How do you know if the life you’re living is authentically yours or not? Good question, and one that I think is worth taking some time to explore. After all, you only live once, and don’t you want to live your life instead of living someone else’s version of it?
I have spent a huge chunk of my life, since I was a teenager I suppose, trying take my life for myself and make it truly mine. It has not been an overnight process for sure, so I’ve had to gauge my progress all along the way.
Anyway, I wrote out 24 ways to determine if the life your living is really yours. It was easily the length of four blog posts when I finished, so I decided to split it into four parts.
Here are the second six. Click here to read the first six. Some of them may seem silly or easy, but I promise you they’re not silly or easy to everyone. And until you can claim all 24, I think it’s safe to say that there are still parts of your life that aren’t really yours.
I personally love living a life that is mine and no one else’s. It lets me give a huge and genuine part of my life to others, and it lets me make so many more of the right calls for me and my son.
Oh, and I know it probably sounds like the “my cure for it” sections are meant to be a joke, but I’m dead serious. Try them and see if I’m not right.
7. When you have different beliefs…
When you have grown to believe something different than what you were raised with, do you say so? Or do you keep your own beliefs a secret so as not to stir the pot, not to cause undue grief, or not to lose support? When you believe something differently than your friends, do you boldly accept that, or do you change the topic so that you don’t have to feel like you’re lying? And when the broader society around you is almost all of a certain belief set that clashes with what you actually believe, do you play along to keep the community support or do you walk to the beat of your own drum?
Until the day you can embrace your own beliefs, whatever they may be, and own those beliefs no matter who is asking or what kind of support you think you’ll gain or lose, you’re living a life that isn’t actually yours.
My cure for those afraid to embrace what they believe: next time people’s beliefs get brought up and your beliefs are being misrepresented, loudly clear your throat and declare, “I believe in pizza. It’s good.” People will look at you as if to ask you if you’re serious. So, continue and say the hardest thing you’ll ever say (at first). “I also don’t exactly believe in that.” Don’t apologize. Don’t make excuses. Don’t act like you’re doing something wrong. Just stare ‘em down and smile. The first time is the hardest. Soon enough, you’ll find that it’s pretty fun to be on your side of the belief fence.
8. When something isn’t right at work…
When you see injustice going on at work, do you say something? When you know there is a problem, do you offer a suggestion or a solution? If you disagree with the way something is being done, do you voice that? Or do you fear the repercussions, the exclusion from your peers, and the view of your boss, to the point that you keep your mouth shut?
Until the day you can boldly stand up to any person or any situation or any idea on the job, you are definitely limiting where you can go as an employee, and you’re definitely living a life that isn’t actually yours.
My cure for those who have a hard time speaking up at work: since you have come to realize that not speaking up actually hinders you and holds you back from progressing, the next time you fear saying something about anything in the workplace, suck in your gut, puff out your chest, and tilt your head to one side. Then, simply look at your boss or your colleague, squint your eyes, purse your lips, and say, “hmmmm.” Do this over and over until they beg you to give your input at which point it will be easy to do so.