It’s time. Time to live your life and do what you want to do. If you were looking for that sign to make that necessary change in your life, here is that sign. Don’t wait for that “perfect moment” to come and knock on your day. Go out and start that perfect moment TODAY.
For years and years, I spent my life in this little box, seeking the approval of others and going the extra mile to be a people pleaser. Growing up in a small town the rumor mills ran 100 miles per hour, I always felt a strong sense of self-awareness for how people perceived me. I never wanted to give them something to talk about. So I would basically live my life for others. I made choices and decisions that everyone else expected of me even though I really did not want to make them.
If I could use one word to sum up my life during those times: miserable.
I was absolutely miserable because I held the opinions of others in such high regards. I placed so much value in what was expected of me and it just did not make me happy. After enduring being miserable for so long and doing what everyone else wanted me to do, I finally had enough. I moved away from my hometown. Without the influence and pressure of being this person in the minds of others, I was able to flourish with a few steps.
1. Recognize and Acknowledge – The Mental Phase
For me, it was imperative to first recognize that I did not want to live my life like that any longer. I was unhappy to let others dictate my life. I wanted to make a happier change for me.
No matter what it is we need to recognize and acknowledge the problem because it’s not going to go away and ignoring will most likely make the situation worse. We cannot make a habit out of running away from our problems. So what do we do? We take accountability and we take the time so solve the issue.
In this case of living your life for you, recognize and acknowledge that you weren’t doing the things you wanted to do. I sat down and had this honest conversation with myself to sort out my feelings and figure out what I was going to do. I wrote down my goals, how I would achieve them down and where it would lead me. In doing this, it made me look back at the decisions in my life that helped me with my goals and the ones that affected me in a negative way. This is how I determined living my life for others was not for me and I needed to stop.
I recognized and acknowledged the problem. I was completely honest with myself about my feelings. With my conscious decision to do better for me, I wrote out my goals which lead us to our next phase – Doing.
2. Doing – The Action Phase
This is the phase that I feel is easier than the mental phase. When we set our minds on making a change it helps direct our actions. The doing phase is where we turn our thoughts into actions.
In my experience, small things do make a difference. Begin with placing my own feelings and opinions above what others had to say. I cannot express how essential it is to hold yourself with value and high regards. If you create a habit of putting yourself first, prioritizing your life and placing value in things that you enjoy or that make you happy, it will translate into such a way that you will be the same with other people.
For example, when people would ask me to do a certain activity with them and I wasn’t really up for it., I’d say something like “you know I don’t really want to, but if you want to then we can”. I downplayed my true feelings for the feelings of others. So we would do those activities. I’d feel stupid because I reluctantly agreed to go along with it and it wasn’t enjoyable to me. No one was going to put me first. I had to be the one to do it. I had to put myself first.
My journey in this “Doing” phase meant that I needed to be more vocal. I needed to voice my likes and dislikes instead of just being a people pleaser and going along with everyone else wanted. A crucial lesson I learned was being able to say no, stay firm and stand my ground. When I learned that it’s okay to say no, I no longer felt guilty about it. I grew comfortable in saying “You know what, this isn’t for me and that’s okay”. I was able to lessen the stress and unhappiness I was plagued with for the longest time.
The Doing Phase is for us to do what we want. This is where we execute the action behind our plan to achieve our goals for our life. The Doing Phase is all about OURSELVES.
So if you need to start making the choices to do the things that make you happy, do them. Be vocal about what you want for you. Be active in claiming the life you want. Live the life that will make you happy. The reality is that life is all about choices. It may be difficult for the people in your life to accept your choices and decisions but ultimately, it is, after all, YOUR LIFE! So be the Shot Caller.
3. Don’t Look Back – The Best Phase
My favorite phase in living my life for me is this last phase. The Don’t Look Back phase because once you’ve started living for you, you’ll never want to go back. With these habits, you are now the priority in your life, going back would be like going to another country. It’d be sort of foreign. In that sense, it’s a good thing because you never want to go back.
I do think back to my days of letting other people dictate my life and I just think “wow I can’t believe I went along with that”. It’s still hard to think about how complacent I was in letting people walk over me. I was so used to living up to the expectations for others. When I started making decisions for me, I felt guilty and I apologized for having the audacity to live my own life!
Feeling like I needed to apologize for saying no to something I didn’t want to do. Feeling like I had to explain myself and the decisions I needed to make for myself. A hard pill to swallow for some people is that they are not entitled to your life. You do not owe them an explanation or an apology for living your life the way you want.
Girl, Do you! Don’t apologize for living your life. Be unapologetically you. Don’t explain your choices. No one can live your life but YOU!
Read more by Janessa-Michelle Purcell, More Than Just A Phrase – #BlackLivesMatter