Living Someone Else’s Life
It can be quite discouraging when you wake up one day and realize your living someone else’s life. Someone else’s dreams of who and what you should be. Is your job one that you wanted or one your parents encouraged you to get? Have you forgotten your passions because society says you should put everyone else’s needs above your own?
Why Do You Live Someone Else’s Life?
There are several reasons that you end up living someone else’s life, but most of them have to do with societal expectations or to please someone else. For many people, they were raised as children to be safe. Our parents wanted the best for us, but that best for us was how to be safe and protected. Living a life of safety results in mediocrity. As children, we strived to make our parents happy, so it becomes natural to take the safe path and not rock the boat.
Sadly, their good intentions of ensuring we were safe and protected results in the fear of reaching for the stars. We become weighed down by fears of failure, being made fun of, a loss of income, or losing everything. Yes, these are legitimate concerns. On the other hand, what happens if you live a life of mediocrity? You never discover your passion. You never reach your potential. There is no fulfillment. You’re living someone else’s life.
How Can You Stop Living Someone Else’s Life?
Luckily, there are steps you can take to begin taking risks. You don’t have to start swimming with the sharks the first day. You can work up to it by swimming with some goldfish first. Real ones, not a bag of cracker goldfish. Those would be disgusting in the water.
Realize the Bigger Picture
You only have one life to live. With this life, you only have a finite amount of time. It is important to think about this reality as you go through life. This is not intended to depress you, but to understand the importance of living each day to the fullest. Consequently, you should focus on what your hopes, dreams, and passions are. Instead of focusing on what someone else thinks you should do.
Question You Belief System
Everyone grows up with an internal belief system. This belief system is the product of your upbringing, your parent’s beliefs, societal expectations, personal experiences and ultimately how you interpreted these events. Just like learning to live a life of safety, you may not realize that a specific belief system is limiting you. Therefore, as you go about discovering your passion, consider why that negative critic tells you that you can’t do it. Then, you analyze the belief behind the critic’s negativity. Does that believe serve you well or limit you?
To go along with questioning your beliefs, you should also make your self-awareness a priority. Focus on learning about yourself through reading, classes, self-reflection, meditation, coaching, mentors, or journaling. These activities will help you move towards a life that you find meaningful rather than what someone else wants you to do. These practices can also help you uncover your values, and eventually solidify the vision of who you truly are.
Realize When You Take the Easy Road
The first step to any change is the realization of a problem. Do you defer to others? If you defer to others frequently, then you need to notice and acknowledge it. What does it mean to defer to others? This means that you conform to the values and beliefs of others.
For example, you took that safe job because your parents said that the benefits and retirement were more important than what the job was that you were doing. It could be simpler than that. Do you always let your friends pick where you eat or what activities you do as a group? Pay attention to when you defer to others. Is it with certain people? Around certain subjects of conversation? Once you’ve identified when you become out of alignment with your true self, you can identify patterns or trigger points. These situations indicate times where you put other people’s beliefs and values above your own.
If certain people put pressure on you to live in opposition of your values and believes, or passions, then you need to establish boundaries between you. This may be difficult for you to do. It may even harm your relationship. However, if the person cares for and respects you, they should want to support you and your quest to become the best you possible.
Spend Time Alone
To know yourself, you must spend time alone. When you meet a new person, you can’t know them unless you spend time together. You’ve been living someone else’s life, so now you need to get to know who you are. set aside time every day to be alone with no distractions and contemplate your thoughts and feelings.
How Do You Want to Be Remembered?
It can be a bit morbid for some people but thinking about what you want in your eulogy can help. By considering what you want people to say when you’re gone, you keep the big picture first. Each day is a privilege and a blessing – how do you want to live it?
Live Your Own Life
No matter who gives you advice, you must always remember that you are responsible for what you ultimately do. You must live with the consequences of your decisions. When you keep this in mind, it makes it easier to listen to the advice objectively, but still, make your own decisions. Moreover, you can make these decisions without feelings of guilt or pressure.
What do you need to do to stop living someone else’s life?
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