8 Questions to Ask on Your Healing Journey

Crystal Jackson

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Everyone wants to talk about living their best lives. It’s this catchphrase that sounds great, but I wonder what it looks like in actuality. It has to be more than goals or resolutions because the implication isn’t that we’re planning to live our best lives but that we are living them already.

  • How does that manifest?
  • What does it mean?
  • How do we actually start living our best lives?

Then we have to consider what living our best lives look like to us on an individual level. It makes me think of a happy life and a healthy one, but the specifics can be customized on a person-by-person basis. While it’s not one-size-fits-all, here are a few general things we can do to go from saying we’re living our best lives to actually living them.

Focus on Fitness, Not Size or Weight

This needs to be fairly high on the list because we tend to internalize societal beauty standards. We’re our own worst critic, but we need to flip the script and start focusing on fitness and wellness rather than size and weight. To do this, we have to stop putting a number on the weight our bodies need to be healthy. Instead, we regroup and think of health, fitness, and wellness from the perspective of doing right by our bodies and taking good care of us.

This looks like being active because it’s good for our health. It looks like focusing on strength and endurance versus weight and clothing size. It looks like eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water, and being conscious of what we’re consuming in a health-related way rather than a fad-diet related way.

Being a conscious consumer is more than just reading nutrition labels. It’s knowing the ingredients in our food and caring where they come from and how they were made. It’s watching out for toxins in what we consume and making healthier choices. It’s balancing our indulgences with good care for our bodies overall. It’s wanting to be our healthiest selves rather than our skinniest and learning to embrace and be comfortable in the skin we’re in.

Get a Health Check

Part of that emphasis on health and wellness involves getting health checks and STI screenings. General health checks are essential to making sure that we take good care of ourselves. If we’re involved in intimate relationships or plan to be, we need to make sure that our health checks include regular STI screenings.

Health checks go beyond the medical profession. If we are experiencing regular depression or anxiety, we need to make sure that we reach out to mental health professionals as well to take care of our overall health and address our wellness holistically. It’s not a weakness to see a therapist about a problem any more than it would be to see a medical doctor because we got pneumonia or the flu. We need to eradicate mental health stigmas and reach out when we need help to be our healthiest, happiest selves.

Embrace New Interests

It’s important to take the time to learn something new. That might be a new language or simply reading up on a subject that’s always held a certain amount of fascination for us. We could take a class, or simply go online and learn about something that strikes our fancy.

The benefit of this is that our lives aren’t stale and boring. We’re involved, learning, and engaged in the lives we’re living. It will make us more interesting partners in relationships, and it will enrich our lives if we’re single. Now that’s a win-win.

Get To Know Yourself

Maybe you think you already know who you are. Maybe you don’t have a clue. Living our best lives isn’t possible if we don’t know ourselves, which includes what we want out of life and out of any potential partnerships. We need to consider our priorities, deal-breakers, and preferences. One benefit of doing this is that we won’t stay partnered simply out of boredom, loneliness, not knowing what we want, or because we think we have to settle. The relationships we choose to engage in will be fully intentional, and this will be reflected in the relationship quality.

We won’t be using other people or repeating toxic behaviors because we’ll be confident in our own authenticity. We’ll know who we are and what we deserve, and we won’t settle for anything less. Instead, we’ll get very comfortable in our own skin, living our best lives.

Organize Your Finances

To live our best lives we need to address our relationship with money. Eliminating debt, addressing unhealthy spending, and learning to save and even invest can be ways of getting our finances in order. We can learn to cultivate a healthier relationship with money and cull out any toxic behaviors that leave us feeling stressed out.

This might mean learning to coupon or use savings apps. It could mean picking up a part-time job or home side hustle. It might mean cutting up a credit card or learning to save for what we want rather than always having the hit of instant gratification combined with instant debt. We might start saving change or trading our morning coffee expense for a small chunk of change in savings for the vacation we’d like to go on. It starts with little steps, but it can make a big difference.

Perform a Relationship Health Check

Family and friendships are an important part of our social support, but it’s always great to perform a relationship health check to determine which relationships are healthy and which ones are toxic. We can begin to limit or eliminate toxic relationships from our lives to make room for healthy ones.

Sometimes performing this health check will determine that we are the ones with toxic behaviors. If that seems to be the case, we can also do the work we need to do in order to change our ways and having healthier relationships, which include effective communication and healthy boundaries.

Fall in Love -- With Yourself

The single best thing we can do to live our best lives is to fall in love with ourselves. Not just with our cute little quirks but with our whole selves, every fault, flaw, strength, and talent. We need to love ourselves so well that we won’t settle for anything less from the relationships in our lives.

It’s not just about confidence. It’s about embracing who we are and really coming to a place of joy and peace about ourselves and the lives we’re living. It’s making new choices when the old ones don’t serve us and always choosing for our highest good rather than our lowest impulses.

Live Your Actual Best Life

When we’re in love with ourselves, we truly do want to live our best lives. We’re not fixating on our relationship status or finding the perfect person to fill our lives up. We’re becoming that perfect person, and we’re starting to create our best lives.

It’s not just something we talk about. It’s an active intention we set every day to live well. Sometimes this means that we’re actually working on our bucket lists, all those things we want to see and do before we kick that proverbial bucket. Living our best lives means aligning ourselves with our purpose to create the kind of life we want to be living. It’s taking those steps forward to make our lives align with our dreams rather than trying to force our dreams to align with our lives. It’s thinking big and really working toward what we want.

To live our best lives implies a certain standard of living that, hopefully, would positively influence others. It’s practicing kindness, compassion, and empathy in the world. It’s giving to charities or volunteering our time. It’s caring about animals or the planet. It’s more than holding some ideas; it’s a lifestyle that does something about the way we feel.

Living our best lives doesn’t mean trying to squeeze into society’s definition of attractiveness. Instead, it’s all about focusing on holistic wellness and creating the kind of lives we don’t need vacations to escape. It really is about living the dream and not just saying that one day we will.

It’s also about knowing ourselves, on a deep and intimate level, and refusing to settle for anything less than what we deserve. It’s staying true to our own true north and knowing that the decisions we make that serve our highest purpose are always the best ones.

It’s about love. Loving others well. Loving ourselves completely.

It’s about living the best lives we can in the time that we have because the days seem long, but our lives are short. Precious. Important. It’s intentional living, mindful living, loving living. And it matters.

We can all afford to do a little more to live our best lives. How will you start today?

Personal GrowthRelationshipsHealthCultureSociety

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Crystal Jackson is a former therapist turned writer. She is the author of the Heart of Madison series and a volume of poetry entitled My Words Are Whiskey. Her work has been featured on Medium, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, The Good Men Project, and Elephant Journal. When she's not writing, you can find her traveling, paddle boarding, cycling, throwing axes badly but with terrifying enthusiasm, hiking, or curled up with her nose in a book in Madison, Georgia, where she lives with one puppy and two wild and wonderful children. Crystal writes about relationships, mental health, parenting, social justice, and more. Never miss an update. Subscribe to emails: https://crystaljacksonwriter.substack.com/

Madison, GA
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