Are you living your own life?
When I first asked myself this, I thought it was a really silly question – of course I’m living my own life, who else’s would I be living? But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I had put so many conditions and restrictions on myself based on what I thought others expected of me. This was my first revelation! Had I given up on some of my hopes and dreams because I was worried what others would think or say?
I watched a YouTube video called “The Abundance Factor” a while ago made by a guy called Riley Dayne. He talks about the advice he was given by an old school teacher when he told her that his dream was to help people, travel the world and make films. She told him that he should forget all that and get an ordinary job, and that he could think about all those silly things once he had retired! Needless to say, he took absolutely no notice of this advice and has gone on to achieved every one of his goals.
People in our lives are constantly shaping who we are and what we do, and this is inevitable. But when we allow others to take us away from our true selves and behave in ways that don’t feel right, we end up becoming disillusioned and unhappy. Often, we don’t even realise that this is happening as it becomes such an ingrained part of our subconscious. The funny thing is, these expectations that we perceive from other people are often not even real!
When I finally got up the courage to tell people that I wanted to start my own business, I really thought they would laugh and tell me I was being stupid. I thought my mum would disapprove as it would mean I had less time with my children. I thought my partner would disapprove as it might mean less time looking after the house, and I thought my colleagues would disapprove as I would be leaving a stable career that I had spent a long time training for. I made a lot of assumptions, all of which turned out to be unfounded. In fact, everyone was incredibly supportive and encouraging which made me wonder why I had let this be such a big factor in my decision making for so long. However, even if everyone had laughed or thought I was stupid, I now know that this is my life to live and I have to try and live it my way. It is amazing how quickly other people’s perceptions and expectations change when you change.
The problem is more difficult to resolve when you’re so used to living a life that others expect of you that you don’t even recognise that you have hopes and dreams. It’s like you’ve been put into a particular box by society and you can’t see further than its four walls. Something drastic often has to happen to push you out of this bubble. This could be something negative like a redundancy or an illness, or it could be something positive like a new relationship with someone inspirational and motivational. Maybe you are reading this and having your own revelation and making a decision to live a life true to yourself.
It isn’t selfish to live a life true to yourself, it makes you a happier person with more to give. Think about areas of your life where you are trying to please others but not being yourself. What small changes can you make to live more authentically?