Living a Worthy Life
Editor’s note: Krista Tippett, a longtime interviewer and host of the “On Being” podcast, recently took the other side of the mic on the Ten Percent Happier podcast to share deep insights on how to live wisely and lovingly. While not wholly adequate, we hope the below will offer some support in this moment of immense grief and uncertainty.
On how to live a worthy life:
There’s no answer to the question of how to live a worthy life. It’s a matter of constant discernment. But if you let that question be your companion—if it is something that you are constantly, seriously aspiring to—then you keep learning.
If you have that question of what it means to live a worthy life as a companion, it doesn't mean that you succeed at all of this. But leading a worthy life is actually not about perfection or success, it's about staying oriented. It's about intentionality. And it's about how you navigate and befriend the reality that you're going to get a lot of things wrong, and then how you work with that.
On how to love:
There’s a primary form of love, which is not a feeling, but action. It's things you do. It's a way of being. It's our friendships, it's our love for our children. In our relationships with the people we're closest to, the people we're intimate with, it's often things you do in spite of how you feel at the moment. It's very rarely about feeling perfectly understood and perfectly understanding the other person. It's not about agreeing. It's actually about how you navigate difference.
And yet, in public life and social media, we just hate people. We cannot imagine that we could be in relationship with people that we disagree with fundamentally and don't understand. But we make that move to be in relationship all the time, despite how we feel. So, when you ask me what love is, I want to interrogate it in terms of how it functions. Sometimes it's a feeling, and that's beautiful—but that's not most of the time. The other thing is beautiful, too: that we stay in relationship.
On how to find the generative story:
A lot of the story that gets told of our time is catastrophic. Yet a whole story would also have in it that there are human beings everywhere all around us—more than are setting out to make the world a worse place—who are doing their best, who are being forces for healing and kindness and social creativity, and feeling very alone in that. And that is a fiction. They're not alone. Again, it's not about being perfect. Those of us who are trying to lean into our best humanity in the face of all this catastrophe—we are the majority.
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