You are 100% responsible for your life and living life on your terms means that the people in your life won’t always support your decisions.
Taking more and more responsibility is a process we go through as we get older. As children we were free and life was easy. We allowed our parents to make all our decisions for us. Remember being a toddler? As a young child you had every choice taken care of. However, as we grow up we take on more and more independence and autonomy. Being a mature adult is about making your own decisions – all of them.
Codependency can happen when a person gives up their decision making to someone else. Has anyone given you the responsibility for their decision making in any area? You might sometimes ask others what to order in a restaurant or who to vote for. You might decide to allow others to decide what job to take or even who to marry. Small or big, these are all actually your responsibility. Being your own person and becoming a mature adult involves taking full ownership of your decisions and the choices you make. You can allow others to give their views but it should be your intuition and needs that help you make your decisions.
You life story is the sum of your decisions. Sometimes doing the right things means walking a lonely path. If those decisions are true to your self, your values and in line with your mission or well being needs, your true friends will respect the decisions you make, even if they disagree.
Live life in accord with your intuition, your loves and your values. Never ever give up on….
1. Your quirks and uniqueness
Be okay about how you might be different. Be yourself and don’t stifle your playfulness, your sense of fun, your uniqueness. Be real. Everyone is odd in their own way. Be proud of who you are and your unique gifts. In fact look for ways to share your wonderfulness. If people reject you because you don’t quite fit in or aren’t ‘cool’ enough – maybe it’s time to find people who do respect you for who you are.
2. Your needs coming first
Ever been on a plane? In that safety demo which you’re way too sophisticated to pay attention to, remember what they always say? When it comes to the life vest, you must put on yours first and only then go and assist others with theirs. Your needs come first.
I have helped many people with their relationship with food. Indeed I hear those with children often say something similar – that with the effort of feeding the children, there is no time or energy to make proper food for themselves. So often mum or dad’s supper is about eating the kids’ cold ketchup covered leftovers. Yet if you are not looked after, how will you be fit and healthy to helps others? One person told me that suppertime was that way because that was how it was when she grew up. Her mum would feed everyone else and neglect herself. Of course the subtle message given was that ‘mum’s needs are unimportant and others’ needs are more important’. As a homework I asked her to change things around – sit and eat properly. She reported that she felt good – in fact it felt like she was giving a visible demonstration to her children that her needs were important too. It was in fact an educational message that she realised her children had been missing out on. Bottom line – your needs are legitimate and you deserve to be looked after no less than anyone else.
3. Working crazily hard on your dreams
If you have good ideas and a well thought out plan which you feel confident about, go for it. Keep going and your efforts will pay off. Successful people are those who don’t allow early knock backs to put them off. Keep trying and trying and trying. There are no quick fixes. Listen to your gut, your heart, keep your dreams as the vision towards which you work. Take advice from wise mentors who actually have experience in your field and get it. If people put your ideas down or tell you that you should give up, don’t allow their negativity to put you off. Feel your passion and take action.
4. Recognising and expressing your emotions
Often we feel that we should only express a narrow spectrum of emotions. That it is unacceptable to express anger or hate or admit to feeling depressed or anxious. Never ever apologise for anything you feel. Never apologise for being sensitive or emotional. If you feel down, don’t add to this by adding in shame. There is no shame or embarrassment about any emotion you might feel.
I hear many people say things like, ‘I must be strong and not show I’m upset’. Showing your emotions is not weakness. Showing your emotions is showing your strength. Don’t judge yourself for being human. Keeping a lid on your emotions is like keeping a lid on a pressure cooker. The pressure builds. For example – ignore anxiety and soon your sleep may be affected, get high blood pressure, or you might lash out at others or in extreme cases have panic attacks. Anything you feel is legitimate and there is nothing wrong with you – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
5. The people or activities to which you devote your time
Spend time with those you care about. We are all on a journey called life and we meet people along the way. Some people may be fun companions for a short while. Some people we would love to be our companions for the whole length of our life’s journey – forever. Devote your time and energy to people who respect you and you feel connected to. Life is too short to waste time on friends who treat you badly, are unreliable, selfish or don’t care about you. Life is as much or more about the relationships we form than the activities we end up doing. Invest your time in things you value and spend time with those who matter.
6. All the youthful decisions made and experiences you had
In my hospice work I meet patients who feel regret for naive, youthful misadventures or opportunities they feel they missed. Some wonder about how life could have been different. Living in regret is very damaging and we are always wise with hindsight.
Some of the most fun people I know, who have the most interesting lives, are those who don’t think too much about many decisions they take and don’t dwell on regrets. You can’t change the past – it has gone forever. Rather than being judge and jury over yourself, accept that at that time, when you are younger, whatever you decided, was in fact the most logical option to take at that moment, based on where you were and the information you had to hand. You are only wise now because you had those experiences. Experience is often something you gain just after you needed it! Practice forgiveness and think about what you learnt along the way. Never berate yourself or feel shame or dwell too long on things that are long gone. Feel good that you are the person you are today, better for the life you led.
It can be very draining to constantly try to please others or worry if you are doing the right thing. Instead, live life in accord with your intuition, your loves and your values. Feel the freedom of enjoying the world on your terms and sharing your unique gifts freely. Be the most authentic version of you – do that and you will feel more awake, more alive and smile more.
What would you never give up on? Leave a comment below.
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Author: Jason Demant
Jason Demant is a UK based Mindfulness practitioner, spiritual seeker and happiness blogger. Jason works looks after the spiritual and emotional wellbeing of patients and family members at a hospice. Jason also works as a coach and clinical hypnotherapist helping clients feel greater calm and well being, kicking anxiety, addictions and unhelpful habits. Visit Jason at www.jasondemant.com and read his happiness hints at happybydesign.org.