes in my mind ended badly, with something terrible happening. I also used to have a lot of regret and even shame about the past. I’d think about silly things I’d said or done, and cringe. Even when I was sleeping, my mind would replay these things.
Then someone told me about mindfulness. It’s about being alive to what is happening to you right now, and giving your all to that moment. Like right now, I’m writing this essay and I’m giving it 100% of my attention. I could be distracted by my cell phone ringing, but I switched it off so I can focus on just one thing.
When I’m with my boyfriend, I’m truly with him. I try to really engage with him. So often, we’re in the presence of someone, but our minds are elsewhere. Especially with a partner. Because we spend a lot of time with our partners, we start to take them for granted. We often “talk” to other people via social media when we’re lying in bed with our partner, rather than talking to them. This leads to disengagement. I try and live in the now.
Amnesia by choice
I used to hold terrible grudges against people who did me wrong. They actually did do me wrong, it was not just in my head, but the point is I would spend hours dwelling on the bad things they did to me, feeling hurt and sorry for myself. I’d even fantasize about possible types of revenge, which I’m not going to mention in this essay or you might have to report me to the police!
I had a boyfriend who cheated on me with my close friend. It hurt me very badly, understandably so. I fell to pieces, lay in bed for weeks and lost a lot of weight. I was devastated.
Instead of moving on, I’d think about it all the time. How could they! I lost my boyfriend and my good friend at the same time.
One day, another friend who had been patiently listening to me for months ranting and raving said to me: You know, you don’t have to forgive them. But you can just forget about it.
That made sense to me. Everyone else had been telling me to forgive them, but I felt what they did was unforgiveable. But now I had a way of moving on without having to forgive. I could just forget about it.
And that’s what I’ve done. I call it amnesia by choice, and I’m a much happier person for it.
I know people who have chosen philosophies related to being the richest; being more successful or effective; or winning at everything they do. Others choose to be pessimistic, and believe that you need to step on others to survive. The two philosophies of life I included in this essay help me live a more fulfilled, happier life.