Living life on your terms or other people’s?

Living a life true to you, or what others expect of you?

Sometimes I get super overwhelmed thinking about how fast time is going because of all-the-things – and then some – that I need to do. I start writing lists, in my head and then onto paper, schedule tasks in my phone calendar with reminders to make sure they don’t slip through the cracks (of course some always do – because…life, right!?)

Naturally, I’m a to-do list kinda’ gal (where my fellow Virgo ladies at?!) and yet sometimes after I’ve written a rather long and overwhelming ‘to-do’ list, I sit back, look at all the words on the page and ask myself:

‘What would bring me the most joy?’
‘What FEELS GOOD?’
‘What is productive and pleasurable?’
‘What will have a positive outcome on my health and wellbeing?’
‘What is aligned with my truth?’
‘Is this for my greater personal growth?’

..because if I can’t find some joy or good vibes, even in some small way, from what I’m doing, why am I doing it?

To tick a box? To please or appease others? To do what’s ‘right’ in other’s eyes?

A big fat ‘no thank you.’

That’s not how I want to live my life.

In fact, living life on my terms, being true to myself, is one of the most precious and valuable things to me. It’s also one of the things I’m most passionate about inspiring others to do also and this forms a beautiful part of the work I do.

I remember reading a beautiful article a long time ago about what a nurse (Bronnie Ware) working in palliative care observed as the top five regrets of the dying (which was turned into a book), as she worked with people for several years in the last 12 weeks of their life…

The top regret was this:

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Whilst the term ‘live life on your own terms’ may seem like a throwaway or cliché line, it goes far deeper than ‘pop culture’ or a buzz term – especially given that the reality is that “living a life that’s true to you”, instead of the expectations other place upon you, is a huge struggle for so many of us.

Living life on your own terms certainly isn’t always an easy road (I can vouch for this wholeheartedly) but it’s an honest, truthful and soul liberating way to live (I can vouch for this wholeheartedly, too).

Take a moment to pause and think of a few recent situations or experiences in your life and ask yourself,:

‘Did I do that/make that decision/say that/go there/(insert appropriate phrase) because it was what I genuinely wanted to do and what felt good for me, OR did I do that because it was what others expected of me?’

So often we’re unaware of when we are making decisions based on other people’s expectations of us (fear), instead of making a decision based on our own truth (love).

I was listening to a wonderful podcast on the bus yesterday and when I heard these words, I was practically high-fiving and hugging the people sitting near me.

I hope hearing these words is like a hug for your heart…

‘…put boundaries up when you need them around certain people in your life, instead of the story that, “I can’t ’cause they’re my mother-in-law or because they’re my mother”, and also taking responsibility to take space when you need it as well and not say that you “can’t because it’s Christmas and I have to go to my parents house.” – No, you don’t.’

‘If you’re truly showing up fully, as yourself, then you are unapologetically sharing your truth with your family, with your friends. You’re saying, ‘it’s not a matter of being disrespectful; this is my truth.’

Remember those questions I ask myself when it comes to my to-do list? Truth is, I apply them to my whole life and it’s how I make almost all decisions.

I encourage and invite you to try them on and see how they fit (and feel) for you, no matter what decision you’re making.

Here they are for you again:

‘What would bring me the most joy?’

‘What FEELS GOOD?’

‘What is productive and pleasurable?’

‘What will have a positive outcome on my health and wellbeing?’

‘What is aligned with my truth?’

‘Is this for my greater personal growth?’

 

What does ‘living a life true to you’, mean to you? How can you take action today to implement your definition of it? Share with us in the comments below, beautiful you.

Living life on your terms and living in alignment with your truth can be challenging and confronting, but it’s by far one of the most rewarding, self-loving and compassionate things you can do for your beautiful self.

 

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