Break the mold, create the life you really want

Kesmic By Kesmic, 5th Dec 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Personal Development>Improving Potential

Find out how to transform the life you have into the life you want without losing yourself.

"All the wonders you seek are within yourself." –Sir Thomas Browne

Something on the inside has to change. What's your motivation?

My inner voice whispered those words to me one morning as I meditated. For a few days leading up to this, I had been thinking about why it took me so long to begin creating the life I wanted. I knew that I needed to "start from within", we hear that all the time. But now I had the missing piece of the puzzle.

What's your motivation?

I spent my entire childhood and early adulthood trying to gain everyone's approval. I was never part of the "in crowd" and I didn't really fit in with the "out crowd" either. I constantly told myself, "One day I'll show them. Wait until they see the great success that I become. They'll wish they can be my friends then, but it'll be too late." "One day my family is going to accept me. One day they will regret how they treated me but it'll be too late." The problem was that:

I never accepted myself.

I never felt good enough…honestly, I never felt like I was enough for anything or anyone. So I embraced being the black sheep. I took on that identity and I wore it with pride; it became part of who I was. I figured no one could hurt me with rejection or criticism if I chose to be the odd woman out. Though unintentionally:

I was creating everything I didn't want.

But all the while I worked to prove myself worthy. I got in relationships that had a snowball's chance in hell of working. I accepted way less than I deserved and I gave away more than I could afford to lose. I never asked for what I wanted and I compromised on what I needed. I was proud of these things because I thought it showed how selfless and loving I could be. What I didn't understand is:

You teach people how to treat you.

Every time I remained in relationships with people who lied, cheated, or mistreated me, I taught them that it was okay to treat me that way. I didn't want to be alone so I stayed in relationships with people who were not worthy of me. Eventually the relationship would fall apart and I'd end up alone anyway.

When I rushed to people's aid and gave them all of my time and energy, even when I didn't have it to give, I taught them that there was no limit to what they could ask or expect of me. I wanted to feel needed so I allowed them to drain me. As a result I never had anything left for myself and ultimately could do nothing for anyone else.

When I failed to ask for what I wanted and needed, I taught people that it was okay to never treat me with any kind of respect or consideration. I was afraid of being disappointed or let down so I took whatever I could get. Therefore my wants and needs remained unmet.

I could never understand why my relationships always failed or why I seemed to have so few reliable friends. Those repeated disappointments reinforced my feelings of inadequacy. I was living the adage that:

What you resist persists.

So what did I do? I worked harder on myself, of course. I read the self-help books, I watched the shows, and went to the websites. I did whatever steps were necessary to make me better. I was determined to change myself from the inside out because I really, really, REALLY wanted to be happy. I wanted everyone to see how deserving I was of their approval. I desperately needed to feel validated. So I worked hard on "fixing" myself, but the changes seemed to never take root. I seemed to eventually return to my old behavior, in one way or another, every single time because:

My motivation for internal change was external.

I would dress a certain way or force myself to wear a certain amount of makeup because that's how I needed to look to be accepted. I would listen to certain music and go to certain venues because the people that I wanted to gain acceptance from would be there. I would go to the gym every day to try to escape the feelings of loneliness. As an added bonus, I would get in shape and people would be impressed with how great I looked.

I would avoid writing that blog or performing that poem because people might criticize me. Or even worse, they might realize that I'm not as strong or together as I let on. So instead of being true to myself, I did and tried to become what I thought would get me what I wanted. As a result, I found myself never feeling comfortable in my own skin and always feeling extremely unfulfilled. I didn't realize that:

The motivation behind my choices was determining my behavior and creating my reality.

I didn't begin creating lasting change in my life until the reasons for my desire to change…changed.

I gave up "bad boys" when my desire to like who I am, at all times, became greater than my fear of being alone. I stopped conforming to other people's expectations of me when feeling comfortable in my own skin became more important than gaining the approval of people who don't have my best interest at heart. I stopped losing myself in friendships and relationships when I learned to love and accept myself.

I took down all of my walls once I discovered that simply surviving pales in comparison to living my life fully and on my own terms. And as it turned out:

I already had everything I needed.

I wish I could tell you that I came to these realizations, made a whole slew of changes, and got everything I'd wanted my whole life. But that wouldn't be true. So what did happen as I learned these lessons?

Well, I started making a few changes here and there every day. And as I changed, I learned more about myself. And as I learned more about myself, what I wanted changed based solely on me. As a result, those external motivations began to fall away. Now I work to ensure that everything I do, including change, is internally motivated. The rest takes care of itself.

So instead of becoming who or what I thought I needed to be to get the life I wanted, I began creating a life that is in line with who I am.

Here are a few tips for beginning to create the life you really want:

1. Take inventory of your wants and needs, and know the difference between the two. Sometimes confusing our wants and needs is at the root of our unhappiness.

2. Identify your motivation. Be completely honest with yourself about why you want what you want.

3. Put your fears and insecurities into perspective. Our anticipation of an event is often much worse than the event itself.

4. Give yourself permission to feel whatever you feel. What you resist persists. Trying to ignore your feelings generally makes them worse. Instead let the feelings run their course. You don't have to do anything with them; just let them be.

5. Embrace who and where you are in this moment. Find the beauty, gift, or lesson in where and who you are right now. Think of all the times you wished you'd known then, what you know now. Experience and live all of right now.

6. Take responsibility. Identify, without judgement, the role that you played in ending up where you are right now. Then find ways to start working towards where you want to be.

7. Give yourself what you need. It's difficult to get what you want or be satisfied with what you have if your needs are unmet.

We create our lives moment by moment with every choice we make. What choices have you made to create the life you want? I would love to hear about it.


Changing Habits, Changing You, Fulfilment, Growth And Development, Happiness, Lasting Change

Meet the author

author avatar Kesmic
Kesmic A. Jackson, PhD is a freelance science writer, certified yoga instructor, and women’s health advocate. She has a passion for increasing endometriosis awareness and education.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
6th Dec 2013 (#)

Great post and practical advice, thanks for the share Kesmic. Change what we can for the better and accept those we cannot is my path. Take life as it comes day-by-day and I loved point 3 about anticipation of worst which spoils our living moments - we shall survive - siva

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author avatar Kesmic
6th Dec 2013 (#)

Thanks Siva, I'm glad you liked the post. You're right, acceptance and living in the moment is key. Those are two of the greatest lessons I've learned.

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author avatar Pamas
11th Dec 2013 (#)

It's funny. This exactly what I needed. Thank you.

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author avatar Kesmic
25th Dec 2013 (#)

You're welcome, thanks for reading.

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author avatar Rose*
24th Dec 2013 (#)

The toughest part of being an adult is learning to accept yourself. Life then improves rapidly and you wonder why you wasted so much time!

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author avatar Kesmic
25th Dec 2013 (#)

Yes, we do indeed. Thanks for commenting.

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author avatar Sharon
24th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks for the post. I need to take ownership of what I did or didn't do to put me in the place I am today. Also need to understand the past and leave it there.

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author avatar Kesmic
7th Nov 2014 (#)

I'm glad you found the post helpful. The most challenging part of the process is walking through it without judgement. Owning our part in where we are does not mean that there is anything wrong with us. It just means we're human and have been given an opportunity to learn and grow. It's up to us to treat as such.

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