In Honour of What Is Important

Love that is allThis week, on the same day just a couple of hours apart, two of my closest friends each lost a beloved parent.

I know that pain.

I have felt it.

My heart bleeds for them both.

Death is so final.

There is no going back.

It seems such an obvious thing to say.

But the finality of death only really smacks you in the face when someone you love has just died.

There are no more second chances.

No more tomorrows.

No more time to say what you really wanted to say.

Death puts life into perspective.

It forces you to reflect on what is truly important.

It forces the realisation that we spend so much of our lives focused on the stuff that doesn’t really matter.

We just pretend that it does.

What Really Matters

When all is said and done, relationships are all that really matter.

The people we love.

The people who love us.

The relationship we have with ourselves.

And the work we each do to nurture and grow those relationships.

Love.

That is all.

Everything else is just ‘noise’.

The Distractions

Yet we spend so much of our lives focusing on the minutiae of life.

Work. Careers. Business. Money. Our homes. Our stuff.

Our attempts to keep on top of our ever-increasing lists of responsibilities.

As though that is what really matters.

Why?

Is it so that we can feel important and worthy?

To who? Ourselves? Other people?

To prove, to convince, once and for all, that we are Good Enough?

Surely then, when we have proved our worth, our work will be done.

Surely then it will have been worth sacrificing the time we could have spent nurturing our relationships…

Because THEN we will know.

Or will we?

What If….

But what if it’s all bullshit?

Unnecessary bullshit.

What if we didn’t have to prove ourselves to anyone?

Not to other people. Not to ourselves.  Not even to God/the Universe/whoever.

What if our very existence is the only proof we need of our worthiness?

What if we just need to get over ourselves and stop tripping over our own egos?

What if the ‘noise’ was just an enjoyable way to pass the time while we learn to love ourselves and each other?

Nothing more.

Nothing that really counts in the end.

Easier Said Than Done?

How exactly can we put the ‘noise’ into perspective when the world is constantly screaming at us to ‘prove’ our worthiness?

When it judges us by:

The amount of money we make.

The number of clients we have.

The number of friends we have.

The type of career success we achieve.

The kind of house we live in.

The type of car we drive.

And on and on it goes.

And then, there’s what we do to ourselves.

The constant comparing of ourselves and our achievements to this or ‘that’ person over there who has made it. Who has it all figured out. Who has what we want.

You know. The one who is smarter, cleverer, prettier, more outgoing, funnier.

The one who is Good. Enough.

Coming Full Circle

It all starts, and ends, dear reader, with YOU (and me).

To focus on what really matters, to see the ‘noise’ for what it is, depends on this:

Your ability to love and accept yourself fully.

To believe that you are already ‘enough’.

To believe you have nothing to prove.

To believe there is nowhere you have to go, nothing you have to do, in order to prove your worthiness.

To be able to enjoy the ‘noise’ without it either feeding or deflating your ego.

So that you can get on with what really matters.

The Truth

All of this becomes possible only when we learn how to love ourselves fully.

Truly. Madly. Deeply.

And that is not all.

We can only love others and give of ourselves in our relationships to the extent that we love ourselves.

We cannot give to others, or get from them, that which we are not first giving to ourselves. It’s impossible.

That is my work and my lesson to learn in this life.

And it is yours.

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22 Comments

  1. My dad died 3 weeks ago and this post makes so much sense to me it’s what I have spent 3 weeks thinking about!

    • I’m so sorry for your loss Tara. Thank you for commenting, I’m glad the post made sense and resonated with you.

  2. What a lovely post, beautiful and full of great reminders!

    A (slightly amended) quote I often give my clients – from Helen Fielding spy novel, our heroine uses it when at parties alone feeling self-conscious:

    “No one is thinking about you. They’re thinking about themselves, just like you are RIGHT NOW”

    Your post has reminded me that this doesn’t just apply to networking and social situations, but to LIFE. No one else is thinking THAT hard about whether you’re successful, how many clients etc you have, because they’re all worrying about themselves!

    And, as Dr Seuss says,

    “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”

    Thanks, Julie, another great post!

    • Thanks for your comment and feedback Marsha. You’re right, much of the time other people are far too busy worrying about their own stuff to have the time or inclination to focus on ours!

      So often we make other people’s behaviour mean something negative about us, when in reality it’s almost always about them.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful response, glad you enjoyed the post.

  3. Lovely post. What a great reminder about life. I’m back home visiting family after being away for a year and a half and these are the things I realize and think about the most in moments like this. So thankful for another year with my aging grandparents.

  4. This is so beautiful. It reminds me of a quote I’ve been thinking of lately.
    “Only connect.” ~E.M. Forster

    And also just helped me make a decision about whether or not to take a week to go see my family at the end of this month. Will definitely be making that happen 🙂 Relationships are what matter. Such a great reminder. Thank you!

    • Thank you for commenting Elyse and also for sharing the quote.

      I’m so pleased this post has helped you make the decision to go and visit your family this month – have a great time! 😉

  5. Thank you for writing this. It was exactly what I needed to hear this morning. Loss sits so heavy because there are no more chances to do now what you’ve been telling yourself you’ll get to when you’ve taken care of all your responsibilities. Take time now to be with the ones you love and allow yourself to be loved this very moment. No accomplishment will make you more lovable or more able to love.

    • Thank you for leaving a comment Shana, I’m so glad the post was timely for you this morning.

      Thanks also for sharing your thoughts, especially: “Take time now to be with the ones you love and allow yourself to be loved this very moment. No accomplishment will make you more lovable or more able to love.”

      Beautiful – and so true.

  6. Such beautiful post, Julie. My grandfather recently visited us and we had nice, long conversation over dinner about how important it is to Be Here Now with your loved ones. He expressed many regrets about his life to me – ALL of them having to do with not taking care of relationships that were important to him. It meant the world to me to actually be able to have that conversation with him, with my mom and husband and daughters there too. I felt that we all left the table feeling a little more whole and little more loved than when we sat down.

    • Hi Andrea, thanks for sharing about the experience you had with your grandfather. Your story illustrates again that not taking care of our relationships is THE thing we are most likely to regret when we get towards the end of our lives. Not the unimportant stuff, the ‘noise’ we all seem to give so much of our time to!

      It’s heartening to hear that your grandfather has had this realisation now and that he was able to share it with you and your family. It sounds like his honesty and ability to share his true feelings with you all has created a deeper connection between you.

      Thank you again.

    • Thank you Desiree, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and that the timing was perfect for you. I appreciate you taking the time to let me know.

  7. Oooh I enjoyed your writing! So profound and elegantly put. You’re right. We were created to be in community. Without meaningful relationships we die. Death of a loved one certainly does bring back perspective in our otherwise busy lives. Thanks for posting 🙂

    • Thanks for the feedback Sonja and for sharing your thoughts. Especially: “Without meaningful relationships we die.” So true!

  8. Hi Julie, such a beautiful post. We forget how precious life is when we’re so busy.

    ” To believe that you are already ‘enough’.” I’m adding that to my affirmations for this week.

    hugs – and some extra hugs for your friends
    Mandy xo

  9. Thank you Mandy! Thanks also for thinking of my friends, I’m sure they could both do with some extra hugs now.

  10. Sheer poetry. We all know that only LOVE is real but we need constant reminders. This is one of them. Thank you. The Course in Miracles reminds of this on every page because that’s how quickly we forget. We can’t say it enough.

    • Wow, thank you for your lovely feedback Silvia! So true, we can’t be reminded of this stuff enough – it’s so easy to forget when life gets in the way.

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