While out on a walk with my kids I started to think about my life and how I was living. I thought about all the things that I am doing now and how much my life has changed, even in the past year and I also began to think about what I still want to do in life. Who do I want to be and how do I want to be remembered? I only have this one life to live and to love others. This one chance to pour it out and make a difference. I thought about all the things I truly desired to do and all the reasons that I wasn’t doing them.
I think that most often the reasons why we don’t live our lives the way we really want to is because we are afraid of what others might think of us. I realized this is (and always has been) the number one thing in my life, that has kept me from doing what I want to do and really living my life to my fullest potential. I have always had a fear of not fitting in or being judged by others as different, but I then had to ask myself, what is so wrong about being different? Are we really happy when we are living a mediocre life, suppressing our uniqueness and withholding our gifts from the world? Is there any potential for growth and change in our lives if we never break away from the need to be approved of by others?
Since a very young age, I had always wanted to become a vegetarian and grew up with a love for animals. Deep down that was always something that I knew I needed to do. But how? It completely went against everything that I was brought up to believe and goes against everything that this society thinks of as the norm. Besides all of those reasons I had no idea what I would eat. Still, I knew that I had to do it. I began researching vegetarianism and instead decided that being vegan was the life for me. Personally, that is what I believed I needed to do and I knew inside that I had something to bring to the world by being a vegan.
Another thing I wanted to do was start a blog, but oh man, if you knew how shy a person I was! At the time it seemed impossible. The thought of people reading what I write and forming opinions about me and judging me scared me away from it for so long. I saw that side of it clearly, but also at a deeper level, I wanted to believe that some people would read it and actually relate to me. Maybe some people might actually even be inspired by it, just as I was inspired by many people, books and blogs. I caught their inspirational bug and even though I was afraid, I started my first blog in February of 2010. At that time in my life I had been so excited about my faith and pursuing spiritual things that I needed an outlet to share it with others who also had this passion. I was finally allowing all of myself to come out and be exposed and it was terrifying!
Well, just as I feared I received several negative, cutting comments. One in particular that got me really upset for way too long a time, until I realized that persons comment was there to teach me a something about myself. I had to ask myself why I was getting angry and defensive about it. It was that particular comment that was a test for me to really affirm to myself who I was and what I believed. I heard that voice inside me asking “If I truly believe what I am doing for my life is right for me and my family and I am writing from my heart and not my ego then, why DO I LET MYSELF get upset?” I also had to ask myself if I truly believed that everyone is supposed to agree with me and love me all of the time and realized how unrealistic and non-beneficial that actually was. If life was always ‘good’ and everybody liked us all the time, what would we actually have to work against to become truly better people? If we never had those people in our lives who get us angry or upset and reveal those parts of ourselves to ourselves, how would be grow into stronger and more confident people?
While I did quit that blog I did not quit blogging. I started this blog in September of this year and dedicated it to being my whole self. I wanted it to be a place where I could share not just one aspect of myself, but all of myself and my thoughts. I wanted to stop hiding who I was from the world because I realized that wasn’t doing me or anybody else any good. I never intended for it to be very popular and I still don’t. I consider it mostly an outlet for my thoughts and a scrapbook of memories that I will have to keep for my daughters to look back on. I still have that fear inside of me, but I am getting stronger and more confident every day on my journey to letting all of myself exist.
In letting my true self come out in my writings, I have also had several people message me and tell me that they love reading it and that I am helping them and inspiring them to become their true selves as well. That is what especially gives me joy and confirms to me that when we let our light shine in the world and are not afraid of being ourselves, we unconsciously allow others to do the same. When we take our actions from love instead of fear, we grow and allow for change in our lives and in the lives of others.
I think so many times we get caught up in our thoughts, with worrying about the future, dwelling on the past or just a general going through the motions that we forget to appreciate where we are and what we have now. I look at my kids and realize that they are only going to be this particular way for today and tomorrow they will change. Every day my 2-year-old daughter learns some more words and is recognizing herself as a separate and unique being. Every day each one of us is changing, learning and growing and we will continue to do so until we die. And that is the reality, we will all die someday. Life is constantly changing and presenting you opportunities to be who you were created to be and many of us shoot down opportunities all over the place because of fear.
Circumstances are always changing, life and death are experienced daily, children grow up, people will judge and criticize, but people will also love and encourage. We influence each other and we are influenced by others. Life is happening now, you are on now and time is not going to wait for you. You have this one opportunity to live your life to your fullest potential, be who you want to be and live your life the way you really want to. You have this day to choose to break out of your comfortable mediocre existence and reach out and take hold of the life that you truly desire.
When you pass away (which you will), how do you want to be remembered? What do you hope that your life will have meant to others and to the uplifting of the world? If you aren’t living your life in a way that serves your highest potential, what is it that is keeping you back? If it is the fear of what others might think about you, I am sorry to say that is a poor excuse. Is that going to rob you from your potential and expressing yourself as the uniquely created being that you are?
I came up with a list of things that I thought about for myself and my life that I hope to be remembered for:
- Someone who extended love others
- Cared deeply about the environment, people and animals
- Was an extremely loving mother and wife
- Inspired others to live a life they love
- Appreciated the simple things in life
- Was honest and real, not interested in pretending to be somebody else
- Valued time with family and friends
- Enjoyed nature, walking and being outside
- Enjoyed exercise and valued health and happiness
- Respected others opinions
- Set goals and was determined to keep growing, changing and learning
- Knew who she was and what she loved, not afraid of being herself
- Had a passion for writing and sharing with others. Wrote many inspiring things and helped many people
- Was a good cook (thought I’d throw that one in there) 😉
- Not externally or materialistically minded
- Her faith was important to her
- Was interested in spiritual things
- Always saw the best in everyone
- Happy and excited for what life would hold
- Never gave up, no matter what!
We don’t often think about the bigger picture and what our lives really mean, but each one of us is unique and has a role that no one else can play in this production we call life. Making a list such as the one above can help you to identify what it is that you truly want for your life and take action toward becoming the person that you want to be.
The one thing to always remember is that you are on NOW. I need you to do your part, so that I can do mine. Your playing small in life does not serve the world. You were born for greatness and your life is meant to be remembered by every life that you touched. Remember who you are, you are unique and you are different. You aren’t meant to be like anybody else, but you. Only you know what you really love and can follow the voice of your spirit.
“Resolve to be thyself: and know, that he who finds himself, loses his misery.” -Matthew Arnold