Live a Fulfilling Life on Purpose

For years I’ve been inspired by these words from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition, to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.

I began to create a life from the inside out and embraced Emerson’s message. I looked around my world for what gave me hope in the midst of unpredictable chaos. Here are some things I’ve learned so far on my journey and I hope you’ll find some that resonate with your experiences.

Declutter Your Space, Heart, and Life

Many of us at some point or another have become stymied by the quantity of unneeded belongings, the hurts in our hearts, and the unpleasant activities in our days and now are taking action to gently clear our lives of thoughts, things, and experiences that are “soul-sucking.” This often creates freedom, peace of mind, and breathing room for other purposeful and life-giving adventures. Let go courageously.

Leave People Empowered

Maya Angelou’s words shed a bright light on this idea, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It’s often been painful to admit all the moments that we’ve hurt another or made them feel invisible. On the other hand, it feels amazing to listen, embrace, and celebrate another person. Most of us want to be seen, heard, and valued. Be the person who listens and uplifts others as often as you can.

Grow in Self-Awareness and Self-Compassion

It can take tremendous courage, to be honest with yourself about how you treat yourself and others. Many of us may live with a critical internal voice and observe that we can be unkind to ourselves. We notice we are generous and friendly with others but live with unpleasant feelings on the inside. We may be exhausted from overextending ourselves. Maybe it’s time for deep self-care and self-nurturing. It may be an opportunity to quiet the inner critic and look in the mirror with eyes of love.

Really hard things can happen and these events often become a catalyst. We finally must allow space and time to grieve old hurts and feel our fury in ways that don’t hurt others or ourselves. Be brave enough to release these feelings, make amends, and forgive yourself and others.

It’s a non-linear, two steps forward, and then slipping in the mud process. Glimmers and then fuller experiences of clarity, joy, and acceptance emerge in time. We can only be responsible for our thoughts, spoken words, and actions. Begin to embrace yourself with compassion and grace.

Find A Nuanced Middle Ground

The extremes of working all the time without rest or play takes a toll. Being a couch potato for hours, mindlessly numbing out with TV shows or unhealthy food on the other extreme is also not usually a great way to live life. There’s a nuanced middle path of finding a flow among work, rest, play or contribution, self-care, and connection. Attempt to look for your own sweet spot of dynamic equilibrium. Do what brings you life.

Cultivate Healthy Relationships with Others

Be discerning about the people who have your best interests at heart and you have theirs. You see their gifts, vulnerability, strengths, and honesty and they see yours. Having been thrown under buses by others, you learn to be stronger, more aware, and capable of standing back up, dodging those who have ill-intent or are not aware and don’t care to be aware of how much they hurt others. Find and create healthy bonds with those who see your goodness and gifts and you see theirs. Find common ground with these colleagues and beloved ones. Hold each other high.

Hold Compassion for Others

Consider that you have no idea what another person that you are meeting has lived or endured. When you see strangers or interact with people who behave badly, know that is what they are doing with their pain, addictions, or struggles. It’s not personal. They may be tortured souls who endured many traumas. You can choose to silently walk away or intervene on behalf of those they are mistreating, or firmly speak your truth and set clear boundaries.

Assume that most people you meet have dealt with something or many things that have challenged them and that they have failed to achieve some goals or even had to set some down forever. They are either struggling or striving to be the best version of themselves. Work to see others with eyes of compassion.

Be Unstoppable in the Face of Doubters

You, like me, may be acutely aware from life experiences that sometimes the people who have been closest to you are your most feared challengers and doubters. What I’ve learned inside that crucible is words and deeds from tortured souls often cannot have the same weight as the words and deeds from healthy, reasonable people with keen insight. You may have to pull apart other people’s words and deeds from your own truths. Consider the source. Some people have deep, unresolved pain and doubters sometimes are wrestling with their own insecurities. They also may have big fears about your dreams.

Sometimes people struggle to find their own courage, strength, and faith. Your brave bright light might make them squint and squirm. Go about living true to your heart, dreams, and really big desires that come from the deepest part of you. Your ideas, especially the ones that give you goosebumps, matter. Unwavering, unrelenting inspired actions will produce results. Keep going.

Leave the World a Little Bit Better

Many of you live your life quietly making a positive difference by smiling at your neighbors, taking care of animals, growing a garden, creating a home that reflects your tastes and joys, raising healthy children, and working in steady service to others. You do small acts with great love each day of your life. You make mistakes, learn, and recover. You experience heartbreak, grieve, and rise strong. You love and share love with others and believe in your heart that you will die peacefully knowing you shared your soul gifts with your beloved ones and community. Much of life happens in the small moments of being alive. Share your gifts. Your unique contributions make a difference.

Laura Staley
Laura Staley
The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura helps people thrive in the physical spaces where they live and work. She educates people about the optimal arrangement of belongings for comfort, safety, and flow; de-cluttering for freedom; and planning transitions to new or updated spaces for optimal joy in life. Laura knows that the conditions of our homes and workplaces shape the quality of our lives. Trained and certified with the Western School of Feng Shui and seasoned by more than a decade working with a variety of clients, Laura uses her intuition and expertise to help her clients produce remarkable results in their lives. Her own awakening to the power of feng shui came on the heels of a flood and the realization that she could live with beloved belongings rather than unloved hand-me-down stuff. Her trifecta of serving people includes public speaking, writing, and compassionate coaching. Laura is a published author of the books Let Go Courageously and Live with Love: Transform Your Life with Feng Shui and Cherish Your World Gift Book: 100 Tips to Enhance Your Home and Your Life. Prior to creating her company, Laura worked as a full-time parent and an assistant professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University. Her joys in life include loving her dog, laughing with great friends, dancing, reading, meditating, running, being in nature, and listening to music she loves. You are welcome to connect with Laura below.
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Helen Heinmiller
Helen Heinmiller

Hi Laura, what an inspirational piece! I can see we share the same journeys. Your point about compassion for others is pivotal in making a great life for yourself. When I committed to seeing everyone that was in opposition to what I was doing or was hurtful, as souls with wounds that needed healing, the dynamic of my responses and relationships changed. I did have to make decisions about cutting out of my life certain people, family, friends, and others, but I understood it was necessary if I was to thrive. Living a soulful life helps people and the planet more than we could possibly see. It is not selfish, it is self-care.

Mary Schaefer

Hi Laura. I would like to be more even-keeled with your point titled, “Hold Compassion for Others.” It reminds me of one of my favorite quotations I have not visited in awhile.

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element… I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration… If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” ― Haim G. Ginott, Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers

I’m also reminded that when I’m judging another that I cannot possibly know what is going on with them. I’m looking through my lens creating a story and they are just doing life. If I could just make this less about me ;) Thank you for ALL of your points.

Larry Tyler

Much of life happens in the small moments of being alive. Share your gifts. Your unique contributions make a difference……This is so true and it is how we truly make a difference doing small things every say. Thank you . Strong Ink Indeed!


Powerful voices from around the globe that speak to our shared human experience. May they inspire you and give you great hope.



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