“Some people are empowered by travel and some are inspired by the warmth of home. Some thrive in the spotlight and some feel called to support those who are on stage. Some people are comfortable half-dressed and cussing like sailors and others prefer modesty and gentleness. The thing is: we are all empowered and inspired in different ways, and it’s not our job to decide what that looks like for anyone else.” ~ Brooke Hampton
We get so caught up in creating a life and a lifestyle that looks great from the outside, but it really doesn’t resonate with who we are. Believe me, I can speak very personally about this! For so long I tried to create a lifestyle that fit the socially desired mold that looked just like everyone else’s.
I wanted the job that said ‘success’, even if it meant I dreaded going in to work every day. I spent a lot of my drives home from work, crying. Once home, I’d shut myself away from my family so that I could have a half hour to finish crying it out.
In hindsight this sounds ridiculous! But at the time, I didn’t see any other way. It was my reality.
I had started to feel inadequate, like there was something wrong with my capabilities, with me and that I just didn’t have what it took to belong there. It wasn’t my capabilities though; it was the mold I was trying to squeeze myself into. I wasn’t made for it.
By trying to fit into a mold that was not made for me, I spent so much time being hard on myself and doubting myself, doubting who I was. And asking myself why I wasn’t good enough.
Our homes are another place where we try to create a space that others will admire and envy. Our homes are our havens though, or should be. It should be the space we come to and feel all the stresses of the day lift from our shoulders, and cocoon us in peace and comfort. It definitely shouldn’t be another source of stress!
We’re bombarded every waking moment with images and messages of what the ideal life looks like, and it’s exhausting trying to create that. Especially when it’s not who we are. To make life even more confusing, this message of what we should want, or aspire to, keeps changing.
So how do you know if you’re living a life out of alignment? A life that doesn’t resonate with who you are at your core?
There are a number of ways:
- You’re never quite satisfied.
- Something feels missing.
- You’re anxious, or have that feeling of waiting for ‘something’, but not knowing what that is.
- You feel like there should be more to life.
- You feel stuck.
- You feel unheard.
- You feel miserable and generally unhappy.
Does any of this resonate with you? Do you identify with any of these? What feelings come up as you read this list?
The incredible thing is, many people live this way without even realizing it. Some people think this is all there is to life, and it’s meant to be this way. I definitely did!
It isn’t though. It took me a long time to figure this out, and then to actually believe it for myself. Life is meant to be lived in any way you want!
Before you can create or design the life you want though, you have to know what you want. This is the hard part. We easily know what we don’t want, but it’s really hard to know exactly what we do want, in concrete terms.
When looking at the big picture of our life, it can get extremely overwhelming too.
After a lot of deep diving into self-help, spiritualism, and quiet time to really listen to and understand myself (this part took awhile), I came up with a process – and yes, it is a process! – to simply and easily create a life that actually reflects me, and fits me. I found my mold.
If you’re feeling stuck in a life that isn’t you, here are the 5 steps to creating a life that truly reflects you.
- Divide your life into categories. Identify every part of what makes up your life. For example, career, home, spousal relationship, family, health, faith, community, school, personal growth, etc. This list is very personal, very you. There are no right or wrong categories, and no right number of categories. It’s YOU.
- Describe how you want each of those categories to look. What is your ideal vision for each? Write them down using as much detail as you can. Clearly see it in your mind. Know it. Feel it to your core.
- Choose 2-3 categories that are either the most important to work on, or that need the most improvement. You’ll be giving these areas a lot of focus so it’s important to choose wisely. Then for each of the areas you choose, write down why it’s important to you to create the visions you have for them. Why does it matter? What effect will they have on your life? How, or will it affect anyone else who’s important to you? Will anyone else benefit? This is about you, and your life, but it can be motivating to know that others will benefit too.
- Now create a step-by-step plan that will enable you to create those visions. The plan has to be step-by-step, do-able, and it has to be you. Think of this as planning a trip. And in a way it is; it’s a journey you’re taking to create your best life. You know where you’re starting from and you know where you want to go, what the end result is you’re after. How are you going to get there? What’s the best route (for you) to take? There may be several ways to get there, and other people may prefer a different route, but what’s the best route for you? Now, knowing that, what detours may happen along the way? Plan for those too. Identify as many potential obstacles you might face along the way and have possible solutions worked out in advance.
- This next part is what will determine whether you create your best life or not. Do. Take your plans and work your way through them. Setbacks are going to happen so expect them. You may have to start over so do that, start again. Detours and obstacles will happen. That’s ok, it’s part of your journey. Just don’t stop.
I follow these steps over and over again, every time I feel my life is going off in a different direction that I don’t want, or I’m getting derailed. It will happen.
Also, when an area of my life changes, like going from being single to being in a relationship. Or having small children to now having adult children living on their own and no longer needing me like they use to. My life is a breathing, growing, ever changing journey.
Yours is too, and that’s ok. Life shouldn’t be stagnant. As you grow and develop, your journey will too.
Your priorities will change. The areas of your life will change. Your visions will change.
That’s ok. Just keep moving, keep making progress and keep checking in with yourself. Keep doing, one step at a time.
Before you know it, you will be in the midst of living a life that’s you, that resonates with who you are right to your core.
Your best life. Your best journey.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash/Averie Woodard