Live a Life by Design: A Promise to Yourself
This week I was so excited to write about life without smell, (Anosmia), and how it affects people who are born without the ability to smell; but as Wednesday approached, I had something else that I needed to speak to, (Anosmia next week)! This week is to the point and very real:
"Don't move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move."
I used this quote as one of my intentions in my yoga class - I encouraged students to let the fear of failure go, the fear of not being strong enough go, and the fear of wobbling out of balance go. I urged them to move with love and tenderness in every movement and to feel the energy that their being possesses. As I watched students move mindfully and beautifully, I started to think: why don't I move with love everyday, in all aspects of my life, and how do I apply this to my daily life? Shortly after class this thought left my mind until I had a conversation about my decision to not attend graduate school with my uncle.
DESIGN VS. DEFAULT
During my conversation about life decisions, my uncle's response was to live a life by design rather than a life by default. This took me awhile to fully understand, and took me even longer to connect it to my yoga intention. As I made the link, I finally understood that I had to design a life that allowed me to move peacefully towards happiness and towards my goals. For years, I was stuck living a life by default. I would wake up, eat, go to school, go to work, come home, sometimes workout, go to sleep, and wake up to do the whole thing over again. On the weekends I would drink and feel awful as I tried to recover the following day - this was my default, my routine. This pattern of life led me to consistently make excuses for myself. I was often sick because of my unhealthy living and eating habits, I would whine about my obligations, and when I ignored my responsibilities, I would not take the blame for the chaos in my life.
Living by default actually allowed me to feel sorry for myself and make excuses for my set backs. As I have written in many previous posts, I changed my life. After brain injuries and physical injuries, something had to change. I changed my life with nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness to become happy and healthy. But what I did not realize throughout all of this was that I designed the life that I wanted to live. I strayed from the norms of society; but one failure at a time, I put myself on my path and am happier than I ever would have been if I had listened to what everyone else thought I was supposed to do and what I was supposed to become.
DESIGN YOUR LIFE
Three things were significantly weighing me down for years and were causing me to live a passively defaulted life. I feel these affect so many others as well, so I want to break each down on how to reflect inwards to resolve these issues and to design the live you want.
Quit Lying to Yourself & Change Your Outlook
You will fail, accept that. Holy crap, I swear I fail on some level every single day of my life and it is amazing. I've began to look at failure as lessons along my journey that have lead me down some extraordinary paths. My failures and my set backs have all allowed me to reflect on my life and design my path to be exactly what I want it to be. It was not easy - it required many life changing decisions, (ex.: not attending graduate school, turning down opportunities, etc). But quit lying to yourself, failure is not a negative thing. It has been the moments of uncertainty, confusion, and eagerness that have allowed me to follow my dreams and not live by default while hoping that someday things miraculously fall into place. At some point, every "bad" thing that happened stop hurting me so much. When I would be rejected for a job, or when I did not workout, or when I failed a class, I learned to take life and missed opportunities as they come - because something better always came along in their place and I learned much more through my failures.
Stop Caring What "Everyone" Thinks
I always thought that I was the type of person that did not care what people thought. Somewhere along my good and bad decisions in life, I began to realize what that statement really meant. To not care what people thought meant to not care what I thought about myself and to live life without consequence of my actions. It is important to find balance - you do not have to believe all of the lies that society tells you about what you should be, but you should take pride in whatever it is that you choose to do. To me, not caring what others think really means to take pride in yourself and what your passions are and to know that that is enough - to know that you are enough. I realized not every thought about me was negative, and that I had the power to change what others thought. I contemplated starting this blog for so long. I never told anyone and never admitted it to myself because of how other people might react. But this is my passion - science and everything that makes us human. This is my piece of strength that keeps me going until I get to not only write about helping people, but actually change people's lives as a doctor.
This may be the most important aspect of my life that I negated for years. A lack of confidence and self-love filled with my life with jealousy and negativity that was often reflected onto other people. I can admit that I have worked on this for years, but I have finally found my self-love and appreciation for everyone. Any time that I start to judge another person, I find the beautiful parts about them, because every single person has a story. I've learned that you can learn something from every single person that you come across and every story has purpose.
Stop fearing what others think of you and realize all of the beauty and power that lies within you. Here's the thing: many times in my life I have not had the confidence to walk away from situations or opportunities until the last chance that I had because I did not think I was good enough for anything else in my life. I'm going to be the corny person to tell you that you are enough, because this truth alone has changed my life and the way that I appreciate myself and others.
CHALLENGE: STAY TRUE TO YOU
Obviously this week my challenge to you is to design your own life. I understand that this is often difficult with life and responsibilities. Life gets in the way and we do not always have time to reflect and work on ourselves. All I want you to do is to promise yourself everyday that you will work towards building a life by design. Move with love through life and reflect that outwards towards others. Make the best of situations that seem to have no good outcome, become grounded enough to point out your excuses, and have strength to speak love to yourself in times of growth. Make the promise to yourself everyday to be a better you no matter what that entails. Make the promise... to live by design and to live with love.