It was not until two years after college that I started to realize that I had been following the norms of society without question. As a young woman, I was worried getting a stable job, finding a husband, and having kids. Nowhere in my vision was there a worry about my own career and development. Sure, I was focused on doing well at my job and enjoying life, but I was not in a mindset that allowed me to develop myself as an individual. I cannot pin point a specific realization that led me to start prioritizing self-awareness, but here is why knowing yourself is the key to living your best life.
As young children, we develop mindsets based on how we are raised and who we are surrounded by, which is mostly family. When we start school, who we choose to surround ourselves with influences our thoughts and decisions. If we go to college, we are influenced by the norms of that culture, our studies, and our friends. Eventually, we end up in some type of work environment and those people who we see every day influence our thoughts about ourselves and our lives. All of this time has passed and the society around us has been the main influencer of our thought processes and decisions.
We get thrown into the “real world” and have all of these expectations and goals for ourselves that we may not even want. At least, that is what happened to me. I guess it may just be a part of growing “older and wiser”, but I truly think we all need to wake up to the decisions we are making on a daily basis and why.
Before I started to discover my inner self, I was influenced by the people around me. When I graduated college, I saw tons of people my age getting engaged and married. I thought I was doing something wrong and became so focused on finding that person that my personal and career development fell aside. I was trying to become someone else instead of just being and focusing on myself. I even thought becoming a better woman meant having a specific body type and therefore, my relationship with food and my body went down the drain.
When I graduated college and for a while afterwards, I was convinced that I had to follow a specific set of rules in order to be considered “good”. I thought I was supposed to have a specific routine in order to prove that I believed in higher power. I allowed myself to live this way until something didn’t feel right. And even when I chose to explore my spirituality through different practices, I felt guilty.
Little things like how I spent my weeknights and weekends were often spent either doing what “everyone else” was doing. Even if I chose to spend my time differently, I felt like I was missing out.
The whole time I was making these decisions, I was being influenced by something outside of me rather than my inner self. It is easy to stay influenced by the outside world but I do not believe you can live your best life until you awaken to who you are.
Most of us are living lives that are full of to-do lists. We are running around to all the places and doing all the things that we have no time to be still. Or we choose to fill our lives with endless amounts of screen time and activities that do not allow us to awaken to our inner selves. When we live our lives this way, we are letting the outside world win. We are doing life the way the majority is choosing to do life and we do not even notice that we are conforming (by the way, there is a difference between conforming because it is easier and choosing to live a certain way because it makes YOU happy).
I started to awaken to my inner self when I started to journal my thoughts. Eventually, I gave meditating a try and that led me to discover my inner truth even more. I continue to search inward when I make decisions and shut out the outside world as best as I can. I surround myself with people who encourage me and light me up. I choose to do things that bring me joy and are aligned with my goals and values instead of worrying about what everyone else is doing.
If you were to look at the decisions you made this past week, what or who would you say influenced those decisions? The outside world or your inner self?
If you are letting the outside world influence your decisions, you are probably feeling overwhelmed, out of sync, anxious, and unhappy. If you chose to pause and connect to your inner self, you are probably feeling at peace despite the chaos, aligned with the universe, excited about what is to come, and happy with the present.
Discovering who you truly are is no joke. I’m glad I put in the hard work and started making decisions that were true to me instead of worrying about the opinions of others. If I did not do that, I would not be where I am today, doing what truly makes me happy and being at peace with the chaos. Do the hard work so your life is not a reflection of what society wants for you, it’s what YOU want for you.