As I get older, I’m letting go of the guilty desire to form permanent habits. I decided a while ago to start jumping rope every day. I did it for about three weeks and was pleased with the results. Then, of course, I became bored, because I am a human being. So now I do some indoor cycling because that’s what I enjoy doing. I cut out most of the sugar from my diet for a week to challenge myself, and now I’m back to eating sweets, though I don’t carve them as much. Growth is all about pushing yourself, trying new things, and setting small, attainable goals for yourself. Not selecting a good habit that you have resolved to do always and forever from now on. That is not discipline; it is futile self-torture and unhealthy resistance to change. What is good for you today might not be good for you tomorrow.

Your life is entirely yours. Wanting your life to benefit you is not selfish. It’s not self-centred to wonder, “What am I getting out of this?” And it’s not selfish to walk away if the answer is “not much.” It’s admirable that you’re humble, empathic, and understanding, but you’re not a martyr. You have the right to be first on your priority list. Your life is something you design, not something you have to live through. Yes, you must work hard to create the life you desire, but it is preferable not to live on autopilot and allow others to determine your path. I hope you take control of your life. That you recognise that wanting the best for yourself is not selfish. It is not selfish to live a happy life without seeking approval from others. It is never selfish to create a loving, beautiful home within yourself.

Take the small victories. You awoke today. You have people who are concerned about you. You now have a place to live. In the park, you can see cute little puppies. You can get tea or coffee whenever you want. Today is the day to see the sunset. We can become so preoccupied with the things that we forget about the small things that matter. You are alive and well. You are consuming water. You still have another day to live, if you can’t figure out anything. If you are unable to obtain an A on your tests. If you can’t run 10 kilometres right now. It makes no difference. Stop worrying because it will not change anything. You’ll get there in the end. Today, concentrate on the minor details that will make you happy. Take the small victories today, you’ve got this.

Life does not always follow a straight path. Things become jumbled and tangled, and our paths twist and turn in unexpected directions. Things happen at the wrong time, and opportunities are missed. Some things happen that we simply cannot comprehend at the moment, no matter how badly we want to know the answer. And some things we wish would happen just don’t. Life can be messy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be wonderful. Because even in the midst of the chaos, even in the mistakes and missed opportunities, even when you don’t know what to do or where to turn, there are so many beautiful moments. There is still love, joy, and light in the world. There is still joy and kindness. So maybe life is messy, but it doesn’t have to be any other way. Perhaps it is in the midst of the chaos that we can see all of the things that are most important.

Others can never feel what you feel about yourself. You better know yourself than others do. Your perception of me is a reflection of you, my reaction to you is an awareness of me. The key to success in life is your perception. You will face difficulties, difficult situations, difficult decisions, and uncertain paths. There will be times when you get lost somewhere in the middle of nowhere, caught up in the “ifs” and “maybes” of life. Sometimes life will completely deviate from your expectations, and you will find yourself resting on unknown pillars. When life appears to be going against what you had planned for yourself, it is your perception that keeps you afloat. It is how you perceive life’s decisions that will either hold you back or pull you through a period of uncertainty. When you force your soul to fear and panic over what you cannot control, you lose yourself to despair. Set yourself free to the waves of life; they will guide you and lead you in the direction of your destiny. If you believe that life is conspiring against you, you will be overcome with anxiety and stammer with fear the moment you believe you have lost control. However, if you believe that life is always guiding you, fear will fade and knowledge will become your constant companion.

Being at peace with yourself is one of the most important things you can do for your happiness. In life, you will make mistakes, take the wrong turn, trust the wrong people, and realise that you could have acted or spoken differently – or not acted or spoken at all – in certain situations. You will go through phases where you are not proud of yourself and do things you wish you hadn’t. But it is the imperfections, lessons, realisations, and amendments that make you human; they are all a part of being and maturing.

You cannot mature in life unless you make mistakes that you admit to yourself to be incorrect and are willing to learn and change from. You can’t grow if you don’t want to outgrow yourself. Above all, you cannot be at peace with yourself if you refuse to forgive yourself for the things that make you human. You cannot be at peace with yourself if you refuse to accept your own apology and allow yourself to progress in your learning.

It’s okay to just be. I am not doing anything impressive with my life right now. I tell myself tomorrow will be a better day and sometimes it is.

Dr. R.K. Panchal

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.