The Best Way to Live a Good Life

Allison Burney

It’s not easy, but it is the most rewarding

Photo by Susana Coutinho on Unsplash

I just spent a couple of hours reading the work of other writers, and their words inspired me to write more of my own.

The pieces I read weren’t of your typical “be more, do more, have more, achieve more” mentality, though. (And I have to admit, I do read my fair share of that kind of self-improvement-type articles regularly.)

Instead, they were basically of the exact opposite in nature. They were simply stories about being human.

And thinking about it now, that’s exactly why they were so darn interesting.

The truth is compelling on its own

They were about real people living their lives and sharing the stories that were theirs to tell, whether they were about a freelancing traveller, an English teacher in South Korea, or a writer struggling with feeling like an impostor.

While very different topics, they all had this one thing in common:

They were telling the truth — their truth — about life, about their current situations, and about the ups and downs. They weren’t hiding anything or trying to portray their lives as different from what they really are. They were just telling it like it is.

And there’s something very refreshing about this approach to writing — and living.

Becoming irresistible isn’t complicated, but it is hard

When someone isn’t afraid to show their humanity, ie. their vulnerability, they become irresistible. (Or rather, when they are afraid but they choose to do it anyway.) We are all afraid.

I’m not talking about spilling all your deepest, darkest secrets onto the page just to get views, or exaggerating your experiences and spinning them into something more dramatic or juicy to gain attention.

While that type of writing may be popular, it’s not for me.

I don’t want to spill my guts and spin my experiences into something that doesn’t reflect reality; I just want to be authentic — both as a person and as a writer.

The trouble is, it’s not always easy to do. Most of the time, it’s a lot more difficult to be real than it is to pretend that life’s great and everything’s going amazing for you. We can all fake a smile when we’re actually dying inside. We’re all skilled at putting on a happy face.

What we’re not skilled at is allowing ourselves to live the human experience.

We can’t keep pretending

Somewhere along the way, we learned that being a good person/being successful/surviving means being happy all the time, and — more importantly — looking like we have everything together at all times.

We believe that to be accepted and loved, we have to pretend we’re something we’re not.

We try to show only the best parts of ourselves and our lives. We only talk openly about the highlights in our lives and the things we’re most proud of. We don’t dare talk about our weaknesses, or the mistakes we’ve made, or the things we don’t know about, for fear of appearing ignorant or “less than.”

The problem with this is that there’s a whole other side to our lives and our daily experiences. We all know that not every second of every day is great, or even positive. We all know that sometimes life feels hard rather than beautiful.

So what’s wrong with admitting this?

Just be real

It sounds easy enough, right?

Well, it’s not. (But you already knew that). If it was easy, you would have been living honestly and authentically your whole life. As would I.

But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It takes courage, consciousness, intention, vulnerability, and perhaps most of all, practice. (I’m literally sweating as I write this — and I’m barely even scratching the surface of what it means to be vulnerable!)

Living a good life is important to me, though, and that’s why I’m willing to continue to try. I’m willing to continue to practice telling my truth and letting others see it, and see me.

It’s scary, yes, but the alternative scares me even more.

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and realize that I never allowed myself to be human; that is, to feel, to experience emotions (of all kinds), to make mistakes, to learn, to grow, to evolve, to connect with others in a real, meaningful way, and to build important relationships.

I think that’s why we’re really here, anyway.

I don’t want to live a fake life

We’re not here to be perfect.

We’re here to mess up, and to learn from those mess-ups. We’re here to truly live life, instead of just “get through it.”

I love the bio of writer Jessica Hillis. In it, she says, “I try to keep it real because I’m not ‘loving every moment.’” To me, admitting that you don’t know what you’re doing or that you’re not perfect is way more interesting than pretending you are.

I think we can learn the most from honesty. I think we can become the best versions of ourselves by being truthful and authentic about all aspects of our lives — even the “bad” ones.

Sharing your feelings, thoughts, fears, dreams, and struggles don’t make you unlovable or a “failure.”

It makes you human, and it makes you more relatable than you can imagine.

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Writer & proofreader. I love travel, reading, coffee, and exploring nature. On a mission to keep learning, growing, and enjoying this adventure we call life.


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