Discovering what is important in life is a long process.
Happiness and abundance come from the values of creating, giving, and sharing.
We have all been subjected to a lifetime of social conditioning — on appearances and behavior. We mistakenly think that we have to live up to a certain standard in order to be acceptable. We are saturated with images and ads that some people are practically brainwashed.
Consumerism is all about accumulating, obtaining the new, the best, and the “in” thing. The material fix from buying the latest gadget, status symbol is just a passing “high.” The novelty eventually wears off.
It takes maturity to realize that one is not perfect and cannot have everything. People will not always love, appreciate or approve of whatever we do.
When one learns to accept certain things, it is possible to achieve a sense of serenity.
It is necessary to reassess and redefine the self and what one believes in. We should not be influenced too much by what others say that we should believe in. They are entitled to their opinion. A sense of confidence is born of self-approval.
A process of sifting through the “doctrines” is necessary.
There are old habits, notions and ways of thinking and doing that we have to unlearn. We have to discard those that are no longer relevant. Only the essential values should be kept.
There is joy in giving rather than accumulating and obtaining. Contentment comes from creating and contributing.
The lesson here is gratitude for all the blessings, big and small, that millions on earth do not have but wish they could have. Among them — a home, food in the refrigerator, clean running water. Above all, we have peace, freedom of choice, and the opportunity to pursue our dreams.
Loving and caring of the self means avoiding self-destructive behavior and dysfunctional relationships. A balanced lifestyle and diet with plenty of water and regular exercise. Fatigue drains the spirit and the body needs rest. Laughter is good for the body and the spirit. One needs time to play and relax.
Over the years, we learn about how to love and how much to give. When to stop giving and when to walk away.
Then, we have to control the ego.
We should acknowledge and diffuse destructive emotions such as anger, jealousy, envy, and resentment.
We should cultivate humility. We should be able to say “I was wrong.” We have to forgive people and build bridges and remove walls.
We should see people are they are and not project qualities that are not there. They grow and change. Real love is one that is given freely without conditions or limitations.
One should stop looking for guarantees. Change happens slowly or suddenly. One has to conquer fear and deal with the unexpected.
Solitude does not mean being lonely. It is a joyful discovery — to spend time with oneself. It is leads to a deepening spirituality, healing and growth.
Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.