Life gets a lot easier when you know what you’re about. That means knowing what you value, knowing what you’ll allow yourself and what you’ll allow into your life. It sounds easy, but in a world where we’re constantly bombarded by information and everyone and their mom’s opinions, it can be difficult to decide what you’re about.

I’ve found a simple way to do this, and it came to me in a strange way. I focused on the negative. I focused on what made me feel the worst and want I didn’t want to be.

I thought of all of those painful times when I did things, said things or times when things were done to me that made me feel terrible. The way to be happy is to avoid the bad, right? Well, we can’t avoid all the bad things. Life throws those kind of things at us to encourage our growth and point us in the right direction so I used that kind of thinking to figure out what I’m about.

One of the things that made me feel the worst was feeling weak.

I hated feeling weak. Not being confident in my body’s ability would leave me full of self-doubt and self-loathing. I used to always be made fun of for being skinny and it made me feel like I wasn’t enough or like I was lesser than my peers. I’d shame my body along with the others and feel terrible about myself. All of those crappy feelings made me realize that I’m about strength.

I’m all about feeling strong and capable. I’m all about eating good and exercising to build my body into a strong one so that I’ll never have to experience those feelings again. It took a long time, and I still have a ways to go, but I’m so much happier and so much further along then if I hadn’t decided that enough was enough and that I didn’t want to be weak. I’m about being strong.

Another thing that brought a constant stream of negative energy into my life was living in falsehood. Telling lies, not doing what I was suppose to do or not staying true to my values would destroy me internally. I’d worry and worry and worry until I was going crazy and the falsehood would follow me around and haunt me like a loyal ghost.

How are you supposed to enjoy life and what’s in front of you when you can’t shake off the falsehood that’s living on your back? It’s a lesser life, my friend. I wouldn’t do those kind of things often, but when I did, it was as if that falsehood was amplified and that was all I could think about. It consumed me.

So I decided that I’m about truth. I’m about telling the truth even when it hurts and seems as if all will be lost. I’m about staying true to my values and what I’m about. Now, I’m not perfect, but I rarely tell a lie or live untrue to how I believe I should and life is immeasurably better. I can focus on the here and now and because I’m no longer avoiding the truth, I’m actively working on what’s wrong and what I need to do to fix it.

Avoiding the truth ties into my next one which was avoiding my responsibilities. Avoiding what I needed to do and what I was responsible for caused me nothing but worry, and worrying is one of the absolute worst things you can do for your health. I used to avoid paying things I needed to pay because I didn’t want to give up my money or avoid making tough decisions because I was afraid of the outcome.

Finally, I started taking care of my responsibilities and again, as if by magic, life got exponentially better. Avoiding your responsibilities only adds to the stress of life and even when it sucks to take care of them, eventually that burden will be gone and you can focus on what you enjoy again. It never turns out as bad as you think it will, and if it comes close, at least now that you’re dealing with it, it won’t continue to torment you for much longer.

I’m sure you get the idea by now. To figure out what you’re about, know what makes you feel the worst and then support the values that are opposite of those things. If you hate feeling dumb, then be all about being intelligent. Read all that you can, watch YouTube videos about things that interest you and expand your knowledge. If you hate feeling like a coward, start doing things that scare you or standing up for yourself. You don’t have to make the jump to fearless in a day, but start doing something to build your courage every time that feeling pops up again.

Know what you’re about and make your life simpler. If something doesn’t align with what you’re about, banish it from your life and your decisions about who you want to be, who you want to be around, and what you’ll allow into your life gets so much easier. Know what makes you feel bad to figure how to feel good.

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