I’ve read so many blogs and books that have endless sentences of general positivity enhancers and motivational life quotes fit for an inspirational poster. Great stuff to fill your mind for sure, but then they go on to say to reach that full potential of completeness you must “do the work”. Naturally, this always brings up the question: what in the world does it actually mean to do the work?

To do the work means:

To cry after an inexplicably tough and agitating day, yet still feel kindness toward yourself;

To allow yourself to have a drink or two or ten one night and then detox like mad the next day/week/weeks, all the while not feeling the slightest bit guilty because you laughed so hard and had so much fun and will always remember how much joy the few nights you let loose brought you;

To find any way to come back to balance when you witness yourself being affected by the negative polarities of the world, whether that be yoga, boxing, screaming in a pillow, mantra, acupuncture, running for two hours, having spontaneous sex with your partner, etc;

To allow your mind to drift without judgment during meditation every time your mind drifts to the outfit you will wear to happy hour on Friday and what embarrassing thing you did yesterday and come back to yourself and your breath in the moment;

To battle the harsh words and thoughts in your mind as you practice and practice and practice self-love in the form of thoughts, actions, and feelings hoping each day it will become truth;

To smile with radiance and continually serve others as you fight against an illness that causes you pain, discomfort, and instability;

To lose, before learning to truly appreciate, all the things you thought gave you self-worth, only to redefine what society has told you to value and recognize the important traits to be proud of in yourself;

To let go of the dynamics and selfish pleasures of an unhealthy relationship that clings and compromises and distorts what you know to be right and necessary and true to your heart;

To show up each day for routines that heal and nourish, instead of choosing a quick fix that overlooks the solution to the root of the issue and your body’s natural ability to restore;

To live every day knowing you are human and you are meant to feel everything you do and knowing you are so much more and you have so much responsibility to carry out in this lifetime by just being you.

Originally published at medium.com