1. There is no map to life.
There is no map in life that will lead you to a perfect, or a specific ideal “destination.” Life is a journey… it’s a series of small decisions and choices you make that will lead you on your own unique journey. Don’t keep worrying about where you will turn up, or wondering if you made the right decisions. This added anxiety only takes you further from uncovering your true self.
Trust yourself, and have faith that whichever direction you take will bring you to the place you need to be. Don’t be afraid to go off the map of the life you planned for yourself – life often has a spectacular way of taking us to exactly where we need to be at the times in which we least expect it.
2. Change your focus from “finding yourself” to “creating yourself.”
As Danny Kaye once said, “Life is a great big canvas; throw all the paint you can on it.” Finding yourself is an illusion. It is unattainable as human beings are extremely malleable. We change every second of every day. Instead of attempting to force yourself to ride the waves of some intensive transformation journey, create yourself as you go. Think about who you wish to be, and become this person.
You have complete control over who you are in this world, so embody the version of yourself that you admire, that you love, and that you look up to. So go out there and create yourself. Be whoever you wish to be. Take in every second of everyday, and allow the world to shape you. Don’t ever be afraid to put yourself out there and to create the version of you that shines most brightly.
3. Accepting change will bring you a life of adventure and beauty.
When something doesn’t turn out how you wanted it to, or you suddenly veer off your well thought out detailed five year plan, don’t panic. One small change does not mean that you are doomed, just as one tiny mistake does not mean you are a failure. We tend to over emphasize our mistakes and belittle our accomplishments, such that we lack the positive reinforcement we need when change comes our way.
Repeat after me: one little mistake does not mean you are a failure. Quite often, our biggest roadblocks and letdowns in life ultimately guide us into something even better. Everything in life is connected in some way or another, so what may seem disappointing now may be fundamental in the big picture; in your life as a whole. Usually when things go wrong, better things will come your way. It is all part of your story.
4. Trust your instincts.
Listen to your gut feelings and your heart wrenching desires. Listen to the little voice that tells you that something is wrong for you. Listen to the biological signs that something is not right. Most likely, if it feels wrong, it is wrong. We often underestimate the intelligence of our feelings and emotions, when these are quite vital in learning what is best for us.
Follow your instincts and intuition, because quite often these come from your heart, and are in more tune than even logic in what will bring you happiness and peace. Quite often, your heart may be a step ahead of your brain in figuring out what’s best for you.
5. Be your own best friend.
Of course this sounds cliché, but it’s the truth. The best and most important relationship that you will ever have in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. You will be with yourself for the rest of your life. You will go through all the hard times together. You will celebrate all the victories together.
So please do all that you can to nurture this relationship. Invest in this relationship. Be gentle on yourself, yet tough enough to know and to go after what you deserve. Invest in yourself, as this investment and connection will lead you to a better life more aligned with your values, morals, and core beliefs.
6. Don’t manipulate yourself to fit into an ideal ‘framework.’
Please, above all, do not change or manipulate yourself to fit into a mold formed by societal standards, or the views of others. No matter what your spouse, boss, sister, or best friend says, you are the only person who knows what is best for you. You are the only person who knows what excites your heart and invigorates your mind. You fit into the world exactly as you are – there is only one of you, so be that exact person without regret or second thought.
7. Be more concerned with what your life feels like than with what it looks like.
When it all comes down to it, your life is the day to day adventures and thoughts that fill each second. Your life is about the emotions that dig deep into your soul, and the experiences that shake up your perspectives. Be more concerned with living a life that speaks to you, rather than with living a life that looks good on paper. A good life is a life that you are happy to wake up to…a life that excites you and fulfills you…a life that lets you truly live. This life looks different for everyone. Your life is not your resume, your job description, or your Facebook profile. Your life is WHO you are – not who you appear to be.
8. Live in the now.
If you are always racing to the finish line of everything you do, you will lose all of the little miracles and tiny blessings that happen along the way. The moment is all we are aware of – the past has happened, and the future is still in the distance. Waiting for happiness in the future only leaves you unhappy and discouraged, as you will be missing all that is happening right in front of you.
And what is happening right now is life. The future is uncertain and the past is over, but the now is here. So stop dwelling on the past, or thinking about what’s to come, and be right here. Right now.
9. There is no one definition of success.
Life is not a race or a competition to reaching a societal goal that predetermines success. Stop rushing through life to reach set timeline goals that you think you “should” accomplish at a certain age. Success is not about how quickly you get your college degree, or how quickly you buy your first house. It’s not about the age you are when you get married, or when you have your first child (or your second…or your third). Success is different for everyone. What makes you feel good is not the same as what makes your best friend feel good.
Success and life milestones are simply social constructions that often lead to people feeling as though they are not enough, or not successful enough. But isn’t true. Simply by being you and living a life surrounding your values you will reach your own success, and this success is being at peace with your mind and body. So stop worrying – let things happen as they happen. Don’t pressure yourself into trying to follow a step by step manual to life.
10. You are never a burden.
You are never a burden. No matter what you go through in life, no matter what you feel is pulling you down. It’s okay. Just keep going. You are unique and beautiful. You are strong and resilient. You have something that no one else has to contribute to this big blue and green earth – you have your own miraculous identity, your own touch of genius, and your own way of sharing compassion and love.
11. Your life is exactly that: YOUR life.
You have the power to live this life however you would like. You never, ever have to follow the crowd. Spend your time doing what makes you happy and share it with the world. Never rate yourself on societal standards, or sink into despair when something goes wrong. Never judge yourself based on who someone else wants to be. Follow your own heart and mind, love a lot, and live your life exactly how you please.