Treating yourself with care is a courageous act. It takes bravery and know-how, both of which you must cultivate. But to avoid living a life that isn’t your own, you must care about cultivating what it takes to act courageously. You must learn to live bravely and intelligently, that is, you must devote your days to, one, learning who you are at the heart of it all and, two, acting in a way that is sensitive to these core desires.
To jumpstart this courageous effort, learn how to give to yourself, learn how to invest in you. Hone in on your wants. Then, speak of them. When you say them aloud, you’ll see that your wants will begin to feel real and important, mighty and absolute. They will begin to feel like non-negotiables which, by the way, they are. Say yes to the very experiences that have the greatest chance of resonating and empowering you. Prioritize these experiences but make room also for what is new, for what might make your heart dance and your eyes beam. Joy comes from your capacity to surprise yourself.
Make sure you make room to be surprised. Next, avoid equating aging with comprises and death, with slowly losing your voice, with slowly losing spirit.
We each know someone who has woken up one morning, not knowing how they let themselves get to where they are. Operative word is let themselves because, yes, this life of ours is made up of a million, trillion tiny little choices that we ourselves are making from one heartbeat to the next. You might think that’s not true. That other people call the shots. But you can’t blame your spouse, for instance, because your spouse was and is your choice.
You’ve got to own your life, whether you’re in favor of it or not. It’s important you remember that waking up with this kind of regret doesn’t just last a morning either, it can last a lifetime. Again, we each know someone who feels miserable in their own shoes. Don’t let yourself become one of the miserable. Don’t perpetuate the storyline of regret. To overcome such a destiny, get clear about the life that you do not want for yourself.
Visualize it. Don’t harp on it. But see it for what it is and understand why it isn’t good for you. If you’re all about to-do lists, make a to-not-do list. Then, step-by-step, day by day, begin creating the life you do want. Every day must be devoted to you conspiring not to live a life that feels unlived or unlovable but rather feels lived and alive and loved and lovable. The goal is for this to become ingrained in you, for this devotion, determination, and persistence to become the undercurrent of your everyday. You want to have living on purpose just be what you do. Your everyday motto, or game plan, can be: Today I am looking out for myself. Now once you start to get a sense of the life you do want to create, make a vow to commit to this creation, a vow that you will not abandon it.
Between two options, choose which makes your heart beat faster. When making plans, turn down the volume on all that is outside of you and tune into your intuition. The goal is to choose in favor of your heart, its yearnings and curiosities. That way, your plans and choices will not disappoint you and, if they do, you will be accountable and will remember how to choose for the next go round. This will help you step into your one and true life. Every morning wake up and say, today I will invest in my growth. Then, do as you say. But, if you do drag your feet, don’t bully yourself.
Tomorrow truly is a new day, a new chance, another morning to energize yourself toward investing in your growth. Actually, you don’t even really need the morning, if you’d like you can take a breath and start fresh in sixty seconds. If you do this, life will be special in your eyes and, beyond that, it will be honest. It will be true. It will be yours. This is why you must make time for self-involvement, for retreating and thinking deeply about who you are or who you want to be or wish to be or who you were before you lost yourself, before you forgot and stopped partaking in what delighted you.
They say that integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching you. It’s also been said that a person by himself never feels shy. Does this ring true or what? Only, the question now becomes, who is he then? How does a person behave when he isn’t shaken up by the fallacy that all people are out to judge him. You’ve got to ask yourself the same thing. Look at every question as you closing in on a clue. Your life might feel like a mystery right now. An adventure. Maybe you can begin to feel like discovering yourself is an adventure that can get your heart pumping too.
And you know what, there is also nothing to fear when you approach others with that same exact purpose, too, to get closer to who they are deep down, who they are once they get even themselves out of their own way. If you’re thinking you have something to lose, that’s a lie. That’s an excuse. That’s fear. You have nothing to lose. Nothing. So prepare yourself to make time in your day for your intention to be genuinely invested in getting closer to who someone is on the inside, on discovering who someone is when they are alone and not shy.
Devote yourself to being that person for them, the person who can bring out their calmness, their trust and naturalness. Devote yourself to being the person who eases them into dropping all acts, eases them into letting down their guards and opens them up to knowing themselves truly, just as you are trying to do for yourself. Whether this experience is self-focused or other-focused, you’re only ever gaining. There’s no loss. There’s no reason to fear. Because, again, you’re involving yourself genuinely and because of that you will gain something, and that something is insight and maybe sometimes it is also a friend.
Maybe you start spending an hour every Sunday, thinking about who you are. Maybe you spend an hour seeing if you can’t make friends with yourself. As you discover what you’re into, start asking for it. This is also an essential step, and one that is extremely courageous. But just because it’s courageous doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. Start by asking for one thing that your heart demands.
Then, begin requiring that your life involves exactly that, exactly what you’re into. That’s right, start requiring more for yourself. Start expecting more out of yourself, too. One more thing, and this is something you must remember and follow through on. It changes, if not determines, everything.
Please, do not wait for a better mood or a better day to begin the steps spoken above. There is no better day. There is no greater time than now to start acting on your own behalf, to start living like you’re interested in others and invested in making friends with yourself, too. Above all, enjoy this process. It’s a lifelong and daring adventure. Be sure you treasure your smallest of wins and make sure to celebrate yourself.