Living wholeheartedly

Ten goals to live a wholehearted life.

“Put your whole heart into it” may have been a phrase you heard growing up. You may remember this when in competition or when concentrating hard on something. Today this phrase is being used to describe a healthier, more balanced means of living. “Wholehearted living” is a phrase used to describe a means of social-emotional wellbeing. Brene Brown, a researcher on shame and vulnerability and author of The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who We Think We Should Be and Embracing Who We Are, provides 10 guideposts to live wholeheartedly:

  1. Cultivate authenticity: Letting go of what people think
  2. Cultivate self-compassion: Letting go of perfectionism
  3. Cultivate a resilient spirit: Letting go of numbing and powerlessness
  4. Cultivating gratitude and joy: Letting go of scarcity and fear
  5. Cultivate intuition and trusting faith: Letting go of the need for certainty
  6. Cultivate creativity: Letting go of comparison
  7. Cultivate play and rest: Letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
  8. Cultivate calm and stillness: Letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
  9. Cultivate meaningful work: Letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”
  10. Cultivate laughter, song and dance: Letting go of being cool and “always in control”

Think about each of the guidepost as a goal or example to a life with less stress. Choose one a month as a goal to continue “cultivating” each day. Another easy acronym for daily cultivation is what Brown refers to as the “vowel check”:

A-      Have you practiced abstinence today?

E-       Have you exercised today?

I-        What have I don’t for myself today?

O-      What have I done for others today?

U-      Do I have any unexpressed emotions?

Y-       The “Yeah” factor – What made me joyful today?

Michigan State University Extension suggests that if you are a parent, think how these guideposts and the vowel check could help you in your job of teaching, guiding and training your children. If you are a teen think how these could simplify and enhance your life for the better. Most people learn best through observation and repetition. Wouldn’t it be special for them to have someone in their lives whom they could say taught them or modeled these attributes? Go on, you can do it. “Put your whole heart into it!”

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