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12 Most Important Things About Life

Life is defined as "the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body or inanimate matter" by Merriam Webster but it seems an individual's experiences shape, mold, and define living. Modern societies, whose focus is generally forward thinking and concentrated on progress, often neglect to address precisely what components (beyond things) make life livable.

The foundational things that bring us deep and lasting happiness as human beings are often ignored by economies and markets in favor of fleeting, tempting, often destructive (i.e. stress, obesity, broken relationships etc.) instant gratification. But the best things in life take effort and work and time.

Here's our list of 12 Most Important Things In Life:

1. Love

Love is the strongest force humans possess. It is the act of lifting others up, rather than tearing them down. Love is what bonds us together and allows us to accomplish great things. It brings lovers together, and keeps families together.

A society that forgets the importance of love ultimately sacrifices it's own soul and guarantees its collapse.

2. Peace

Peace is best understood as the absence of physical and spiritual turmoil. We need peace between nations and peace within families but in order to do this, we must find peace within ourselves.

Peace is characterized by calm and tranquility. It is a state in which the human soul flourishes.

3. Wisdom

Wisdom is the understanding of people, things, events, and experiences. Wisdom requires the ability to comprehend what is true and right coupled with the ability to effectively apply knowledge and sound judgment to apply principle, reason, and intellect in one's thoughts and actions.

Wisdom requires one to control emotion and allow insight to prevail. Every experience and interaction with others allows us to inherit wisdom through time, learning, and educational pursuits.

4. Respect

Respect is a very specific feeling or esteem for a person, group, or entity based upon ethic, honor, authority, and fundamental importance. Respect is based upon a positive feeling or action for one's self and others. Respect is conveyed through speech, manner of address, style, and one's actions.

Respect is one of the most important aspects of life as it requires understanding, non-violence, trust, and responsibility.

5. Generosity

Generosity is the practice of giving freely without any expectation of reciprocation. Generosity is one of the most priceless virtues given to help, assist, or guide anyone in need by using one's time, talents, resources, or assets.

Generosity is the founding block of charity, but not dependent upon one's economic resources. True generosity is one of the purest intentions, derived from the very noble passion to help others. Generosity is also one of life's greatest gifts, as gifts from the heart are priceless.

6. Appreciation

Appreciation is one of the most powerful positive emotions or attitudes to acknowledge a kindness received. Appreciation is a virtue requiring gratitude and thankfulness to those who improve and enrich our lives with their words, actions, and assistance.

People who live in a constant state of appreciation are often happier, less depressed, less stressed and more satisfied. Living in a state of appreciation allows one to remain positive during the more troublesome days and truly be thankful for every experience.

7. Forgiveness

Forgiveness is defined as "granting free pardon to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt." Forgiveness requires the often difficult process of concluding resentment, ceasing anger, and resigning indignation regarding an offense, difference, or mistake. Forgiveness extends not only to ourselves, but also to the offender. Forgiveness is often granted without the expectation of restorative justice or restitution, though often an offender will acknowledge the wrong doing with an apology or request for forgiveness.

The practice of forgiveness is one of the most important things about life and often the most difficult.

8. Honesty

Honesty is the ability to face the truth with integrity, straightforwardness, and moral character. Honesty is considered a positive, virtuous attribute and thrives in the absence of cheating, lying, and theft. Honesty requires individuals to be truthful despite personal gain, the ability to act rightfully based on how an individual would like to be treated in return, and sincere empathy toward others despite differences in age, gender, culture, status, and experience.

9. Integrity

Integrity is the essential consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes while applying honesty and truthfulness. Integrity is a virtue often exercised with behavior and morality in three steps: by discerning the difference between right and wrong, acting on the discernment despite personal risks, and opening stating the understanding of right from wrong.

10. Patience

Patience is the steadfast level of endurance an individual's character can maintain when presented with difficult circumstances, events, experiences, or situations. Patience is perseverance despite delay or provocation and the ability to wait out strain when faced with negativity while withholding action and negativity in the form of annoyance or anger.

Patience empowers individuals to withstand difficulties and is a tremendous reservoir to draw from life.

11. Compassion

Deep empathy is one of the unique cognitive skills that humans possess. It is the ability to understand and care about the needs of others by putting ourselves in their shoes.

Compassion allows us to love in a full and satisfying way. It is the principle behind the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

12. Laughter

Laughter not only makes us feel good, but it's actually good for us. Studies show that laughter lessens stress, improves mood, reduces depression and has many other health benefits. Laughter helps us to not take ourselves too seriously. It helps us to bond with others. It helps us to love. It is the bedrock of community. The family that laughs together, stays together.

Featured in Life