Old ways

It might seem that right now there is little that you can do but revert to your old ways. If you’ve learnt self observation then perhaps you’re used to your patterns of behaviour.

Perhaps you can clearly map out and identify your old ways. And if you can do that then you can also choose a different action. If you’d normally say yes, say no. If you’d normally offer patience maybe try being a little less considerate.

I think too often we fall into this rigid idea of self as though there is something wrong with consciously experimenting with who we are. For example, you could be someone who always listens to people vent despite the fact that it leaves you feeling drained because you think it makes you a good friend.

Instead you could try something different such as saying, ‘I know you’re going through this frustrating situation but I don’t have the space to listen to you vent at the moment.

And it always feels weird the first time simply because it’s new, not as an indication of it being the wrong thing to do.

Then, overtime you might find that you prefer your new way of doing things and you can put your old ways aside.
 

Room to stretch

I think in life it’s important to have room to stretch.

I believe that experimenting and exploring are such a key part of life that without them your life becomes limited. It can be in small ways such as trying a new hairstyle or big ways like moving to another country for 6 months.

Sometimes, after a person has been limited for so long when they finally get room to stretch, they take it too far. They end up doing things that are risky and potentially unsafe. It’s like going straight for a back bend when you should have started with a lunge.

On the flipside, when you’re used to having space you’re much more considerate about how you choose to explore and much less likely to overdo it.

It isn’t worth pretending

When people have an expectation of who they think or want you to be, they have a difficult time I’m accepting when you become something else.

It could be a permanent thing or perhaps you are just going through a phase but either way who you become is your choice. I think we all need to have the space to explore and experiment in order to find ourselves and figure out the kind of person that we want to be.

Unfortunately, sometimes because of the people around you, you end up pushing self-exploration aside. Instead, you’re so focused on what other people think, people pleasing and wanting to feel accepted that you would rather pretend to be someone you’re not.

Being yourself doesn’t even feel like an option.

I think it’s important to remember that being accepted for the person you’re pretending to be isn’t true acceptance. Once you really take that in, you’ll end up realising that it isn’t worth pretending anymore. You may as well just be yourself.

Do something you thought you’d never do

I think most people have a some idea of who they are, what they like and what they would and wouldn’t do. Sometimes the idea we have of ourselves is flexible. We’re open to the idea of changing even if that means being very different from who we were or who we thought we’d be.

Other times the idea we have of ourselves is rigid. We have a mental note of things we wouldn’t do and we stick to it. There are times when we want to try new things, explore and experiment but we restrict ourselves because it goes against the idea we have of who we are.

But I think there is something wonderful in doing something you thought you’d never do. It’s a reminder that we’re constantly changing and also to remain open to change.

If you don’t think you’re good enough

If you don’t think you’re good enough that belief will have a major impact on how you experience life.

You’ll have a hard time identifying when you’re being treated poorly because you have such low standards for yourself. This could be with a friend, romantic partner, family member, colleague or even a stranger.

Perhaps someone is unkind to you and instead of speaking up you sit and internalise it. You find yourself almost justifying it with things like ‘it’s not that bad’, ‘they probably didn’t mean anything by it’ or ‘at least they didn’t…’. Your sense of self is so low that you’re willing to accept below the bare minimum.

This can be an awful thing to experience and can result in mental health problems like anxiety or depression. However, it can also serve as a catalyst for change. You’ll reach a point where you can no longer accept the way that you’re being treated because it feels like a betrayal. When you realise that you shouldn’t be okay with people doing things like ignore you, lie to you and overlook you, you’ll be much less willing to accept it.

Suddenly, the awareness you’ve gained has given you the opprtunity to live a very different life that you didn’t even know was available to you.

It could mean ending friendships, resigning from your job, having conversations that feel difficult, settling firm boundaries, saying no and learning to stand up for yourself.

That might seem daunting but if you focus on the fact that life will be a easier to navigate when you think better of yourself, that should at least give you the motivation to get started.

A new routine

An easy way to simplify your life and get into the habit of doing things you care about is to create routines.

It could be a morning, evening or exercise routine.

Lets take the morning, start by thinking about what the best way to start your day would be.

In-fact make a list. Maybe you want to feel a certain way or you know that if you don’t do x, y, z your morning won’t run smoothly.

And so that might mean setting an earlier alarm so you have the time to fit in what you want to do, not watching YouTube or going on social media so you can start your day by just focusing on you or preparing things the night before.

Your morning could consist of a combination of things like: meditation, journaling, reading, stretching, Twitter, coffee, tea, Instagram, YouTube, exercise, visualisation, nature sounds, stretches, podcasts, praying, gratitude etc.

You don’t need to do what anyone else does, experiment and find a routine that works well for you.

Becoming the real you

We can be so quick to find ourselves and figure ourselves out that we end up taking on traits, roles and habits to help us feel less lost.

We then close ourselves off to experimentation and new ideas, it’s too risky.

In turn this leads to you becoming a person that isn’t really you, it’s just the person you’re pretending to be. You either commit to being that person for the rest of your life or you reach a point where you choose to change.

When you truly realise that the person you’ve been showing up as is not only not the ‘real’ you but also not the person you want to be, it allows all that is not you to fall away.

This then opens you up to you, stripped back with nothing to prove.

2 reasons to do something you wouldn’t usually do

No matter the kind of life that you live, I think it is important to regularly switch up your routine.

Spend a day or even just a few hours doing something you wouldn’t usually do.

The first reason is just to keep things fresh. It’s good to switch things up and experiment with how you spend your time and structure your days.

But the second reason is to check in with how you’re currently living.

Sometimes it takes time away from your usual routine for you to realise that you are unsatisfied with your present life circumstances.

Exploring something new

From a young age it is likely that you were taught to figure out what you wanted to do with your life. That in turn dictated the choices you made and paths you chose for many years that followed.

Sometimes what ends up happening is you end up creating a very specific life where you rarely explore something new.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with knowing what you like and what you’re interested in, you don’t want to be so set in your ways that you’re closed off to the unknown.

Exploring something new every once in a while allows your mind to stay fresh. It could lead you to take a new path or just remind you that you’re exactly where you want to be.

Figuring out what you want

We often get caught up in expectations of the way things should be. But in many cases we’re simply taking on the expectations of others.

When you’re surrounded by people living a certain type of way, you’re less likely to trust a path that leads to a different life. The reason for this is nobody wants to be separate or other.

You might even convince yourself that what you want is no more than a daydream. Furthermore, when others don’t see the vison for the path you’re carving out you’re likely to encounter backlash.

The backlash can be so challenging that you might end up thinking that it’s easier to push your wants aside. Nobody wants to be criticised for being themselves.

We often measure up how well we are doing in life against societies expectations of what we should be doing at certain points of life. However, these expectations leave very little room to experiment and wonder which are the very things you need to do in order to figure out what you want.