Here’s a great quote that I use to bring me back to reality ~~ “Stop giving your life away to other people.” Sometimes I get caught up in living unconsciously just doing what is expected of me as a wife, mother, counselor, business woman, and motivator. I forget that it is very important for me to live authentically – putting me and my needs at the top of the list so I am not living my life to just please others.
I’ll admit that this isn’t easy, especially if you are a parent. Parents need to put their children at the top of their lists but we don’t need to let them control our lives. I know this is difficult. I’m the mother of three very active children that require a lot of support, transportation, money, time, energy, and guidance. I have to be an active part of each of their journeys which could, if I allowed it to happen, completely consume my life.
I sometimes get off of my path and lose my way so I pull out Steve Maraboli’s quote and remind myself that it is my life and I don’t have to give it away to others. I deserve to live my own life.
So how do you live your own life without giving it away to others? Here are 3 questions you need to answer for yourself to get YOU back on your own path – or for the first time on your own path.
1- What makes you happy? This question is huge and hopefully the answers are endless. There is a lot of research over the decades on ‘happiness.’ The results of these studies provide us evidence that happy people have more satisfying relationships and marriages, have higher success (larger incomes & job satisfaction), better health, and live longer. The problem is many people don’t even know what makes them happy. Yes, they know of a few things that make them happy but have never really delved into the question about what happiness means to them and investigating what makes them happy. So start answering these questions for yourself. Don’t answer that winning the lottery would make you happy – yes, that probably would because you would be free to do more things that make you happy but what are THOSE things? I also want you to exclude material items in your list of things that make you happy. Material items do not make us happy. We become happy because the material items gives us a specific feeling – what feeling are you trying to obtain? What makes you light up? What do you enjoy doing? What do you enjoy experiencing? Make a list and make sure it is long!!! Get to know yourself!
2- Are you saying yes when you want to say no? Are you doing things with the wrong intentions? Often we do things with the wrong intentions. We agree to helping with a committee for the wrong reasons – because we want to appear as helpful, we feel guilty because no one is stepping up, we are forced to do something… the list goes on and on. We are giving away our time and energy to others but feel resentful in the end. Sometimes this may need to occur because it is a part of your job (professionally or parenting) but don’t let it get out of control. The negative emotions of anger, resentment, bitterness may build up if you keep giving away your time, effort, and energy to a group, committee, or even to another person. If you are not feeling some pleasure and happiness from the exchange than you need to rethink why you continue to engage. This doesn’t mean you give up supporting others it just means you need to put up some boundaries. Don’t allow yourself to be used! You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. If you think that others will respect and appreciate you because you are always giving than you are very wrong. People will continue to take advantage of you and your own happiness may actually go down.
3 – How much do you put your needs and desires first each day? I know some people who give so much of themselves that they hardly ever take care of their own needs. So each day you need to do at least 3 things for yourself! Put you first! You can eat something you want to eat, watch what you want to watch, go somewhere you want to go…. again the list should be endless. Do something that makes you happy. This doesn’t mean it has to be selfish. Maybe you can pay it forward anonymously in some way or do something special for a loved one. The key is to make decisions for yourself at least 3 times a day.
Finally, remember that you deserve to live a happy life. Yes, you really do!