What It Means to Live Our “Best Life”

Jan 09, 2019

Life Personal Development Personal Growth Resolutions Goals
cupped hands holding a flower

Photo by Annie Spratt

The thing they don’t tell you about “living your best life” is that it takes time to get there. And that it has to be YOUR best life, not a cookie-cutter version of someone else’s.

We live in a time of “comparison fatigue,” the mental and emotional exhaustion that comes from constantly comparing ourselves — our stuff, our home, our bodies, our achievements, our travels — with those of others. This can lead to feelings of resentment, disappointment, envy, and FOMO. We can take one snapshot of someone’s life on Instagram and determine they are definitely living out their best life (insert appropriate hashtag here). This is quickly followed by the thought ‘and here I am, not living MY best life.’ (Unless you actually are, in which case, we applaud you and ask you not to flaunt it).

What does it mean to live your “best life,” anyway? Who decides? When do we “arrive” there? Maybe it’s just me, but this year I’d really like to stop the comparing. I want to decide for myself what it means to live out my best life. I don’t want anything or anyone else to decide for me. No advertising company, no brand, no quick fix, no Instagram post, no trend. Who’s with me?

For me, living my best life begins with an attitude. I won’t throw any cliches your way, don’t worry. I’d just like to go about my day with an emotional center that is based on gratitude for what I have, hope that the best is yet to come, and an abiding joy that comes from knowing the work I’m doing, even in some mysteriously small way, is adding value to the world beyond myself.

The image that comes to my mind when I picture my best life is cupped hands, representing both an offering of my best self and my best work, as well as a vessel for receiving any mercy, any grace, any blessings God would like to extend my way. Couldn’t we all use a bit more grace?

I think the secret is in what we are giving of ourselves, what we are producing, creating… not what we are consuming. With social media, it’s easy to buy into the idea that living our best life consists of the latest purchase we made, or the latest place we visited. But shouldn’t it be more than that? We have so much more to contribute. Every one of us has gifts abounding that can serve the greater good.

But I can’t argue what should, or should not, constitute the best life for others. That is for each of us to determine. I am suggesting, however, that if your best life is causing you the feelings previously mentioned on a consistent basis, could it be possible that it’s not truly your “best life”? Perhaps it’s time to re-define that concept without any outside influences.

Here’s to living out our own version of the best life in 2019, and beyond.

Practice Pillar: I encourage you to reflect on what it means to live YOUR best life. Write a list of at least five things that concept would include for you. Alternatively, think of an image that comes to mind when you think about living out your best life. What does it look like? What do YOU look like, inside and out? Do one thing this week that will take you in the direction of living your best life.