I believe that most of us can relate to the experience of being conditioned. I know that certain behaviours I had to learn to let go of were formed by my early experiences. For example, caring about other people and their opinions all the time. Even as a young adult, I was advised that I should never argue with others and that I should just "let it go," even when other people annoy me.
As it turns out, we do the same thing as adults. We let others define "success" for us. We forget ourselves and strive to disguise our differences when we immerse ourselves in the lives of others.
Not everyone is bright intellectually, and not everyone can sing, paint, play an instrument, or have a photographic memory. However, we are all talented in some way. We all have something distinct and unique to give the world. The problem is that we've forgotten about it somewhere along the road.
Competing with yourself, rather than "competing" with others, is a far better method to gauge your progress. When you choose to live more genuinely and explore the art of being yourself, you get the ability to define your own success rather than allowing others to do it for you.
Seek adventure, even in your daily routine. We’ve given up on that sense of adventure, the courage to open more doors, once we’ve realized that there are other things to worry about. Things like paying bills, finishing school, having a mortgage and taking care of our family. The weight of our responsibilities sometimes makes us feel drained, uninspired.
Life tends to remind us, constantly, about the things we don’t have, places we have yet to visit, things we have yet to discover or accomplish. You can’t let that curb your appetite for excitement and adventure. The only person who can bring change to your life is you.
One of the easiest and simplest ways to find yourself again and connect with your true self is with regular meditation practice. It can help you find that silence inside your head, which many of us long for.
Get some alone, quiet time- even if it’s just 5-10 minutes a day. Teach yourself to slow down. Start with guided meditations, you can also try an app like headspace
Meditation will help you find and embrace that inner peace, bring more calm into your life, more stillness. When I first began my meditation practice, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been brought to tears of joy due to this magical, overwhelming feeling of peace. If you feel like you’ve lost yourself, meditation is a great place to start.
This is by far one of my favorite ways of connecting with myself. Journaling will allow you to look at things from a new angle, you will see yourself, your life and your desires more clearly. It also clears your emotions and will help you identify any misplaced fear or anxiety.
Ask yourself some questions, and write down the answers.
You can try some prompts, a great place to start is with a workbook/guide like this one. Some of the questions to ask yourself can be:
What are my goals?
What am I afraid of?
What are my strengths?
What makes me feel good?
What are some of my personal gifts?
Is there anything that holds me back from living a more authentic life?
When we lose touch with who we really are, when we constantly agree with other people despite us having a different opinion, when we say “yes” to things we don’t feel like doing, we sometimes forget what we really want. You need to talk to yourself, find yourself again, ask yourself what your needs are, what your desires are- journaling can help you with all of that.
Have you ever had an idea to do something fun, something new and different, but then immediately thought “nahh… that’s stupid” and pushed the idea away? You need to take risks and move in the direction of your goals.
Living authentically takes courage. Being yourself takes courage. To some people, it comes naturally. Others, however, have that strange fear of showing their quirkiness or embracing their uniqueness.
Challenge yourself to do things that scare you a little, especially things that you get to do alone. It might feel weird, scary or awkward sometimes, but there is that incredible sense of accomplishment you will feel afterward. Take yourself out to a nice dinner, go see a movie, travel solo, take a class, go for a long drive, volunteer and try getting more involved in your community.
Don’t be afraid to explore solitude. Doing things alone can teach you a lot about yourself, especially when you try something you don’t necessarily feel comfortable doing, when you do things that are out of your comfort zone. I, for one, learned that I’m braver than I give myself credit for. Even when you already spend a lot of time alone, trying something new can be a little scary, but also very rewarding. You can find something you really enjoy doing or discover a talent you never knew you had.
Being fearless isn’t easy, but it will help you discover new things about yourself and it can give you the courage to live your life on your own terms.