Whether it’s within your career, your relationships, or another aspect of your life, it’s challenging to wake up to the reality that you’ve been living someone else’s life.
Here are nine steps you can take to live a life that’s more true to yourself:
1. Think about the bigger picture
We all have a finite amount of time in which to live our lives, and every day that goes by is one day less you have to live a life that’s true to yourself.
Taking a step back, considering the bigger picture, and remembering that your time is limited can help you stay focused on your real dreams and goals, rather than the dreams or goals you think you should have.
2. Question your beliefs
Everyone grows up with an internal script about how the world works and how we should spend our lives. That script forms in childhood and influences the way your life plays out.
Often, our internal scripts are unconscious and we go about our daily lives without even realizing that we’re acting on them. If you want to stop living someone else’s life, it’s important to start questioning your internal script and the beliefs behind it.
3. Invest in your self-awareness
Therapy, coaching, and self-work like journaling are all useful tools for life transitions, including moving towards a life that is more satisfying and meaningful to you.
Not only will these tools support you through the process of questioning your beliefs, but they will also help you uncover your authentic values, and look ahead to create a vision for a life that is truly yours.
4. Notice when you defer to others
Sometimes, we feel pressure to conform to the values and beliefs of other people in our lives. In these situations, the first step towards shifting this pattern is to become aware of it.
Start noticing when you defer to other people by default. Notice whether this happens around specific people, specific areas of life, or specific topics of conversation. Keep a list of your trigger points in these areas so you can build up a picture of the situations in which you’re most likely to prioritize other people’s beliefs and values over your own.
Once you have that picture, you’ll become more aware of when this is happening in the moment, and take steps to stop your deferral process before it’s even begun.
6. Set boundaries
If you feel under pressure from specific people to live a life that’s not true to yourself, then it’s time to set boundaries. Doing this can be challenging, as you risk disrupting the dynamic of your relationship with that person or people. Ultimately, however, the people who respect and care about your well-being will want to support you as you explore your individuality and develop a life that is more authentic.
5. Have fun and experiment
If you’ve been living someone else’s life, it can be hard to visualize what your ideal life might even look like.
This is a great opportunity to experiment with possibilities and explore your interests, dreams, goals and ambitions.
7. Spend time with yourself
Just like we get to know other people by spending time with them, we get to know ourselves by spending time with ourselves. Make time to be alone with yourself, without distraction, and begin the process of reconnecting to your true thoughts and feelings.
8. Imagine your eulogy
Just like taking a bigger-picture perspective, thinking about how you want to be remembered can help you focus on what’s most important to you. What do you want people to say about who you were and what you did?
9. Remember that it’s your life
As obvious as it might sound, remember that your life is your your own and that, as much as other people might give you advice, you are the one who will have to live with the consequences of that advice. Keeping this reality in mind can help you distance yourself from other people’s opinions and beliefs.