Life's simplest secret

14 July 2019 | Columns

Irene-Mari van der Walt



Advice on how to live a fulfilled life abound and are often pondered by both the self-righteous and the truly righteous.

What are we here for? What is our purpose?

Most religions suggest the answer may be love and that one must love endlessly to receive endless love in return. The problem in that however, is that it is exhausting to love without end – especially when your love is taken advantage of. Not everyone you meet will be willing to return the love and support that you give.

For some the answer to a fulfilled life may be success and legacy. As noble as these intentions may seem, they often lead to nothing but a life filled with stress, heartache and loneliness.

A life lived solely in pursuit of career glory and having your name etched in the history books, often leaves little time for more wholesome pleasures such as love, friendship and laughter. However, living solely for “wholesome pleasures” will leave at least one part of one’s life unfulfilled.

There is simply no way that you can live your life to its full potential by catering for just one aspect. It might come as a shock to some that life’s biggest secret is one simple word or action: Respect.

As beautiful as “live like nobody’s watching” may sound, doing that requires integrity and doing so is not always easy.

Instead, rather live with respect. Respect those around you, regardless of whether you love them or not. Always find it in you to give an ounce of respect. Respect what people have done for you and what they have given you.

Respect every opportunity you are given as it will often lead to newer and greater opportunities.

Last but not least, respect yourself.

People often lose respect for themselves because they expect too much of themselves. They expect to be the best parents, spouses, scholars, cooks, artists and whatever might cross their paths.

Remember that it is okay to be flawed. The key here is to keep learning and improving.

You may not feel like it, but it is not expected of you to be perfect. You can never be perfect.

Respecting others sounds harder than it actually is. Respect does not require love or loyalty. For as long as you can put on a smile and remember your manners, you are fully capable of harbouring and giving respect.

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