That was the prompt in a self-help book I read around 6 or 7 years ago.
It was followed by questions like:
- How would you behave?
- How would your relationships change?
- What would it allow you to do?
I think it’s a helpful set of words to get you thinking about how you might be limiting yourself.
As human beings we often fall into thinking that we have to wait until we’re confident to live our lives the way we want. But actually it’s the other way round.
You have to start living your life first and then the confidence will follow.
One of the biggest reasons to open up is that it helps you realise that you aren’t alone.
So often we live our lives as if we are the only one who has faced a difficulty, felt lonely, been rejected, felt lost or was unhappy with the way they looked. We end up holding it in because we think we’re alone or perhaps we don’t want to burden others with our troubles.
I’ve taught myself to open up more. It was a mix of practice, knowing who to trust and letting go of fear.
And so when I encourage you to do the same, it’s not because I find it easy. It’s because I’ve done it and it worked wonders.
Sometimes we trick ourselves into accepting things that we don’t want. We make excuses and convince ourselves that we’re so totally content with our current circumstances.
This happens for a variety of reasons but a major factor is our core beliefs. If you don’t think there is something better out there for you then will always settle even if that means being perpetually unhappy.
The wake up call that you’re not as happy as you think will come when you least expect it. Perhaps you will encounter someone or something that represents what you really want. Then suddenly you find yourself wondering how you could have ever thought that you were happy with what you had accepted.
It’s like clearing the colour from your rose tinted classes and finally seeing things as they are.
A great way to stop yourself accepting less is to check in with yourself regularly. When you’re not where you should be you can end up getting so used to the anxiety that you don’t even realise that it’ there until you leave
Make a note of what you want in different areas of your life and think about how it would feel.
Lets say you moved into a tiny apartment in a neighbourhood you don’t like but you tell yourself you’re happy because you’re saving money and you don’t even spend much time at home anyway. That’s you convincing yourself that you’re okay with not feeling comfortable in your local area and that you don’t want to spend time at home.
But if the notes you make on what you want from your home and how you want to feel don’t align with your reality then you might want to make some changes. That might mean paying a little more to be in an area, in a bigger apartment or both.
That’s the power of checking in, it allows you to identify whether the life you’re creating is the life you actually want.
When you feel like you need to escape or getaway it often has nothing to do with your surroundings. Although you may find yourself wanting to book a trip or get a change of scenery in many cases it’s actually your mind that needs a rest.
You might think you need a holiday when in fact a couple of days dedicated to slowing down, quality sleep, nourishing food, soft music, a massage and a walk in nature will do you a world of good.
A major part of present day culture is working hard but it is often to our detriment. You trudge on even when you know you need a break and only stop when your body gives way.
You don’t need to reach breaking point to justify resting
As much as working hard and achieving goals is great, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your well-being.
It’s something you’ll have no doubt read or heard countless times but it’s true, some things really do get better with time.
Maybe you’re a teenager (or even an adult) feeling like you don’t belong, you’ve experienced a harsh rejection or you have a physical injury.
In the height of it, you might not be able to see a way out. The possibility for change might seem like nothing more than a fantasy. I think thats because more often than not (when it comes to lasting change anyway), it happens so slowly that we never notice it in the moment.
But then a few months later you’re able to look back on that rejection as a growth point rather than a blow to your self-esteem.
For many people, how they value or see themselves comes from other people.
This might be great when people are treating you well and constantly telling you how great you are but when not so much when you’re treated and being spoken of poorly. You go from feeling good about yourself to not feeling good enough.
Then you end up feeling stuck because you were always so reliant on other people to determine your self-worth that you don’t know how to stop.
And so, you feel down and worthless whilst also blaming other people for how you feel. I think that stage of blaming others continues until you’re able to realise that nobody else should be in control of how you feel about yourself. That’s not a solid foundation.