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Why We Should All Consider A More Bohemian Lifestyle

Why We Should All Consider A More Bohemian Lifestyle

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a “Bohemian” as someone, “especially an artist, literary man, or actor, who leads a free, vagabond, or irregular life, not being particular as to the society he frequents, and despising conventionalities generally”.

In today’s world, the term “Boho” or “Bohemian” is mostly associated with a fashion style or certain way to decorate a home. In fact, the bohemian style has become a real trend over the past few years. The brand Freepeople, for instance, is a great example of this bohemian styling trend. But there’s a lot more to it.

“Bohemianism is not a trend, it’s a timeless movement, a way of life both fleeting and enduring that reappears every now and then as a backlash against our bourgeois, mass market, easy access culture.” Laren Stover, author of Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge.

Bohemianism is a lifestyle. It stands for those free spirits who are living a life away from the usual everyday life, the stress and pressure, a life in which we are disguising our own feelings and personality in order to fit into today’s society and its ideals. We become the “perfect” version of ourselves, living our allegedly “perfect” lives, rushing from one place to another because those 24 hours just aren’t enough to fit in ten hours of work, working out at the gym, eating, getting dressed, grocery shopping, and picking up the kids from school. You get the idea.

Living a life always hassling from one place to another isn’t always what we really want. We do it because everybody does it. From early on, we give our very best at school in order to get into a decent university. When we are at university, we give our very best in order to get a good job with some major company one day. And when we are at work? Well, we are giving our very best in order to please our bosses, to get a pay raise, or to finance the next vacation. At the same time, we are constantly working on ourselves, trying to fix our flaws, to get in better shape, to get a better look.

While we are doing all this, we tend to forget our talents, our dreams, our true selves. We forget about the things that actually make us happy and fulfilled. This “perfect” version of ourselves often isn’t ourselves. That is where Bohemians are one step ahead of us. They live the life they want to live, they fight for their ideals, they are their true selves, managing to live out their dreams. Even if that means that they don’t have a permanent place of residence or a hefty savings account.

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Even though this lifestyle might not suit everyone, it clearly involves some aspects which any of us can, and maybe even should, consider implementing more in our own lives. All points are underlined by statements from what has become one of my favorite books: Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge by Laren Stover.

1. Have the courage to follow your own ideals and live your life to the fullest.

In order to live life to the fullest, you’ve got to be willing to take a risk once in a while. Have courage and know that the risk is worth it.

“Giving up security takes guts. Bohemians have the courage to reject mainstream society; to follow an ideal and forsake praise and security; to alienate family; to be, as Jack Kerouac put it, ‘yourself at whatever cost’.”

2. Free your artistic self and surprise yourself.

Take photos, take notes, jot down your thoughts, paint, or do pottery. There are a million ways we can act out our feelings. Just try it.

“Art is a way of life to the Bohemian, so it is difficult to separate art from life. They make it. They sell it. They barter it. They inspire it. They find it on the street, on the beach, in the Dumpster, in the stars. […] Walls, floors, shoes, shirts, sidewalks, street lamps, skylights, no surface is safe from the Bohemian with a paintbrush, marking pen or glue gun. Broken objects may become art; broken crockery or scallop shells end up as mosaics.”

3. Speak out loudly for what you believe in.

Don’t hide your feelings and thoughts just because they might not seem appropriate for some people. Be true to yourself.

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“Revolt comes naturally to Bohemians; they are contrary, irrelevant and disobedient. They like to shake things up. They tickle, rattle, inspire, amuse, repulse and overthrow. Bohemians revolt against dress codes, the circadian clock, business hours, temperance, established mores, the conventional idea of a work ethic, established art forms, politics, traditional living arrangements and institutions.”

4. Dare to live a more unconventional life.

Who tells us how we have to live our lives? High school, college, work, family, kids. For some of us, this might sound wonderful — which is fine. For some of us, however, it doesn’t. It’s just not us. So why should we force ourselves?

“The bohemian is not a follower of the virtues espoused by bourgeois society: routine, temperance, convention, mediocrity, materialism and respectability. Bohemians despise authority, the status quo and, because they are often broke, capitalism and consumerism.”

