The best is to stay at home, watch television and eat junk food all day. Occasionally, when there's really nothing to watch on all thousand five hundred and twenty channels (exaggerated number because when we're this down, everything is hyperbolic), we can always spend some time wallowing in self-pity and denial. Then we visit the bathroom, find something else to eat or drink and flop down in front of the telly again. By bedtime, if we're not dead, at least we'll be feeling grottier than ever before. Going to bed and sleeping off the ill health may help, but should we wake up the next day feeling depressed all over again we need not worry. After all, life sucks! So, there's absolutely nothing wrong with living like this. We don't need to feel motivated and even if we're totally out of control, we can always go onto Facebook or Twitter and tell the world how bad it really is.
There’s really more to life than focusing on ourselves. We spend so much time being self-absorbed, we don’t realize that we're sucking the energy out of our own lives. There's the pun: life sucks. Metaphorically speaking, we're doing the sucking. Life in itself is okay. It's what it has always been. I don't think our forefather pioneers went around saying “Life sucks!” as they beat down bushes and fought wild animals to make a happy trail for their families to follow. Do you really think great-great grandma, who stood up at two in the morning to build the fires for breakfast and bake bread and rusks, preserve jam and milk a cow before five gave a damn about herself? She did it for the family. She never had time to say “life sucks!” because she was too busy. She was focused. She had a purpose, a goal and a job. She wasn't busy procrastinating or making excuses for her laziness. And there lies the answer.
So life punishes us to work and the minute we work, we don’t have enough time to be self-absorbed. It’s a vicious cycle.
We really have to reach out and touch a life in order to feel alive. There are five relatively easy steps to making a difference:
- Listen. Learn to listen to other people. Here we need to know that when we listen, we're really listening because we're interested in what others are saying about themselves and their lives. We're not listening with the soul purpose of gaining from it. Drop the attitude: “He says ... so what can I say that will make him think I'm …” Remember, it's not always just about us. It's about them too. What are other people saying and how can we make a difference in their lives for them?
- Help. Offer to help wherever we can. In doing little things for others, we're focusing our energy on them. We're building relationships. We're learning to care about someone else and not just ourselves.
- React positively. We shouldn't wait for compliments or people to say thank you. We should compliment and say thank you. We should learn to praise. If we try to be humble and learn not to be jealous or competitive, we can achieve so much in a single day on a positive level.
- Be loyal. When we listen to others, we realize that they have terrible days and bad experiences too. They suffer too. No-one has it easy. The purpose of listening, wanting to help and reacting positively means that we have to remain as loyal as possible. We can't afford to listen to people and help them, only to judge, gossip or complain about them at a later stage. Making a positive difference means we have to put effort into it. We can't reach out and touch a life and then later poison it.
- Involvement. Involve those people in our lives. Invite them to dinner or a sports match over the weekend. Be considerate before we involve them. We can't take a rehabilitated alcoholic to the pub now, can we? Show people that we genuinely care. It shouldn't just be lip-service.