Would you believe me If I told you the 2 most important questions were:
- How happy am I?
- How much money do I make?
I certainly hope you don’t believe me because those questions are garbage. Would you really let money define you like that? How do you even quantify happiness? No, both of these questions are rubbish. They are merely things in which society wants me to feel the pressure of performance.
What about these next two questions:
- How wise am I?
- How much do I help those around me?
These are a lot better right? While I agree that these are vital questions for every man and woman to wrestle with, I still don’t think they are the king and queen of the mountain. These questions can be a double-edged sword. The first question, for example, will often lead to comparison. The height of my wisdom is defined by how it measures up to those around me. Let me explain what I mean: If I surround myself with mature and respectable people, or if I seek out the wisdom of old philosophers, my wisdom will likely feel inadequate even through it will grow stronger than most. On the other hand, if I hang out with partiers or those who can’t seem to grow past high school, it’s easier to be like the wisest person on a sinking ship.
The second question might be dangerous if I let it lead me into Codependency. Helping people has long been one of the greatest ways to help yourself, but what about when I am poor or down on my luck? What if I am going through something big and don’t have the energy to help anyone else? Have I then lost all my value? If question #2 guides my life, is it possible for me to be broken and valuable at the same time? I’m sure you can see the care needed with such a question by now.
Let’s try these next two questions on for size:
- Will I choose to love myself?
- Will I choose to love where I am?
What do you think? Could these be the cream of the crop? I think so, and here’s why:
- Both of these questions deal with issues that are completely within your control. Unlike money (which is often outside your control) or happiness (which comes and goes like all other emotions), the choice to love is always within reach. At its heart, love is a powerful form of acceptance. If I suffer from depression or my marriage feels like its burning to the ground, my choice to accept myself and my circumstances becomes much harder, but never impossible. Even when life punches below the belt, I always have at least a shred of choice in my own sense of value.
- The word “love” gives room for so much more than just happiness. Seeing love as a verb, I believe the definition of love to be this: seeking the best for a specific person, place, or thing. If I love my wife, that means I want the best for her and seek after it. Sometimes the best thing for my wife is taking her on a date or giving her gifts. Those actions give me feelings of fulfillment or happiness. Other times, the best thing for my wife is to join her in deep pain and disappointment. Joining in that pain provides me with the opposite of joy, yet they are still moments of profound love. Choosing to love myself at all times means that I can experience unbearable pain and seek after what is best for me at the same time.
- These questions don’t depend on the actions of other people. For example, I am a huge “words of affirmation” guy, meaning that I thrive off compliments and words about my positive value. Too often I am tempted to place my ability to love myself onto the amount or quality of affirmations I get, thus making myself into a slave. If the people around me pour on the affirmations, I feel great, but if I go through a dry spell, I have a hard time seeing any value in myself. These two questions help cut through that temptation. I can either choose to love where I am in life, or choose the opposite. This gives other people the rightful ability to influence my life, yet holds on to my power to make the final decision. When I choose to love myself and believe it in my heart, I instantly become free to be myself without worry of what people might say or do.
At the core, these 2 important questions force you to reckon with your personal sense of value. They test your mettle to see if you will actually lift yourself up or wait for life to do it for you. They remind us that we are the ones in control, no matter our circumstances. They show us that the painfully illusive secret to a happy life is actually quite simple and always within our reach.
Comment Time! What are your thoughts? How have these two questions changed your life? What other questions have been important for you?
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