5 tips to take control of your life and really start living!
I used to spend long nights wide-awake wandering around our huge house, wondering what I was missing in my life. I blamed myself for feeling this way. How could I be ungrateful when I had it all—beautiful family, perfect house (white picket fence included), amazing career in journalism and politics, a successful business providing healthcare to pregnant women?
I grew up with the conviction that my studies, my career, and my perfect future family would make me happy. I gave my all to becoming happy and successful. I made sure to be the best girlfriend, the best mom, the best daughter I could be. I lived like a robot, trying hard to live up to my own and to others’ expectations.
I’m not unique. We live in a world filled with demands and expectations—what’s right and wrong, good and bad, what will show success and not failure. There are many voices telling us what to wear, what to eat, how to exercise, whom to marry, and what we should achieve. Even our bodies are great targets for judgment. In our quest to fit in and “do the right thing,” we create stress, anxiety, exhaustion, and depression. Not feeling great, or even well, has become the norm for many.
I no longer try to fit in or be perfect. I’ve discovered that what was missing wasn’t another career step or a more perfect man. What was missing was me. While trying to please others, I forgot that I contribute the most when I’m being myself and including myself in my choices.
I had lived so much a life based on what other people expected I didn’t even know what was true for me anymore. Sound familiar? Here are 5 tools and tips that I use daily to create mylife—a life where I’m included—a different, more joyful, and vibrant life.
1. Be your own cheerleader. Do you acknowledge yourself? Most people look for someone else to acknowledge you when you are not acknowledging you. You look for someone else to love you when you are not loving you. In my past, what I really longed for was to be seen. validated. Today, I know that only I, nobody else, can give me my sense of worth.Acknowledging that opens up the magical place I knew of as a littlegirl, the magical place where everything is possible because everything I need is within me. Also, actively choose to see what’s beautiful and amazing instead of what’s missing and what’s wrong. When you wake up, see the sunlight streaming through the window, not the wallpaper that needs fixing. When the familiar voice in your head says that there is something wrong with you or that you are not good enough – just be see that thought and say Stop! In your head and choose to say to yourself- “I am brilliant, just the way I am.
2. Follow your own knowing. What’s true for you? Ask yourself, If I were to include myself and my desires in my choices, what would I choose? Do I want to travel the world? Do I want to live far from the city? Do I want to become a politician or a volunteer worker in Ghana? Only you know what is true for you. Start asking questions to access your knowing. Not sure whether to accept that job offer? Imagine being at that job. Being in that office or gym or classroom. Do you feel light or heavy? If you feel heavy, within you, you know that job isn’t right for you, or that something needs to change before it is. You don’t need to start practicing this technique with something as big as a career change. Start with small decisions—what movie to see, what to eat for dinner, who to hang out with over the weekend.
3. Ask yourself, Who does that belong to? We’re all spiritually, emotionally, and physically aware beings. We pick up stuff from the world around us—many of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions aren’t ours. Instead, we pick them up in different conversations, situations, and motivations from those around us. If you find yourself buying into a point of view that doesn’t feel light, ask yourself, Is this point of view mine? Did I buy into it somewhere along the line? Am I choosing what’s true for me or what everyone else is choosing? In the movie Runaway Bride,there’s a breakfast scene where Richard Gere asks Julia Roberts what kind of eggs she likes. Her response is “Whatever you're having.” With each of her three former fiancés, their favorite eggs had been her favorite eggs. Have you ever asked yourself what kind of eggs youreally like?
4. Cut out what’s not working in your life.And add things and people that make you happy. Sign up for that yoga class you never seem to have time for. Set aside a night to have dinner with friends who make you smile. Paint your office. Join Toastmasters. Go out dancing. Book that trip that you always wanted to go on. Shake things up! [KM1] Most of us keep creating our lives more or less within our comfort zone. Repeating slightly different versions of past choices feels familiar and makes us able to predict the outcome. Even though this often means that we recreate undesirable and destructive situations, we imagine that stepping out of our comfort zone to try something new must be worse. What could you choose if you knew that was a lie?
5. Embrace this idea: “What if there’s nothing wrong with me?”Instead of judging your body because you think it’s not thin enough or toned enough to fit media-set expectations, try expressing your gratitude for its wisdom and its beauty, for all it’s done for you, for how it’s carried you through your life and still does. If you find yourself wanting to switch career paths—to leave that perfect job for a startup or one that pays less but will make you happier—instead of judging yourself for being foolish, you might congratulate yourself for daring to choose something different, something you feel is right. Understanding how the different points of view around you become the filters through which you see and create your life opens a space where you can start looking at them, asking if they serve you. If they don’t, why keep them? They’re not you. You are.
If only you and your point of view creates your reality—then who are you? What can you create? What is possible for you then? I invite you to take a hold of your life and your future. Start living today for you, and no one else! You’ll be amazed at what unfolds.
What does living for you mean to YOU? Please comment below!
With hugs and joy,
Lisa Henriksson, author of I Was Supposed to Be Happy, shares her own journey to help others find their true choice and happiness. Co-founder of Wisdom Stockholm, an Access Consciousness®Certified Facilitator and the founder and CEO of Egen tid, the first yoga studio offering babysitting services in Sweden,