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9 Ways To Live But Not Merely Exist You Need To Start Doing

9 Ways To Live But Not Merely Exist You Need To Start Doing

Life is like a road trip without a map; as you travel along the highway of life, you stop at different places, veer off down unknown roads, change direction every now and again and sometimes, although you hate to admit it, you get lost. Sadly, there are some of who insist on taking the map with them, making sure that nothing is uncertain, that all roads are clearly mapped out and getting lost is never a possibility.

Merely existing in life is like being on automatic pilot; eyes wide open yet not seeing anything, arms out in front, yet never really feeling or experiencing anything and you travel one foot in the front of the other going in only one direction. There is no feeling, no challenge and certainly no excitement you simply go through the motions doing what you have always done, yet expecting something different.

Except you have this feeling in the back of your mind that life isn’t meant to be like this, that there is more to it and you need to make some changes. I’m all for change so I’ve come up with a few actionable pointers to help you live a great existence, so that you can start loving every moment of your life again!

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1. Invest the present and do what matters most to you.

Life is short—there I’ve said it, but it’s true. You can’t waste a single drop of it, so while you are here on this wonderful planet, why not make sure you do right now what matters to you most. What you do every day matters more to you than what you do every so often, like, for example, what you do for work or your daily routine. It’s time to really decide if it makes you happy or not. Ask yourself what makes you really come alive and start to invest time in being able to do that.

2. Live the way you preach.

If you harp on all the time about being kind to other people, giving to charity and helping the needy, and yet you are grumpy all the time, moan about having to give to charity and are selfish with your time, it might be time to rethink how you live your life. The best way to live is to live with purpose and being true to your word, you’ll not only gain respect from others but you’ll also respect yourself too. What you’ll also find is that you’ll live your life in a more meaningful way, you’ll feel more fulfilled and you’ll become an inspiration to others at the same time. Wonderful don’t you think?

3. Write your own story of your own life.

Guess what? Your life is in your hands and nobody else’s, so it’s up to you how the story of your life goes. Once you understand that no matter what happens to you, no matter what people think of you and what other people are doing with their lives, your life is your own responsibility and if you want to enjoy it, it’s down to you. Start the new chapter of your life today; create, dream and then take action. Step into your own life and make an intention to re-write, start over and live rather than exist!

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4. Appreciate all the wonderful people and great things already in your life.

How often do you not even notice what you already have in your life: your family who loves you, your partner who adores you and your home, which you are so lucky to live in? Be ever so grateful for all those people that care about you no matter what you do, and appreciate them every day as you’ll never know when they might no longer be around. Remember, the more you are grateful for the more you will receive things to be grateful about.

5. Be who you really are.

There is really no point in pretending to be someone you are not or hiding that unique and special person behind someone else. You were made as you and there is, after all, only one of you. If you were to believe what people say in this crazy world, being like everyone else is better than being who you are, don’t you dare believe it!  Hold onto your individuality and wear it with pride. Embrace your differences and brush off any criticisms, those who criticize are only envious of you, so be brazen about it, step forward and be you!

6. Embrace change and love watching your life unfold.

So many times, I’ve seen people struggle, complain and moan about things in their life when stuff doesn’t go the way they want it to go. Life is meant to be ever changing, ever growing and it can be tough to let go of how things used to be and move forward with something new. Here’s where you stop worrying, fretting and trying to control. It’s time to have a little bit of faith in the unknown and start trusting that life will unfold on its own whether you like it or not. Believe that what’s around the corner is the best for you, even if it doesn’t seem that way, and laugh or cry but live consciously from now on and see how wonderful life can really be.

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7. Always listen to your heart.

There is no doubt about it—this is the most important step. Life can be an exciting, spontaneously exhilarating journey if you let it be, or it can be nothing at all. You can learn new ways to live. Begin today by making some changes and listening to your heart. Forget what other people think. Be brave enough to go it alone if you have to. Do what is in your heart and follow it with commitment, pride and love. Appreciate every step you take and be mindful of everything around you. There will be bad days, good days and days that will teach you how to deal with difficulties, because they will come. Life is after all one big learning curve. Treat it like that and you’ll never be disappointed.

8. Enjoy the little things in life.

The very best things in life are free and remembering to enjoy the simple things in life will make you feel alive. Things like watching nature, spending time with loved ones and having fun will make you realize that the need for more is just an illusion.  Enjoy these moments today, because tomorrow things could change in an instant, so make the most of now and the little things in life.

9. Learn to let go.

Some things things are meant to stay broken, so rather than trying to fix something that is broken, learn to let go and let it be. Trying to force something into place or back together can make the situation worse.  Sometimes it’s best to leave them be, start over and create something better than before.  Whether it’s a relationship or a certain situation, it’s important to look at it objectively, work out what works and what doesn’t, and then act accordingly. Letting go is never a failure. It’s just a choice to take a new direction and make the best out of what happens next.

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So the question is, do you merely exist or are you living?

Featured photo credit: An Khánh via flickr.com

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

That’s where we all should be.

So, answer me this:

How are you, really?

And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

It’s taking control.

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2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

Change will happen.

Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

What would you do if you felt you were enough?

By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

Final Thoughts

By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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