5. Be proud of being different.

You simply cannot identify yourself with the “normal,” ordinary way people around you talk, act, think, and live? You feel like you are kind of weird in some way? Different? Extraordinary? Well, congratulations. Be proud of it.

“To Bohemians, there is no shame in experiencing altered mental states and sometimes even a little glory in it. […] The Bohemian is never shy about sharing any alternative or outlaw experience. This includes asylum stays. They will illustrate treatments, painting doctors and wards and discussing the stay as though it were something of notoriety or great prestige.” 

6. Embrace your body.

Bohemians are comfortable with nakedness because they are comfortable in their bodies. Imagine how much happier we would all be if we could just accept our bodies the way they look and see them as the beautiful things they are.

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“Nudity as a state is liberating, free of class, inhibition, pretense, rank and fashion. It’s an opportunity to return to the earth, to create a Utopia uncorrupted by buttons, buckles, zippers, neckties, bow ties.”

7. Stop believing in materialism.

Owning a lot of things doesn’t necessarily make one happy. On the contrary, it is not a rare occurrence that this stuff gets in our way and becomes a burden. So, what exactly is the point of all those possessions we accumulate over the years?

“The Bohemian makes do — creatively, exultantly — and does not need the newest appliance, car or gadget to impress, to feel whole, to define himself or herself, to pursue dreams. The true Bohemian is a connoisseur of texture, color and sensation. While the bourgeoisie can experience excitement, a feeling of fulfillment only through consuming, the Bohemian is exhilarated by observation, by creation, by experience itself.”

8. Travel away from the destinations of guidebooks and tourist hotspots.

Discover new lands, foreign cultures, freedom off the beaten track. Get inspired.

“They travel inordinately, incessantly, restlessly; observing, freeloading, freewheeling, free loving, freedom bound, drinking, mountain climbing, [..], taking jobs, taking notes, taking photos, typing away in the room at night, maybe all night. […] Bohemians shun tourist attractions. The Bohemians has been to Paris ten times yet has never been to the Eiffel Tower, and when they do, always by accident, end up at a tourist attraction, they’ll get there so late it will be closed.”

9. Reconnect with nature.

A walk in nature is often referred to as the best medicine. In today’s modern world, however, we tend to forget that and rather turn to our electrical devices or even pills to calm us down, to distract us from our problems, from the struggles we have. So the next time you are feeling down or stressed, try a walk in the park. It will not only help you de-stress, but also to get a little physical exercise.

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“Bohemians are more primal, closer to the earth, and more prone to embrace nature than people who consider themselves above the four-legged with tail or scales. They do not, as a rule, put out sticky traps or tear down spiderwebs, and never one that is inhabited. Bohemians rescue animals.”

10. Don’t be afraid to try new, foreign things.

Trying out and learning about new things will not only open up new possibilities and chances to you in life, it will also make you smarter and benefit your personality in a great way.

“Bohemians embrace, whenever possible, unconventional food and eating habits. […] Bohemians like to eat and prepare food from countries not native to them, or from another time period.”

However you are living or planning on living your life, take just one minute and think about it. What’s the feeling you are getting? If it feels good, congratulations, that’s great. If it doesn’t, however, there might be a weak spot in the way you’re living. Now, think of those points mentioned above. They are all crucial elements in the bohemian lifestyle. Maybe you’ll find yourself in one of them, maybe there are some small adjustments you can implement in your own life and maybe, just maybe, they will help you to live your life more fully, more happily, and more truthfully.

After all, “there’s just something about the freedom, recklessness, scandal, artistic vision and spiritual splendor that makes it tantalizingly worthy of membership.”

Featured photo credit: via Flickr // taylorfranks via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 20, 2019

13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

Why is this so critically important to you?

The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

  • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
  • The man facing the judge.
  • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
  • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
  • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
  • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

2. Accept Your Fear

Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

And here’s what can be done.

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3. Get Some Perspective

I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

  • Are you really at risk?
  • Will this kill you?
  • Which leads us on to..
  • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

4. Hold a Hand

As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

Ask yourself:

  • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
  • Could that really happen?
  • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
  • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

8. Assume the Worse

If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

  • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
  • Think about how they feel about champagne?
  • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

11. Go with Fear

When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

13. Own Your Fear

Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

More Resources About Fighting Fear

Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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