Have you ever had a clear sign of who you really are, and then totally ignored it? Maybe it required too much change, or taking a big risk. Maybe you were scared to have to convince a loved one how much you needed this so you rationalized that “it wasn’t the right time”, convinced yourself to “be sensible and put it off for a while”. I have come to realized that planning to fulfill obligations first, and then chase dreams, is an illusion, I get reminded of this whenever a tragic event happens, to me it has been building and I am still learning but I have developed this urgent need to be fully alive and true to myself in the time I have on this earth.
We all have a journey to make, a past and a future. Sometimes we can’t see past the day we are in and that is ok, it may feel thick and sticky but in ways you are living in the moment – Being present is more important than planning your future and does not even begin to compare dwelling on the past. Stop. Don’t dwell. Learn from the past but then let it go. Looking at my own journey I would not have changed a thing, even if I had the chance because it taught me through trial and lots of errors, how to become real.
Everyone’s journey is unique. And so this is in no way a generic prescription. Below are things that have happened to work for me and I share them with the hope that some may help you in your travels as well.
1. Take responsibility for your own life.
This is the beginning of self-esteem. Although stuff happens, ultimately you are responsible for your actions.
When we deeply and utterly understand that to be true, life takes on a whole new meaning. Whatever has happened until the past moment is gone. This present moment is again yours. And you have the power to do whatever you want with it.
2. Don’t hate those who stumble; we all do sometimes.
We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. If you can, forgive and allow compassion into your relationships. It makes the ride more beautiful.
3. Cherish those special friendships.
I had (and still have) friends who knew and loved me unconditionally. This is truly invaluable. Make and keep good friends and be honest with them. They can be your moral compass during stormy times. Not just psychologically, but literally, like in share-her-last-sandwich-while-reading-poetry-on-long-afternoons kind of support.
4. Have a big vision and keep your goals aligned with your vision.
I struggled with this one for a while, for quite some time. First, I had a big vision. Well, in fact, I had many. So my goals and actions went in circles for a while.
Make sure to know what kind of person you want to be and what kind of job/life you would like to lead. Then shape your short-term goals so it is moving you in that direction (or at least not away from it).
5. Remember that death makes life real.
In the words of Steve Jobs, “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Death can come at any moment, to any of us. We don’t have forever to be who we are. In fact, we owe it to ourselves and those we love to be truly alive and authentic in each moment. It is the only legacy we can be proud to leave behind.
6. Don’t worry too much about making mistakes.
It is better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all. Think and analyze your decisions carefully, but once you feel reasonably sure you have made a good choice, just trust yourself. Be bold and go forth into the wilderness.
Whatever happens, you will have gained an experience from it that only the courageous can boast of.
7. Know your strengths.
You are unique. There is only one you in this entire universe. No one has exactly your strange and magical mix of genes and experience. Learn what makes you tick. And keep building on that. You will make wonderful things happen.
8. Be kind to yourself.
We all mess up once in a while. When it happens and you finally catch on, drop your ego, admit your mistake fully, and make amends. Learn from it so you don’t repeat that same lesson again. Then forgive yourself and move on. Life is hard and we are not made to be perfect.
9. Be in the moment.
This present moment is alive and full of potential. Learning to be mindful has helped me tremendously by keeping me in my life, as it happens.
Whether you are playing, sleeping, working, lazing, watching TV, or hanging out with someone you love, give your awareness to it 100%. I highly recommend a daily mindfulness practice, for me a morning affirmation works well, sets me up and gives me strength and focus for the day ahead.
10. Don’t forget to laugh.
It has gotten me through many a sticky situation and created hours of pure fun. It often has a snowball effect!
Include as much good humor in your day as legally possible. I like to be silly, I find humor in a lot of places, to a point where many probably wonder if I’m quite ok…. LOL . There are situations when I hold it together because it is what is expected and I try to not embarrass my daughters too much. I like to show them that it is ok to playful as an adult and that work and responsibilities still take place. I have some friends that really bring this side out and the fun we have in incredibly invigorating and healing.
So dear readers and future friends, don’t wait to be who you are. You are special and there is a reason you are on this earth. No matter what your situation is, there is something you can do today to move toward your true self.
Dare to live; your dreams are counting on you.