Everywhere we turn, someone is telling us how we should live.
What we should eat, drink, and how much we should exercise. How to find love, how to break up, and how to live alone. Why we should eliminate stress, why we should meditate, and why balance is so important.
Try this. Discard that. Learn this. Don’t do that. The suggestions and advice are endless, dizzying our mind as we hyperfocus on which course of action is right for us—which can often lead to more confusion and discord rather than gaining the desired clarity.
And I’m no exception. I’m here to tell you how I think you should live—based on what I have experienced and what I continue to learn.
Most of the demons we fight are within us—it is not our job, our partner, or our string of bad luck, but rather our perceptions, reactions, thoughts, expectations, and past wounds that are raw and sting like hell when reopened.
We stifle our pain, convincing ourselves that we’ll be fine. We numb our mind with activities or substances, believing we’re okay. We chase love in an attempt to prove we’re lovable. We work ourselves to exhaustion, thinking that defines success. We follow tips and tricks that guide us in the process of healing and try new routines that are guaranteed to make us happier, more productive people.
But have we ever stepped back and wondered if we are trying to be who we’re not? If we’re fighting against our own core being by living a life that we think or are told we should be living?
To capitalize on our strengths and break repetitive cycles or patterns that harm our mind, body, and spirit through personal development and self-improvement is one thing. To overcome addictions, expand our education, and follow our dreams is exceptional.
But to force ourselves to fit into some box we or others have constructed due to the could’s and should’s, what if’s and but’s, may not be in the best interest of ourselves—and it may just lead to a lifetime fraught with unnecessary pain, exhaustion, and confusion, putting at odds the person we are with the person we think we should be.
We chase happiness as if it’s a tangible item to covet or a constant state of joy that we are intended to achieve. We beat ourselves up for the smallest of things—not being a morning person, overeating, not exercising, working too much, and more.
Yet the latter results in stress and sadness, taxing our heart and darkening our spirit. This is the exact thing we are aiming to decrease in our lives—worry, angst, and stress.
The belief that when we lose 10 pounds, we‘ll be happy. The thought that if we work less, we’ll find balance. The perception that rising early will provoke more focus and productivity.
But what if none of that is true?
What if we are at our weight set point? What if working makes us happy? What if staying up late is the reason we’re productive? What if all of this noise in our head of what we should be doing, how we could be more, or why we are who we are is actually counterproductive and self-defeating?
I’m a huge proponent of self-growth and personal development—stepping out of our comfort zones, stretching beyond our limits, and challenging ourselves to be the best we can be.
However, there are many of us who are just fine as we are. We need to confront our demons—then decide if they are actually demons after all. Maybe we’re driving ourselves mad for nothing.
People used to tell me to slow down, that I do too much and don’t give myself a break. People used to tell me to climb that corporate ladder because if I was working excessively anyway, I should have the title and money that accompanies it.
And I’ve tried time and time again. I put more focus on building a life outside of work and I have strived for balance. I’ve meditated, done yoga, and eaten raw. I’ve set a bedtime, starved myself thin, and exercised myself ill. I’ve pretended to be happy alone, isolating myself because the pain from being hurt was less heavy than the fear of taking a chance at love once more. I’ve also stayed up all night, carefree and partied until dawn. I’ve not cared about my weight and let go of the expectations placed on me by others, and cast my worries to the wind, totally unencumbered. I’ve been good. I’ve been bad. I’ve found myself, lost myself, and found myself once more—again and again.
What I’ve finally come to realize is that I tried too hard to be someone I didn’t even know—and quite frankly, recognized that I was unconsciously coercing myself to be someone I wasn’t. Even though I may not have been sure about who that person was, I sure as heck knew who she wasn’t. The title wasn’t me. A size four didn’t bring me happiness. Forcing myself to get up before dawn didn’t heighten my focus or productivity. And meditating didn’t bring me peace.
The intense, passionate, eccentric woman who likes to live life at full speed and take on too much is who I am—and it’s what makes me happy! I’m tired of trying to tame her. I’m done working to reign her in, measuring her every move and questioning her every thought.
So I ask you to check-in with yourself. Maybe you’re not too much. Maybe what keeps you spirited is not achieving balance and calm, but rather finding the things that spark your passion and ignite the fire in your soul.
What keeps you up all night because you just can’t get enough? What ejects you from bed in the morning because you can’t wait to start again? What fuels you and makes you high—legally, naturally, and exceptionally high?
Whatever that is, embrace it. Find the magic. Accept your uniqueness. Live authentically.
Most importantly, I urge you to take a look inside and acknowledge the wonderful eccentricity of being imperfectly you.