Life isn’t filled with straight lines where we go from here to there, directly, which would make things easier on us…right?
Life is more a series of curves and stops and starts and sometimes we find ourselves on a path that isn’t right for us.
I wish that we could grow and develop in every area at the same time, but that’s just not how it works.
Just because you’ve grown in expertise in certain skills it doesn’t also follow that you’ve grown equally in your ability to manage emotions or relationships or in your organizing capabilities or in your financial affairs.
But we have expectations.
We’ve been set up to believe in milestones.
“I’m 21, I should be able to manage things better than I do.”
“I’m 30, so why aren’t I in a great relationship, why aren’t I making the money I’m supposed to.”
As if there’s some overseer taking note of where we’ve fallen short because…well…we’re supposed to get things done by a certain time in our life.
We’ve been conditioned to follow the crowd.
But there isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to living.
You’re allowed to get it wrong…you’re allowed to give yourself time to figure out what’s right and good for you. You don’t have to accept the beliefs of others. And I think we’ve forgotten that.
We’ve have been set up by those who’ve told us what we’re supposed to do.
1. You’re ruining your life…when
You’re doing something you never really wanted to do in the first place, but you didn’t give yourself the time to think about it. Or you were too young to make that decision.
At eighteen who really knows what they want to do? Yet there we are at University taking a course because that’s what we’re led to believe we need to do.
And it’s the exception rather than the rule that someone says…this isn’t for me…I’m going to build computers in the garage, or I’m going to make the best music ever heard.
Give yourself the chance to change your mind.
[Tweet “Focus on priorities, but take things in stride. Find the lesson, but don’t give up on yourself. “]
Listen to your intuition and your heart as well as your head and give them all the opportunity to be heard. Make sure you’re doing something that YOU want to do…it’s your life to live.
2. You’re ruining your life…every time
You put yourself last.
You’re on the fast track to burnout and stress if you consistently put yourself and your needs on the back burner.
Truth be told it’s easy to lose yourself in the process of living, and it’s also easy to lose yourself in the process of loving.
Wanting life to be good for others is an awesome thing, but not at the expense of your life, your wellbeing.
As a retired fixer I know of what I speak. For years my time was spent in trying to make other people’s lives better, to help their problems go away, to help them live without disappointment.
And I ended up exhausted and under tremendous pressure.
This might not be you, but…if you’re committed to putting everyone else first and you last…one day you will wake up and realize you’ve got far too much on your plate and it’s unmanageable and you’re tired and grumpy and you’ve forgotten what makes your heart sing.
If ever there was a moment to rediscover the thing that nourishes YOUR soul and brings You the joy that you deserve, that moment is now. It’s time to love yourself as well as you love others.
3. You’re ruining your life…if
You cheat yourself out of real love because you’re in a hurry to have love of any kind; you don’t like being alone; you like the security of a significant other, or you don’t want your status to be single.
Whatever the reason, if you take whatever is easily available you’ll be cheating yourself out of the opportunity to share your life with someone who makes it even more beautiful.
And you’ll miss out on the chance to have the kind of relationship that everyone wants; the one where love is so strong and powerful it makes all the challenges that life throws at you much easier to bear.
Believe me when I say a love born out of need is never going to be the heart and soul connection that adds such a sweet dimension to your life.
And if you’ve found this beautiful experience already, nurture it and protect it because this is the kind of relationship that inspires you to be the best person possible.
4. You’re ruining your life
By continuing to allow old beliefs to run your life.
You chose them originally, not because they served you well, but because they seemed to be a less painful choice than any of the alternatives that were available to you at the time.
Not that all old beliefs are useless, but they are old programmes that are running in the background and they need to benefit who you are today.
Just as you wouldn’t want to work with a computer programme that was ten or twenty years old, because it won’t let you do what you want to do today, nor do you want to work with many of your old beliefs that get in the way of you being the one you want to be now.
Unlike programmers who are always updating hardware and software we rarely check out our old beliefs to see if they need updating and if they’re running and ruining your life.
When you stop believing the wrong things you make room for the right things, those that make you happy. And the best thing you can do is to be just like a computer programmer, and begin to input new information into your mental computer.
Beliefs aren’t set in stone, and when you look at them as simply some idea you’ve accepted as true or an opinion you heard and adopted, you can replace them with positive ideas that serve you better.
If you want to stop making decisions and taking actions that are contrary to your best interests, get a hold of yourself and start inputting different perspectives and opinions.
Don’t worry about the why of it all, just get started. That first step is often enough to build a momentum that keeps the ball rolling. Each new belief you choose strengthens you and increases your chances of experiencing that joy- filled extraordinary life that awaits.
Encourage one another
What a great title for the post, Elle. The drive to live up to expectations can be surprisingly subtle thing – at least I’ve found that to be the case. That’s why the titles resonates so strongly for me as sometimes we think we’re not, but oh yes we are! I’m happy to have moved beyond this at a gross level, but there are still subtle levels to peel away. Thanks for the encouragement.
You’re spot on Sandra. Personal growth and spiritual expansion is an ongoing work of art. It happens to be a work that I love and I know you do too…how blessed we are. 🙂
I’m still working on self-limiting beliefs that no-longer belong with my new life, but wow, it takes a lot of work to put them on the back-burner! 🙂 But as long as I’m working on them I’m making progress, so thanks for these reminders Elle so I can bring them to my attention once again and let them go <3
As I just said to Sandra in the comment below…growth is a life time work Ellen, so we might just as well enjoy it and make it fun. Progress is always fun in any aspect of life isn’t it?
How often do we think about these four subtle ways we could be ‘cheating’ ourselves out of our best life? A wonderful article Elle, thank you for highlighting <3
Hi Allanah…it’s true that some things are so opaque we can’t see them, other than in our life experiences. Life is an echo, a mirror…and all in all a fantastic tool for seeing areas that need a bit of attention. Of course it’s not always easy to connect the dots! 🙂
Wonderfully wise post. I used to be guilty of every one of these, and they did lead to a ruined life. I have changed in every circumstance, but boy! it would have been nice to learn sooner. Better late than never.
Lol Debbie…I know just what you mean and as Sandra said sometimes there’s just a few shreds of old mind-sets floating around. How wonderful that you have changed your circumstances…kudos and hugs to you. 🙂
Well put and very good advise
Glad you liked it Sandra…and thanks for taking the time to stop by and say so. 🙂
Awesome line here, Elle, “You’re ruining your life…every time you put yourself last.” I can be a fixer as well and think about everyone else, partly because of what many of us were taught as kids, that it is selfish to think about ourselves first. Your ideas here of a healthy balance and not rushing into decisions definitely helps to create a healthy life. Thank you!
I recognize that all too well Cathy…and we both know its good to be there for others…and that we matter too. 🙂
Powerful blog. I’ve lost a husband and a boyfriend in the last 5 years and am searching for a purpose, hoping to help others. Thank you so much for your inspiring posts!
Hello and welcome Ann…I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is having lost a husband, a brother and both my parents. It’s such an incredible blow that I wonder how we, any of us manage to come out the other side. But here we are. If there’s anything I can do to support you please do contact me and I’ll do the best I can. 🙂
Love this advice and wisdom Elle!
Its funny how although we all do the best we can considering our circumstances….we still regret it. I say live, make mistakes and learn.
Thank you for this encouragement.
Hello Zeenat…what a great saying…and it’s so timely for me right now! Thank you. 🙂