So, today I’m going to try to talk about a deep topic without getting too deep. I want to talk to you about simplifying your life as it relates to YOUR LIFE. I’ve blogged lately about decluttering your mind and your time, but I want to take that a step further and talk about how both of those things lead to creating a life that is not your own and how we eventually become people we don’t know or want to be.
A cluttered mind is full of thoughts that sometimes bring us down that negative spiral, helping to co-create a life we really DO NOT WANT. Cluttering our time is a subtle way that we numb ourselves to so that we don’t have to focus on what we’re not doing. It’s a great way to shift blame over to something or someone other than ourselves.
“I can’t, I’m just so busy with x,y,z…” or “I would, but she wants me to x,y,z and there’s just no time left to…”.
This is how we convince ourselves we don’t have to do hard things. Or, how we convince ourselves we don’t have to push through inertia or obstacles to realize goals.
This is not to say that I think the only way to achieve something is to hustle ourselves to death. (In fact, I hate that idea and I wholeheartedly embrace the idea of rest as the key ingredient to success.) This is to say that we fill our minds and our time with so much garbage that we don’t even realize what a life drain it is. We can break those thoughts down into a few areas I would suspect you’re potentially caught in. Here are four reasons you are not living a life of your own:
1. Drama, anyone?
OMG, yes. So much drama. And I hate that over-used, cliché word so much I can hardly believe I’m using it right now, but people, you know what I’m talking about. We have all grown up around someone like this, or have a neighbor or co-worker like this now. Or…maybe it’s you. And I mean that with so much love.
People who thrive on drama will run toward it like a Kardashian toward shameless self-promotion. If their lives aren’t caught up in a frenzy of “OMG, you just don’t even know. It’s just, like, so complicated” even for a short time, then they’ll actually create drama so that they can stay in a “complicated” state of being constantly. There’s nothing “complicated” about anything. It’s how they view the world. It’s how they interpret what someone said to them, or worse, what someone said to someone else in a situation that was completely unrelated to them but they chose to unnecessarily insert themselves into said situation.
And it’s rooted in fear. Let’s talk about fear…
Look how easy it is to avoid the things you’re afraid of if your mind and your time are full. You don’t have to make that really hard phone call to someone you have owed an apology to for 15 years. You don’t even have to think about that person.
What about that huge life goal that’s been gathering dust in the recesses of your mind and attic and basement? Something like getting back in shape, maybe training for a marathon? Or what about starting your own side business doing something you’re really talented at that you could teach others how to do?
It’s easier not to do those things when you’re afraid to do them (because you don’t know how to get started, you’re afraid to fail, you don’t know who to ask for help, you’re afraid you don’t have the time or money) if you can use the excuse that you would, “but…” – again with the shifting blame elsewhere or convincing yourself it just won’t work.
3. Lack of Clarity
This is understandable, but also easily fixable. A cluttered mind makes is impossible to get clear about what you want to do, or who you want to be. When your life is a scramble of running from one thing to the next – things not of your choosing – you don’t have time to ponder what it is you really want to do. The problem with that is that eventually you’ll run out of all the time you gave away to living the way other people expected you to.
Being unclear about our true goals and desires and values and vision for our lives and our families is more common than not. However, it doesn’t take much to gain that clarity. I’ll bet that most of us had very clear goals for our futures when we were young. We’ve gotten off track over the years, but it’s still there. Alternatively, it’s shifted. You’ve gained some new skill sets or knowledge that may help you realize a new goal for your life. Regardless, if you would allow yourself to be honest, you probably already know what that looks like.
This is the single most terrifying thing I can imagine.
I’ve spoken to so many people over the years who had lofty ambitions, but their “responsible choices”, or mother’s choices, or consequences of other decisions, or temporary failures and setbacks have left them in a place where they’re just settling for “whatever”. Literally “whatever”. Like, “I’m at the point in my life where I just don’t want to starve to death, and maybe it’d be nice to catch a movie once in a while.”
What even is that?
That is a person who is so “done” that they have settled into, “anything is good enough, I guess.” They mask the pain of life not going their way by throwing in the towel, deciding they are unworthy, and have moved on by cluttering up their schedules with things they couldn’t care less about doing, and their minds with repetitive thoughts confirming for them that they suck and this is as good as they could ever hope for.
An Exercise for You
I love exercises! Nothing makes me happier than having actual tools to put into practice. So this may sound a little corny or uncomfortable, which is why I don’t want you to tell anyone about it. Just keep it to yourself.
I want you to write down what you wish your life looked like. Even if right now they feel like the furthest thing from the truth of what you could hope for. Just write down what it is you truly want for your life and for your future.
- I want to reconcile my relationship with my mother.
- I want to lose 40 pounds.
- I want to start my own dog training business.
- I need to separate myself from someone because the relationship is toxic.
- I want to quit my job because my boss is a lunatic, narcissist, sociopath who makes my life hell.
Your brain might be firing into overdrive right now trying to convince you how and why all of these things are absolutely impossible. That’s rubbish (I wish I were British because I could be a lot more convincing with that word. Just read it with a British accent.).
For now, just keep your secret list to yourself, and in my next post, we’re going to talk about how to cut through mental clutter and clear your schedule so that you can realistically set and implement goals and start living a life you’ve created for yourself on your own terms.
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