I think we all place a little too much emphasis on other people and their needs. Society sets us up to believe that other people are inherently more important than we are. Our bosses, our parents, landlords, neighbors, friends… we often get the message that these people and their opinions matter more than our own peace of mind.
Lovely woman, there is a better way to live.
And it’s all about making yourself a priority. You cannot serve all of those people in that long list up there if you’re not being your best self. You can’t communicate effectively if you’re constantly framing your conversations with what the other person expects from you. Sure, we can just slap a huge cliché over this entire problem and say, “Just be yourself!” But I don’t think that is beneficial to anyone. That statement doesn’t explore what it really means to “be yourself” and what consequences might show up once we take on living authentically.
How can we be ourselves when we know that doing so might result in some uncomfortable situations? Broken friendships? Lost opportunities? Changes in the composition of our daily lives?
We have to learn to be okay with disappointing other people.
Yes, before we can be ourselves, we have to tear down any wall, any ounce of resistance to what might happen when we start living from a place of authenticity.
And if you believe that this process can be an easy one, it will be. If you believe that you matter enough to create a laser focus in your life, then you’ll make decisions that make achieving your goals seem like a magical process. And the consequences will seem minor because living authentically is just that important to you.
So that we can break down this magical process, let’s talk about three steps we can take to make authentic living and going after our dreams easier for us.
1. Get clear.
Nope, I’m not talking Scientology here. I’m talking about being SO specific with what you want in your life that you are able to write a personal mission statement for your life. You know the whole “In business, you should be able to give a elevator pitch about what you do” thing? Create an elevator pitch for who you are.
Who do you want to be? What actions are you taking in order to be that person on a daily basis? Who can benefit from your offering? This mission statement should be so compelling to you that you get excited simply thinking about it.
When writing it down (yes, you NEED to write this down - and put it in a place where you see it every day… take a picture of it and save it as your phone’s background and screensaver) you should feel like you need to stop writing and go LIVE this mission statement immediately.
Don’t worry too much about finding the perfect answer to those mission statement questions. Who you want to be is already inside of you. You don’t need to do much external seeking. Listen to your intuition. Think about where your happiness and joy comes from, and let your feelings guide you the rest of the way.
If your mind starts telling you that you should be focusing on something more productive, something more pressing… If your mind says who you want to be doesn’t matter because reality is hard and cold and tough… Remember that you don’t have to take action on this mission statement immediately. You’re simply letting yourself dream. You’re having fun. It’s okay to have fun. Speak back to the resistance. Write down why you enjoy letting yourself dream. Write down how much better you feel because you’ve given yourself this time. Bring your awareness back to joy.
And once you've actually written your personal mission statement don't just let it rot in the back of your notebook. Print it out. Frame it. Put it on your dream/vision board. Write it on sticky notes and hang them all over your car... Put your mission statement where you'll see it and read it over and over again. Edit it if something feels off or weird. And then read it again... keep reading until you can rattle it off faster than your very specific coffee order.
Practice this for a couple of days - maybe even weeks if your resistance is quite strong - before you move on to the next step.
2. Remove every obstacle.
What are obstacles? ANYTHING that moves us away from our goals. Fear. Worry. Resistance. Unhealthy or unnecessary habits. Toxic relationships or jobs… These things can zap your energy and take away your joy. Even if you decide you’re the determined-type who refuses to let anyone or anything take your joy, there’s only so much toxicity one person can tolerate before it infiltrates your bloodstream. If you find yourself complaining about something incessantly, if you notice your chest and back tightening, if you are constantly annoyed or disrespected... it is time to create an exit strategy. If you find yourself plagued by “what if’s” it’s time to reframe that question… “What if things go well?” “What if things work out?” “What if the situation exceeds your positive expectations?”
We often get stuck at this step because we believe that the things we have in our lives need to be there permanently. We are comfortable with the toxic job, the toxic relationship, the toxic thought processes. And we are too afraid to find out what happens if we no longer have those things. We’ve attached our identity to these toxic things - and redefining ourselves - doing the hard work of examining, discovering, acting and pursuing something new seems overwhelming.
We have to let the fear of remaining in toxicity push us into the unknown. We have to know that our life is worth more than what we’re currently settling for. We have to trust that when we make changes, that our lives will be better for it… no matter the outcome. If something is truly bad for you, it won’t matter what happens once you get rid of it. The simple fact that the source of negativity is gone will help you focus on bigger and better things.
3. Know your worth.
When you know your worth, you can begin to pursue what you love without it feeling like a chore. Think about it… when you know you need to do something, the action is effortless. You don’t think about brushing your teeth, you just do it. You don’t think about showering, you simply do it. You don’t think about your route to work, you just take your usual turns. But when we start a new pattern, begin to form a new habit, it takes a little awareness.
Knowing that loving yourself is good for you, that you need self-love more than you need water, and more importantly that you are WORTHY of spending time on yourself, makes the process so much easier (and a little more fun). Light a candle when you shower. Do it as a gift to yourself. Because this action takes something necessary and habitual and turns it into a ritual. Something to be practiced and celebrated. You’re no longer simply going through the motions. You’ve committed to taking care of yourself through creating joy.
This might be difficult at first. You might have to remind yourself how committed you are because taking an extra five minutes to light the candle, or to sit and drink your cup of coffee without distractions, or to listen to your favorite song before you get out of bed, is all new. You might still have trouble believing that other things are not more important than taking time for happiness. And when those thoughts enter your mind, and you go to rush off into the world before loving yourself, say “I deserve to make myself a priority.” Sit back down. Smell the coffee. Put your feet up. Smile. And appreciate the air that is entering and exiting your body. Appreciate the feeling of clothes against your skin. Love the way the smile feels as it travels across your face.
When you do this with the small things in life, the rest of your life will shift into focus. If you can make time for self-love when you’re driving, or showering, or brushing your teeth, you know you deserve to have your needs met in your relationships, career, and spirit too. You’ll raise your standards. And it will be an organic shift. Once you treat you better, others will either rise to the occasion, or become an obstacle that will fall away.
The easiest way to manifest your dream life is to believe you can have it. But we can’t believe unless we subconsciously know we are worthy of love.
And this… is where affirmations come in.
Sometimes words are more important than actions. Because words are symbols for feelings. And feelings guide our actions. So start with the words. Begin small. Practice your affirmations daily. Say sweet things to yourself. Do it because you can’t wait on someone else to do it for you.