"Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough." -Ernest Hemingway.
If I have learned anything in my life so far, it is that I am never happier than when I feel like I am being truly and genuinely myself. When I feel like I am putting forth effort into every aspect of my life.
It is so easy for us to take a break from ourselves once in a while. And once in a while, it can be healthy, to just not think about who we are in this exact moment. But ignoring the immediacy of our lives for a long period of time can end up being detrimental to our lives.
And this doesn't mean that we have to be constantly trying to make things happen in our lives. We don't have to be pushing ourselves and pushing ourselves every second of every day. Putting effort into your life means being truly and wholly whatever you are right now. If you are sad, be sad. If you are angry, be angry. If you are in transition, be in transition. If you are unsure, be unsure. If you are happy, be the best happy you can be. If you are felling lazy, be lazy. Effort requires awareness and heart. After you make the effort to be what you are in this moment, then you can recognize what needs to change.
1. Put effort into your relationships.
Whether it is a friendship, a romance, or a family bond, put effort into the people that surround you. It takes work to keep a friend. It takes work to be a friend. To have friends, you have to be a friend. Although these relationships may come naturally and be easy, there are always bumps in the road and life throws curveballs. So make an effort to be someone's something. You could be the once a month phone call someone gets or you could be the daily hug someone needs. The people in our lives matter, so we have to make sure we let them know that once in a while by doing things for them or just simply telling them.
2. Put effort into your vocation.
Maybe you haven't what you want to be or do yet. But you have interests. You have that one thing that makes you happy to do. That one talent you can give to the world to make it a little more colorful. And whether you are or are not getting paid to pursue this, pursue it anyway.
3. Put effort into yourself.
Make your life yours. Completely and undoubtedly. Do what you love. Try, try, and try again to make yourself and those around you, happy.