I’ve mentioned before that lately I’ve become really interested in improving my quality of life physically through fitness and diet, but also, and more importantly, mentally. This week I’m starting a new blog series called ‘Pillow Talk’, where I chat with you guys about real life topics. The main focus of this series will be about creating a better you through personal growth. I’ll be sharing inspirational quotes and things that I’m learning along my journey of personal growth, and ways that you can apply it to your own life.
Today we’re focussing on ‘Living for You’. Keep reading below to find out my thoughts on living a truly authentic life.
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
I found this quote on Pinterest this past week, and it inspired me to write this post, and so it was only fitting to include it here. I truly hope that this quote touches a part of your heart, because it did for me.
To be honest, I feel almost hypocritical to sit here and write about living a truly authentic life for yourself as if I’m some sort of pro at this, because I am by no means an expert on this topic. In fact, I’ve struggled A LOT with trying to live life for me. Up until this year I have been too busy caring about other people’s feelings and putting other people’s needs above my own that I forgot to live for myself in a way that makes me truly happy. That isn’t to say that I’ve never done anything for myself or that I’m not a happy person, because I have been very happy. But if I’m honest with myself, I’ve found a lot of my happiness through the happiness of those around me.
That being said, finding happiness through the happiness of the people that are important to you – your parents, your siblings, your significant other, your kids – isn’t a bad thing. When someone is truly important to you, it is only natural that you celebrate in their joy and mourn in their sorrow.
What I have learned though is that it is very possible to reach a point in your life where you are so consumed with ensuring the happiness of those around you that you begin to compromise your own happiness by neglecting your own wants and needs. When you reach this point in your life, you are essentially telling yourself that other people’s feelings and needs are superior to your own, and that represents a huge turning point where you begin to dishonour yourself because you are no longer living life for you.
Over the last few months a very close friend of mine, who is a constant inspiration to me, helped show me the importance of living an authentic life that was solely for me, building a life that I was proud of, and ensuring my own happiness. At 27 years old, it was a very daunting task to think of changing my lifestyle now and changing things that I’ve become so accustomed to over the last number of years. It takes a lot of courage and personal strength to make the choice to turn your life around and start living in a way that truly honours yourself and is authentic to your wants and needs and your own personal happiness.
That is where this quote comes into play. While I do truly hope that all of you are living a life that you are truly proud of, and a life where you never have to compromise your heart’s desires, the sad truth is that many of us fall into the trap of putting ourselves second to those around us. So many of us compromise and even neglect our own wants and needs in order to fulfill the needs of those closest to us. Many times we don’t even realize that we have fallen into this pattern because we don’t see it as compromising our own needs.
For example, let’s say you have a job that requires you to work 6 days each week. You only have 1 day off, and what you want more than anything else is to use that time for yourself – to unwind, read a book, have a glass of wine, and maybe go out for a night of fun with your close friends. But when you wake up that morning, you’re faced with a bunch of texts from a co-worker asking for your help on a big project they’re working on, and a few missed calls from your younger sister who wants you to come help her pick out paint colours for her kitchen renovation.
What do you do? Part of you wants to stay home and have a relaxing day like you had planned so you can rejuvenate for the work week ahead of you, but another part of you wants to give in and help your co-worker and sister because you don’t want to disappoint them. And so you convince yourself that even though you won’t get to lay in bed and read the book that’s been sitting on your nightstand for the last 3 weeks, its worth it because you’ll be helping your co-worker and sister and they’ll be able to check off their to-do lists thanks to you.
But what about your to-do list?
Fulfilling your own wants and needs, no matter how big or small, is a vital component of living an authentic life. While the scenario above was a small example of ignoring your own wants and needs for the sake of putting others first, it can lead to an unhealthy pattern of making similar choices in much more serious situations. For example, you may find yourself turning down a great job opportunity that you’ve been dreaming of because it requires you to relocate, and you’re worried that it will disappoint those closest to you. Whatever the situation is, it is so easy to fall into an unhealthy pattern of putting ourselves second to those around us.
And while in the moment we are happy doing so, we are not living a life that is true to ourselves. The good news is that it really is never too late to turn that around, to start over and begin living a life that is authentic to you, a life that you can look back on and be proud of.
While it does take a lot of strength and courage to follow through on living a life that truly honours yourself, it is possible and so worth it in the end. It took me many years, but I have finally made the choice to start turning my life around to something that I am truly proud of. And I believe that you can do it too.
What I’ve learned through this process is that there is nothing standing in the way of where you are now and where you want to be other than yourself. It is definitely hard at first, but just remember that a step in the right direction, no matter how big or how small, is still a step in the right direction. Even if you start out with tiny steps, those tiny steps add up to really big outcomes. Before you know it, you’ll be making much bigger strides towards living a life for you, a life that you are truly proud of.
I know that my life has changed dramatically ever since I made the choice to start over and begin living life for me. It is an ongoing process, and some days I find myself taking smaller steps than others, but it is so worth it. And I genuinely hope that if you find yourself stuck in a place where you are not living the most authentic life for you, that you will find the courage to start over and take those steps towards a life that truly honours yourself.