What kind of choices are you making in your life? Are you heading in the direction you want? Or do you feel as if you are living someone else’s dream or stagnating?
It’s often really hard to figure out what you should be doing in life. Many people never ask themselves this question, and they can end up leading a life they really didn’t love.
Taking the time to ask yourself this question is important. Are you doing what you love? Do you believe in it? Does it bring satisfaction?
Or are you simply taking the path of least resistance or following the money? That can lead to a life that feels like an act of self-betrayal. Here’s a question that I like to ask myself from time to time. Am I betraying my true self? Am I living the life I want?
People betray themselves in many ways.
Perhaps you stay in a marriage that is harmful or deeply unfulfilling. Or you go to a church because you were raised in it and that’s what is expected of you. You took the degree in school that was also expected of you.
Or you totally rebelled and said, ” &*@% School!” and in an act of defiance avoided school, something that could have brought you great fulfillment. Often it is what we don’t do that hurts us the most.
Perhaps you choose a career that has prestige or pays really well, but sort of feels like it is sucking out your soul day after day. Many people work in a job they hate because they are too afraid to leave or the money is simply too good to give up. I’ll post more about that struggle another day!
There are many ways you can avoid walking down the right path. It is easier to just follow what people think you should be doing. Your partner, your family, and your friends, social media – all of these well-meaning people have an idea of what is best for you.
Bottom line: You could be simply afraid of judgement or of losing friends and acceptance in your peer group. Many people will do anything to avoid losing friends. At these times you are not thinking about what would nourish your own soul and by doing that, you betray yourself.
You stop thinking for yourself and make decisions based on what others want for you.
Is there anything worse than betraying yourself?
People hate being betrayed, it hurts and it destroys. It can hurt even worse when you look back on your life and realize the worst betrayals were ones you committed upon yourself.
How do you know if you are betraying yourself?
First off, pay really close attention to how you feel – our feelings can be a barometer for our true authentic voice. However, conversely, we are often triggered by the past and our feelings may not always be truthful.
Ask yourself the deep questions. Why do I feel this way? Is there any reason why I really want this to work out? Why am I afraid of doing this or quitting that? Anxiety and past programming can give voice to feelings based on fear rather than truth.
Ask yourself: What am I afraid of?
Pay attention to what you are thinking. Do you believe your thoughts? Our thoughts are not always true, it is good practice to question our thoughts often and to step back and notice our thinking. Be the observer and ask ” Is this true?” “Why do I think this way?” “Is there a chance I could be looking at this situation from the wrong angle?”
Wise people question their thoughts and look deep into the source of their feelings.
Our thoughts are not always logical. They can be based on fear. What if they don’t accept me? What if he leaves me? Maybe I am not good enough? This will show them that I am a grown up, etc.
Our thoughts and feelings can be a barometer and guide, but they must be put in their proper place and examined.
If we are numbing our thoughts and feelings with drugs or alcohol, addictions of any kind, even workaholism and watching TV for long hours, it can be hard or impossible to take the time and effort needed to really get to know ourselves.
Often our deepest regrets can come from times when we stopped asking questions about our thoughts and feelings.
How can we become aware of what is right for us?
You can try activities such as:
- Nature walks
- Talking with close, mature & emotionally healthy friends
- Reading books that help us live from a more authentic place
These can help us evaluate our life path and make adjustments to it from time to time. And it’s okay to change your mind! You can change your focus and change your life path. In fact, we will most likely need to do so occasionally.
You will know if you are on the right path if:
- You are focused.
- You are unafraid. There isn’t that constant self-questioning and anxiety. Doubts are minimal.
- You are working towards those life goals that excite you and make your heart race!
- You don’t procrastinate – Procrastination can be a signal that you really are uncommitted or uninspired about what you need to do.
- You know your values and are in alignment with them. You know who you are!
- You feel fulfilled – as if you are meant to be doing this!
- You don’t need drugs or alcohol to feel relaxed and content.
- You aren’t doing ANYTHING that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- You aren’t doing anything that you would need to apologize to anyone for or need to conceal from anyone.
- You are not afraid of what people think of you.
Be true to yourself! Look at the path you are on and ask yourself regularly if you are on the right one! Make sure you are doing what is best for you, not for your best friend, not for your family, but for you and your passion and goals.
To thine own self be true – William Shakespeare
To paraphrase Stephen Covey:
Climb your ladder of success (that means success in anything – work, relationships and life) but FIRST you must make sure your ladder is up against the right wall!
It really sucks if you spend all that time and effort climbing that ladder and when you get to the top you realize that it was perched up against the totally wrong wall! You have got to get that sorted out first!
Remember to evaluate this question of your life path often. This can change as life will throw different things at you and the seasons of your life will change. It will be necessary to make adjustments as you go.
Here’s to following your path! Fulfillment and contentment will be yours if you continually make sure that the path you chose is aligned with your values and goals.
Make sure you have the right wall and that path is leading where you truly want to go.