Creating a Life Worth Living – What does it mean to YOU?

In her video series, From Chaos to Freedom, Dr. Marsha Linehan tells us that 
life is worth living even when we are experiencing great pain.  

She goes on to say that we must BUILD that life worth living.  No one is going to do that for us, and in reality, they are not capable of doing so no matter how hard they may try.  Those of us who have experienced depression or suicidal ideation can attest to this.

In my own personal experience as someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, I spent many years looking outside of myself to try to create my own inner happiness. I thought the right spouse or partner would complete me and that this alone would make my life worth living. I’ve learned that no other person can take on that responsibility. It’s not fair to expect it of them.  This process must be an inside job, and we can start small: one tiny step at a time.

To begin with, each day we can do things that lift us up, make us smile, and make us feel well.  It can be something as small as sitting out in the sun for a few minutes each day to feel it’s warmth on your face, snuggling up with your pet, or soaking in a warm, foamy bubble bath to melt away the tension of the day. 

Taking the time to take care of ourselves and pamper our bodies and spirits are big steps toward building a life worth living.  We may have neglected self-care for so long that we misinterpret self-care as self-indulgence or something that we are not worthy of experiencing. When we take care of ourselves anyway, despite these thoughts, it becomes easier and easier to do so.

One thing that makes me feel good is exploring San Francisco. I feel glad to be alive when I am out and about seeing old things with new eyes. And, even with all of the years I’ve lived out in California, there are still so many new things to see, even in just this one city.

My significant other and I went to North Beach today which is an Italian neighborhood in SF.  We ordered some delicious food to take home for dinner and walked around the lively streets.  Even though I’ve seen these sights so many times before, I saw new beauty and decided to capture it with my camera to share with you.

Being around others, feeling like I am part of a community, and taking in beautiful visuals are part of my process around building a life worth living.  I practiced all of these today.

Here is a view of the Transamerica Pyramid Center from one of the steep streets in North Beach.

Here’s a view from a street perpendicular.
I took a picture of this home because I felt so soothed imagining what it must be like to live in there. My imagination ran wild.  This image is something I can look at to bring me back to this place in my mind’s eye, since I am not in this neighborhood everyday.
I found beauty in something as plain and ordinary as the red brake lights shining from a collection of cars in the distance, so I captured that in this photo. Others may find the little things that make you smile or feel good “odd,” but as long as they are meaningful to you, that’s all that matters.  You’re building YOUR life, not theirs.

So many people were out and about today.  September is one of the most beautiful months for weather in this area.  I was glad to see so many others enjoying this day with me. I took this photo close to Fisherman’s Wharf and AT&T Park.

Even though traffic was very, very heavy throughout the city, I was able to enjoy the clear skies and palm trees for miles.  

Days like these hold so many opportunities for feeling connected and well. Does a similar outing sound appealing to you?  If city exploration is not your thing, what is?   What types of things would a fun, pleasant day include for you?

What can you do today to work on building a life worth living by your standards?

Thanks for reading.
More soon.

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