💨 Taking cold baths in the Atlantic Ocean always opens my mind and heart. As I warmed up in the autumn sun this morning, I found myself reflecting on the following question:
💦 Our life values and the way we measure them play a crucial role in shaping our personal sense of happiness. Certain values can present significant challenges for individuals, and these challenges can prove to be quite formidable. Hence, I ponder: Which values may be arduous to pursue, and what is it that I can release or let go of?
🌿 Et voilà, here is my personal response. It might not be yours but it is mine. Pleaaaaaaase share your thoughts in the comments; I’m very to hear them:
- Maintaining Positivity ALWAYS: Some of us might measure their lives by the capacity to stay positive about everything. When facing difficult situations such as infidelity, a loved one’s illness, or job loss, it’s unrealistic to simply “stay positive.” Acknowledging and processing negative emotions is a healthy way to cope. Perpetual positivity can lead to repressed negative emotions that may ultimately result in emotional dysfunction. I personally experienced a tough spring and summer this year, struggled with this. Admitting this, is releasing.
- Pursuit of Pleasure: Centering our lives around the pursuit of pleasure can be akin to addiction. Focusing solely on superficial pleasures can lead to emotional instability and increased depression. Pleasure should be a byproduct of a fulfilling life, not the primary source of happiness. In my view, pleasure is a beautiful side effect that arises when we align with our core values and (unconscious) criteria for measuring happiness.
- Materialism: Many individuals gauge their self-worth by their financial success, the type of house they live in, and their travel experiences. Research indicates that once our basic needs for shelter and food are met, the connection between happiness and material success diminishes significantly. That might lead to the conclusion that some of us – me included during my intense M&A time – have killed ourselves working overtime and sundays for basically nothing.
- The Need to Always Be Right: This can be particularly challenging for me, not only as a lawyer. In my educational and professional journey, I became highly efficient at making assumptions, assessing probabilities, and problem-solving in difficult situations. What I failed to recognize during my ambitious decades is that I often misremembered details, succumbed to cognitive biases, and let my emotions influence my decisions. Humans are permanently wrong, so I’ve learned the hard way that basing one’s life success on always being right is not a sustainable approach. Those who tie their self-esteem to infallibility hinder their personal growth and the opportunity to see different perspectives. It’s smarter to assume ignorance. This way I am in a perpetual state of learning and growth. Truly a remarkable journey that I wholeheartedly recommend.