Praying in church

Growing up, my parents instilled plenty of lessons that have carried me through life at some of my hardest moments. As I embarked on my own life journey, many of those lessons began to whisper to me in the back of my head.

“Mama always said…”

“Daddy used to tell me…”

Now, as a mid-twenty-something, I have gotten to the point where a few of those “lessons” have become overarching ideals that guide my way of thinking, living, and being. I rarely deviate from them, and when I do, I return to them quickly because life is much simpler with them.

My bigger-than-self ideals:

  1. First and foremost, I believe in God. I believe that there is a Supreme Being far larger than myself, larger than my mind can fathom, and far kinder to me than I can ever be. I believe that my spirit is connected to Him through every single thing He has created. When I remain in tune with Him, He directs my plans and guides the fulfillment of my purpose, He convicts me when I deny my worth with certain situations and people, and He celebrates me when I triumph.
  2. Second – and almost equally important as God – I believe in purpose. We were all put here for a reason. Everything has a time and a season. There is a lesson in every struggle. Nothing – good or bad – happens haphazardly or in vain. Purpose in connection to my belief in God helps me wake up, be active, and look alive every day. It drives everything I seek to accomplish. It keeps me on track when I have certain decisions to make. It lifts me up when I feel less than valuable.
  3. Finally, I believe in the words “I am.” Those words – and the words that follow them – explain to the world what you believe you are worth. They allow us to share the story that we believe about ourselves with ourselves and with others. I try on a daily basis to make sure that the words and thoughts I connect to those two words are positive, meaningful, and empowering. On days I feel less than who I know myself to be, I write positive affirmations beginning with “I am” to remind myself that I am greater than any obstacle, circumstance, or emotion the world can throw at me.
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Why believe in something bigger than yourself?

Norman Vincent Peale said, “The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.” Believing in God, purpose, and the power of “I am” has given me a reason to be passionate in life. Having these non-negotiable values grounds in me in everything that happens day-to-day. I am also consistently reminded that life is not all about me. There are other people to consider in this world, and if I want to live as fully as possible, I have to make space for them, their troubles, and their joy in my heart. I am in full agreement with Norman Vincent Peale: losing myself daily in these values gives me infinite amounts of energy. Life becomes truly fun because I spend my time, contributing to the betterment of myself by improving the lives of those around me.

How to find your bigger-than-self beliefs:

Ask yourself a few questions. First, what do you value? Interactions? Making people happy? Praying and mediating? Nature? Order? Second, how have these values impacted your life for better or for worse? If they have impacted your life for better, you’re on the right track! (Now, write them down. “I believe in…”) If they’ve impacted it for worse, consider the value that is the opposite of what you’re doing now. How could adopting the opposite, more positive ideal impact your day-to-day living, and how can you shape it into an overarching principle that can guide your decisions, habits, and lifestyle?

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Joseph Campbell says, “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Be a hero to yourself and to someone else by giving your thoughts, habits, and life to something bigger than you.