Ever feel like you’re just there, existing?
Existing in your relationship. Existing in your job. Existing in life. Not truly living. You’re not unhappy per se, but you’re not exactly bubbling away with joy and passion. You’re just there. In that place.
Your heart is beating and you’re breathing in and out, but something is missing and you have no idea what it is. You are fulfilling your obligations. Your duties. You are doing all the things we’ve been told to do, yet there you are, in this place of existence, teetering on the edge of remaining there or jumping into the abyss of the unknown.
I’ve been there. It’s a weird place—a place of questions and no immediate answers. A place where you laugh on the outside, but you really don’t feel it on the inside. A place where you cry but cannot pinpoint the depth of your sorrow. A place of guilt for not feeling how you are “supposed” to feel. A place where you look outside yourself for all the things that you should be looking inside yourself for. A place where you hand out the key to your happiness to others. A place where you feel like you’re parched but somehow drowning. A place where your face looks at you from the mirror, but it seems like a stranger. A place where you feel everything but nothing at all. A place of so many contradictions.
I’m not there anymore; I jumped into the abyss. Not for the fainthearted and it’s as scary as hell, but the learnings and rewards are something else.
My A-Z for life:
A: Authenticity. You cannot live any aspect of your life to the fullest without authenticity. Being true to your core is how you live with true meaning. Honesty. Truth. Real and raw. No bullsh*t. The fakeness we seem to reward in society will destroy those who get caught up in it. The version you think the world wants to see is likely a version you’ve created in your mind to mask your insecurities.
B: Boundaries. There was a time when my boundaries were virtually nonexistent. So eager to please and avoid confrontation, I let people step right over any boundary I tried to have. No more. Boundaries are key to living a life where you honour yourself and what is important to you. Where you know your worth. And with that you honour those around you.
C: Compassion. Being able to show compassion is such a gift, and unfortunately, not everyone has this gift. It’s more than recognising another’s suffering; it’s taking action to help and support. Even on our hard days, we should still be able to feel and show compassion. Ever been in a really bad space and someone is compassionate toward you? How good does it feel. It makes the world a far more beautiful place.
D: Daring. To have that ability to not be concerned of others’ judgement. Dare to be different. Dare to challenge yourself. Dare to challenge the status quo. Dare to be exactly who you want to be.
E: Emotive. I know there are many who don’t show their emotions or are so blocked they are unable to show emotion. Our emotion is a display of what’s happening in our inner world. We need to be able to show and feel our emotions so we can move through them healthily. Emotions can be an indication that we may need support or professional help. They allow us to feel and hopefully heal and grow. They are an intimate part of who we are. It’s not a show of strength to hide your emotions. It’s a show of fear, conditioning, and lack of trust that you will be heard and validated. Those uncomfortable with emotion need to ask themselves “why.”
F: Fun. We need fun and excitement in our life. We need to laugh and feel the lighter side of life. Sometimes we need to make things fun. I know it’s difficult when we are struggling, but remember, that inner kid is still inside you and they know how to have fun.
G: Grateful. It’s one of the easiest and hardest things to be. When people find themselves in a dark space, gratitude is hard to find, but when you are grateful, your whole life is more aligned. It just feels good, and when you are truly grateful you stop chasing things because you know what you have right now, in this space, is enough.
H: Hopeful. Now this one can be problematic if we are hopeful of things that are not good for us; however, we do need hope, and without it life is despairing. Find the glimmers of hope that keep you moving forward but try not to attach hope to things that in the long run might be unhealthy for you.
I: Inner Happiness. It takes some of us a long time to understand this. We are so conditioned to search for happiness outside of ourselves, which is often short-lived and never fulfils us. Not to mention the risks of placing your happiness in the hands of someone else. The only true, long-lasting happiness is found within us. It’s where the magic is, and once we’ve found it, our external life is far less important.
J: Joy. That feeling we get when we want to burst with all the good emotions. It comes through our energy and can be felt by others. Such a pure feeling. Find what brings you joy.
K: Kindness. It’s contagious, and it really doesn’t take much to be kind. Some people struggle with kindness because of not working on themselves and feeling life has dealt them a bad hand, so they project all their pain out into the world, not realising all that bitterness and resentment is eating them alive. The reality is we all do have the opportunity to choose kindness. What we put out, we get back.
L: Love. This is not about romantic love; it’s about living life with love. Loving yourself. Loving life. Choosing to love rather than judge or fear. Radiate love. It doesn’t mean we don’t get angry, sad, annoyed, and so on; it simply means we choose to embody love in our life. And if we are struggling with loving ourselves or our life, it’s time to get help.
M: Mindfulness. This means different things to different people. To me, living a mindful life is living a present life. Right here, right now. Choosing mindful practises to bring you back when your mind ruminates in the past for too long or dives into the future and you lose all clarity. Find your stillness and be unafraid to feel what comes up in that stillness.
N: Nurturing. There’s a lot of mumbo jumbo out there right now about it being the woman’s job to be nurturing. It’s both the job of men and women to nurture. Nurture themselves. Nurture their inner child. Nurture their family. We should all be able to water our own garden and nurture ourselves. Any additional nurturing given to us is simply the icing on the cake.
