Does What You Live For Make Life Better For You or Worse?

Project 365 June 2008 Mosaic

Image by Newbirth35 via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #212 – Figure out what you are living for and use it to make your life wonderful.

All of us have at least one thing in life that will undo us.  We all have something(s) that we consider worth living for.  For the most primitive to the most cultured, from the most defended to the most vulnerable, we have this (these) soft spot(s).  For me, it is my family.  Many of us might say the same, but there are others of us who have other beauties, treasures, The Pearl (as described by Steinbeck) that they would unravel over.

Because this is so scary, we might get snared up in where to go banking when we think about this.  We buy more guns, build more storehouses, fill our basement with jugs of water and like Japan, we find ourselves undone by our own preparations.

An interesting statistic is that homes with guns in them have more suicides.  In famine, the rats eat all the grain before we can.  And poor Japan, who had the most amazing defenses against, an unheard of, three simultaneous natural disasters, is leaking cancer.

Pricilla, also, was almost undone.  She’d argued with her husband and she felt fragmented by it.  She felt herself dissolving from the emotional pain and did not even want to recover.  The argument was bad.  The construct of her world precariously balanced moment by moment immobilizing her.  If she moved, she was afraid of which way life would tilt.

Soft spots can be our greatest strengths though.  We can see them as weakening our defense against life’s cruelty, or we can see them otherwise.  When we live defensively, we miss a lot.  Pricilla, I was fortunate enough to witness, chose to go towards her pain, which was in fact going towards what made life valuable to her.  Pricilla wasn’t able to do this until her emotions (what she interpreted her reality with) became more friendly to her.  Her emotions had been awry and she had been a fearful person for a long time.  After working hard on her medical illness through self-care, including medications and other life-style changes, Pricilla became less preoccupied with her ruminating fears.

Pricilla was learning through gene therapy (i.e., medications and lifestyle changes) to use her love for her husband as a strength.  I wonder about those in Japan.  I know we have prayed for them and hurting for them and hoping.

The other day in my children’s Classical Conversations class one of the teachers prayed for the rescue and survival for the citizen’s of Japan.  I prayed for a wonderful death or dying process for those who weren’t going to live.  I don’t think either of us prayed better or braver than the other and I don’t bring this up to qualify prayers.  I say it to highlight how we were holding our soft-spots.  The individual Japanese is at the point in their life’s journey, I imagine, where the life lived till now was a preparation of sorts for how they would hold themselves during this disaster.  How did they defend themselves?  Were their soft-spots their points of vulnerability and weakness, or strength?

Questions:  What do you live for?  Is it empowering to you or does it make you scared?  Please tell me your story.

21 thoughts on “Does What You Live For Make Life Better For You or Worse?

  1. I live for the love of and for family, friends, God… and, although it empowers me, it also terrifies me because I am so afraid of losing those I love. What the people in Japan are going through now is my worst nightmare and the grace with which they are handling their situation is awe-inspiring. I like your prayer, Sana. It’s one they will need for a terribly long time, I’m afraid.


  2. The time for dreams, ambitions, anticipations or triumphs are past now. I’m afraid time has evaporated and that proverbial sand of time has sifted through my fingers despite my efforts to capture some. Today I live as the shoulders upon which rest the security of my parents, children and grandchildren. I am afraid that Nancy is spot on about Japan. That place is becoming 4 hopelessly contaminated rocks and it looks like it may be the end of that civilization. They are handling it most admirably well.


  3. This is a great post. Gets me thinking but i think the worst part is that I don’t know what I live for…

    I think that’s what keeps me stuck in most of my un-healthy and MH issues. Yes, I love my family and friends but they haven’t stopped me from years of treatment and hospitalizations along the way.

    How do I figure out what makes life for me?

    Thanks Dr Q!


  4. Like most everyone else, I live for my family…but what I am learning along my way is to live for whatever my life is touching in the moment. If I am in nature, I respect it and am in awe of God…if I am eating out I am kind and generous to those serving me…if I encounter a stranger I smile…I hope that if I can live in a way to postively impact those on my journey, maybe they will do the same, and what a wonderful world we can create…of course, I must be mindful to do this and I have my less stellar moments in life as well, but I am trying


  5. Some things I care a lot about are the things that make me happy, and not just family, but my hobbies, too. These things can cause me stress, though, because I worry about losing them. I feel bad worrying about such things when the people in Japan are going through real problems. When I think of what matters most, though, it is not the things that make me happy, but the happiness itself, and my health, and my faith.


    • i think many of us can relate to that awkwardness that comes when we have plenty in the company of those who have less – your example of Japan rings with us. Thank u for saying it out right. I’m wondering what u do w that awkwardness?


      • I remind myself how good I have it and am able to appreciate what I have. It helps me to be more positive and to not whine about silly things. At least, I can keep my selfishness at bay for a little while.


  6. My first thought is my family, but is it really? What did I do to make through each day before I had a husband and kids? Work, travel, go to school. Alot of my current issues revolve around them…but what were my issues before? That I don’t know, if i knew I’d have all the answers to my self help theapy. Maybe I will pretend to put myself in the shoes of those deeply impacted by the disaster in Japan and then maybe I can find an answer to what truely makes me happy.


  7. Simple pleasures – sharing a glass of wine with my husband outside at the end of the day, still laughing at his jokes decades on, talking nonsense with friends over coffee, an early morning swim in the ocean, being creative, travel, the discipline of work – so many things 😉


  8. I can remember the things that brought me joy, my God, finally being with my grandkids, son and daughter in law, being out in nature and the awesomeness of God’s creation. I need to bring these things back to my self right now when I need them the most. Lately the depression has covered them all up and I must find a way to bring them back.


    • nicely done Becky! these r things definitely worth living for. it’s good news that they’re in your mind. the lovelies of life being masked by depression is a terrible thing but it is not forever and u will have these joys again. keep on.


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