If you’ve ever loaded up your Facebook or Instagram feed and immediately gotten jealous of some random acquaintance from high school after seeing pictures of their vacation to Cancun, you’re not alone. We’re inundated on a daily basis with stories about how absolutely incredible other people’s lives are, while we’re left sitting in our tiny cubicle wondering when our time will come.
Let’s not even get into the fact that those other people live just as boring a life as yours; they just highlight the three days of vacation they get a year to make their lives seem a bit more interesting.
Anyway, the point is, you shouldn’t be comparing your life to others. The only way you’ll get where you want to be is if you live life on your own terms.
And you can start by:
Staying out of other people’s business.
It’s human nature for us to want to be accepted and loved by everyone around us. It’s no surprise we’re constantly thinking the grass is greener on the other side. But the truth is, your grass is just as green as it needs to be.
Okay, enough with the metaphors. If you want to be free to live your life your way, you have to allow others to live their lives their way. There’s no reason to get involved in anyone’s life but your own.
Staying away from toxic people.
Then there are the people who make it a point to get into your business whenever they can. They’re the ones constantly pointing out faults in your ideas at work, or the so-called friends who try to bring you down because they hate seeing others succeed. Whether consciously or not, these people are incredibly controlling, and will do their best to make sure you live your own life on their terms. Ditch them as soon as possible.
Using your gifts to your advantage.
Everyone in this world has a talent for something. Unfortunately, we often get so caught up in our day-to-day lives that our talents end up going to waste. Whether you’re a musician who has taken a day job as a mechanic to make ends meet, or college graduate who took a job as a barista until “something better comes along,” don’t let your skills go completely to waste. The last thing you want to do is give up on your true calling.
Not working for external rewards.
Money, money, money. It’s what keeps us all going, isn’t it? But does it really make you happy? If you want to live life on your own terms, you have to stop thinking of your worth in terms of how much you make. This goes for the poorest of the poor, and the richest of the rich. Some of the least monetarily successful people you know are the most enlightened; they’ve travelled the world and have thousands of stories to tell. On the other hand, some of the more well off individuals you’ve probably met live only to work and make more money, as if a six-digit number in their bank account will make them feel better on their deathbed.
If you want a fulfilling life, look inward. Being intrinsically motivated allows you to seek out what it is you truly want to get out of life, and make the absolute most of it each and every day.
Letting your work speak for you.
Going along with being intrinsically motivated, you should never boast about your accomplishments and achievements. If you’re goal is to live on your own terms, what good is telling others how great you are? In fact, it’s usually the individuals who hide behind titles, degrees, and other accomplishments that are the most insecure about who they are and what they’re capable of. You may be proud of all that you’ve done in life, but never let your accomplishments make you feel as if you’re superior to anyone else in any way.
Not holding yourself back.
So many of us have a tendency to hesitate when faced with a difficult task or decision. While it’s definitely important to analyse situations carefully before taking any drastic measures, you don’t want to be so fearful that you don’t make a move at all. Remove any doubts you might have about your abilities. Be confident in your capacity to weather any storm that comes your way. You’ve made it this far, haven’t you?
Create Your Boundaries.
One of the biggest obstacles to living on your own terms is the effect that parents, teachers, and the culture at large have had on you. You must look carefully and honestly at which parts of yourself are authentic, and which parts you acquired as a reaction to the outside forces around you. Once you have sifted it out, it’s time to draw some boundaries. Here are guidelines for those boundaries:
- What will you let into your home, your inner sanctum?
- Whose opinions will you internalize? And whose will you ignore?
- Which rules do you follow? Which do you transcend?
- How do you handle pressure to do things in a way that is not true to your inner-self? Do you have a strategy?
How do you intend to live life for yourself?