It’s never too late to be what you might have been – George Eliot
I’ve read these words from time to time, never really realizing how powerful they are until you’re home on a cold Sunday afternoon, listening to depressing rock music that makes you feel like punching Valium and Uganda Waragi for that extra edge, only to learn that it only makes you feel worse than you already are. But that’s beside the point. For many of us, we often live our lives expecting either the worst or the best from the experience we go through from day to day. We don’t stop to ask ourselves one question: “who am I and am I living the life as the person I want to be?”
I’ve always lived a life not according to my own rules, but to other people’s thoughts and perceptions. Like Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown your own inner voice” (See the whole quote here). I’ve spent the better part of my life living other people’s lives, as though I don’t have one of my own. Not only is this an insult to myself but also one to God, who gave me this gift of life.
What’s worse was I knew it. And yet, I kept living a life to make other people, taking fault in other people’s actions and burdening them on myself. I so badly wanted to live that life that others had bestowed upon me. Waking up each morning to the reality that I’m living in the clutches of the people that surround me. The common phrase of “Just be yourself” would wash over me with an emptiness. Who was “myself?” What did he enjoy? What did he want?
Over the last couple of months, I’ve been on a quest to re-discover my own self. My own version of life. The version free of any external force. The version of living that is true to me, rather than one based on what others think. I’ve questioned my rules and thrown most of them out of the window, added new ones that define me and make me more comfortable. I’ve devoted my journey to finding out who I am and what it really means to be me.
These 5 steps have helped me start this journey, and have surely made me much more happier and purposeful than I ever thought I would be.
- Think about the bigger picture:
Trust me when I say life is short. Too short! You need to fix it in your mind that your days are numbered. You don’t want to grow old and realize that your life could have been better. Make it better now. We do not live forever and believe me when I say you are wasting your life living someone else’s. There is only one you in this world. Treat that person with respect. After all, there will never be another you in this lifetime, or even the next. You are now, you are the bigger picture.
- Never worry what other’s think:
This was one of my biggest flaws. I always did things to make other people happy, neglecting my own feelings and happiness. And boy did I pay for it. It put me in a really deep shitty black hole. Day by day we are preoccupied with how others perceive us but let me say this, FUCK IT. You need to be comfortable with who you are and you need to be selfish and put yourself first. And if the people around you don’t seem to accept you for who you are then it’s time to find new friends who will.
- Identify your values. (alcoholism excluded please) Determine what is truly valuable to you:
This is really important because it will determine how you are going to live the rest of your days. You need to identify what sets you apart. Your core values. You could Google search “list of values” and tick the ones that resonate best with you. Then narrow them down until you have your top 5. Once you have these set, it makes it easier for you to make decisions aligned with who you truly are rather than what people want to see. It’s about living where your unique strengths and traits lie. The moment you let go of other people’s definitions of success and value, real clarity begins. That’s the journey that counts my friend.
- Set boundaries!!:
If you ever feel pressure from people that want you to live a life that is not true to you, it’s time to draw the line right there. Doing this can be tight, not easy, because some of these people might be close, like someone you are in a relationship in. But trust me, it’s for your own good. Ultimately, the people who respect you and care for you and your well being will want to support you as you explore your individuality and develop a life that is true to yourself.
- Start taking action:
All these steps require one thing, ACTION. Yes, the hardest step of all. But let me ask you one thing. What is there to lose? This is your life we are talking about. If you don’t do it. No one will. Use that energy you used trying to impress people to impress yourself for a change. You have a whole life ahead of you. Don’t worry about the external factors, take a chance on yourself. I mean, if you are going to play the card on anything, it might as well be on yourself.
You need to remember that this is your life, your own. We came alone and we will leave just the same. What we do in between matters a lot. Unimaginable riches of insight and awareness, of friendships and relationships; a wealth of expansion, wisdom and prosperity are waiting for you once you wake up and remember who is really running the show in your life. It’s never too late to be who you were always meant to be. And tell you what, it is exactly who others have always wanted to be (wink).
I’ll leave you with another one of my favorite quotes:
“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and everyone should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.” – Steve Jobs