O: Optimistic. This doesn’t mean we ignore the crappy stuff or our negative feelings and emotions. It absolutely doesn’t mean we pretend everything is good if it isn’t. This is about having a positive mindset (not toxic positivity) so we have the ability to see the light, even in the darkest of tunnels. Tough stuff will still happen; it’s how we deal with it that matters.
P: Passionate. This is about finding your passions in life then living them every day. My passion of writing is a never-ending love story. Even if I’m having a tough time, if I sit down at my laptop, the words start to flow and the passion inside me explodes. It’s something we do just for us; others can share in it but it’s our baby. Find your passion.
Q: Quirky. What makes you unique? We have this societal belief that we are all meant to be the same. That what makes one happy makes everyone happy. Why would we want to be the same? We are all different and therefore like different things. Don’t put yourself in a box. Find that inner spark that highlights your quirkiness.
R: Respectful. Respect others’ choices, even if you don’t like them; we don’t get to decide what others do. Respect yourself enough to have good boundaries and not allow others to cross them. Respect people’s differences and allow them to live their life; it’s not up to us to judge. Respect nature and all the beauty in the world.
S: Spirit. The essence of who you are. Your energy. What makes your soul smile. What’s at the core of your being. Your spirit encompasses the whole you. The physical. The emotional. The outer shell. The inner parts of you that only you can see—if you really look hard enough. People so often lose themselves, forget their desires, and focus on their outer parts when all the while it’s their spirit that’s crying to be heard.
T: Truth. Always strive for the truth of who you are and what those in our lives, not just tell us, but show us. Truth is not always in the words, but it is in the actions and the energy others omit. Look closely. Oftentimes we ignore the truth because we don’t want to deal with it, or feel the feelings the truth encompasses. Without truth we live a lie. We live half a life. We wear a mask and pretend. “The truth will set you free” is a most profound statement.
U: Unapologetic. I’m not suggesting we don’t say sorry; we should always apologise should we hurt or upset another. This is about being unapologetically yourself. Wear your weirdness with pride. Show up authentically, being true to who you are. Speak your truth. Don’t hide parts of yourself because you fear judgement (honestly, who cares?). This is about stepping outside of the box you shoved yourself in when you thought you weren’t enough.
V: Values. Hone in on your values; what is really important to you? Our values change with growth and time, and it’s always a good exercise to relook at your values. We can never live authentically, happy, and in alignment with ourselves if we are not living our values. You’re maybe living a life based off your old values, which is leading to a less-than-happy life. Drill down to your top five values and see if your life matches these values. You may be surprised.
W: Willingness. A desire to try. Try walking away from things that no longer serve you. Try doing better and being better. Try opening your mind to new ideas and other perceptions. Be willing to do the hard work it may take to heal, change, or rediscover who you are. Without willingness, you will remain rooted in the same spot, doing the same things, and wondering why life is not as good as you want it to be.
X: Xenacious. Okay, I admit I had to look up something starting with X. This means eager to learn and try new things. It’s being curious. No matter your age or stage in life, be keen to learn something new or try something new. Several years ago, this is something I felt uncomfortable with. I didn’t particularly like change, but it’s now something I thrive on and has made a huge difference in my life.
Y: Youthful. Yes, we all get older and mature, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with maintaining a youthful energy. We all still have that inner child in us, remember them? They are the ones with all that youthful exuberance. Our physicality may age, but the inner us is as youthful as we want to be—as we allow ourselves to be. I mix with people of all ages and have friends of all ages; it keeps me youthful.
Z: Zesty. And finally zesty. A culmination of many things listed. We won’t always feel our best, but we won’t always feel our worst, and adding some zest into our lives is a crucial element. Work toward an interesting life with the bonus of fun and excitement. Don’t settle; it’s your life, so live it with what lights your soul on fire.
Life is not perfect. Relationships are not perfect. We are not perfect. Don’t listen to the toxic positive ideals around perfection; it will cause you nothing but pain. Instead, listen to the voice inside you and be guided to where it’s telling you to go. Things in life can become bloody hard at times, and that’s okay because that’s our opportunity to be pushed to heal something that needs healing. To change something that needs changing. To learn a lesson that needs to be learnt—or to grow into a new version of ourselves. Or maybe all of these things. Whilst ever you chase this false notion of perfection you will forever be chasing, and it will lead you down a path of repeated disappointment.
But life can be incredible if you accept that there will be some darkness. It can be beautiful if you accept the truth of who you are and what you want. It can be inspiring if you’re willing to learn. It can be freeing if you are brave enough to step out of the box you put yourself in. It can be perfectly imperfect if you strap yourself into the roller coaster that is life.
Where I sit now is so vastly different from where I used to sit, but it’s where I’ve chosen to sit. What comes next is the story I choose to write; it will no doubt have some struggling chapters, but it will without any doubt at all have some exceptional chapters, and those are the chapters that make my life—the life my soul lives for.
“As with anything you set out to learn in life, you don’t get from point A to point Z, without touching all those letters in between.” ~ Jill Whalen