Part One of a three-part series
I’ve often read that the number one regret people have toward the end of their lives is that they didn’t have the courage to live a life true to themselves and, instead, spent most of their lives doing what others expected of them.
It’s all too common, I find, that we fall into a pattern of living our lives in compliance to the wishes and needs of others: our parents, a partner, children, bosses, or community and culture. We get good at complying to demands, requirements, or ‘shoulds’-so much so that we don’t even realize it. So much so, that we end up feeling as though we don’t know what we want for ourselves.
How do you combat this?
First, it’s important to realize you’re not a victim of your circumstances. You’ve made choices, no matter what they’re based upon. And that’s perfectly okay.
Next, permit yourself to dream. Buy your license, so to speak. I guarantee you’ve earned it.
Imagine the life you want and imagine it vividly.
I believe each of us does know what we want. Our ‘self’ never disappears completely, it can just become silenced by the boisterous expectations of the world. It’s a matter of giving ourselves permission to listen to our instincts, connecting to our ‘heart of hearts,’ saying it out loud or putting on paper, and letting ourselves dream.
Here’s one technique I sometimes use with clients to help them identify or better define the life circumstance that will bring them their greatest joy and satisfaction.
Put aside an hour to be by yourself. Set up an environment that is calm and peaceful. Pour a cup of coffee, tea, or your favorite glass of wine. Put on some soothing instrumental music, find a comfy place to sit, and grab a pen and paper.
First, take at least one minute to simply relax and breathe. As you breathe, summon the courage to allow yourself permission to let go of all expectations of you; even let go of any encumbering expectations you have for yourself. It’s okay. This is simply a journey of discovery to be aware.
Imagine that it’s a few years from now. It’s Tuesday. You wake up and are automatically happy and looking forward to your day.
Now, take your pen and describe your day in detail. Write for about 20-minutes without stopping.
Be a bit realistic (you don’t get to wake up beside your favorite movie star!).
Here are some prompts for you.
- Where are you when you wake up? Describe the room. Are you in a different place from where you live now? Where? Is there anyone beside you? If yes, whom?
- Remember, it’s Tuesday so if you aren’t retired, prepare for your job. What do you wear? Where do you drive to? Describe the environment, the staff, your office, and what do you do for a living? If you’re retired, what do you dress in for the day? What do you do first and for the rest of the day?
This exercise can reveal many things. For example, describing your room helps you realize if you’re in the environment you’d be most happy in (this informs some goal setting). Describing what you wear to work can reveal the type of career you’d be most happy in (jeans vs. a suit perhaps). You get the idea.
I’d be so interested to hear what you wrote. The gift of being a Change Agent is that I don’t need to focus on what anyone or anything tries to define you as or expects you to be. I get to work with your dreams as defined by you. I welcome you to give me a call for a FREE first discussion and to share with me what you just wrote. We can have a fascinating conversation! Book a time in my calendar at www.daniellesilvermanconsult.com.
It’s never too late to empower yourself by identifying and moving toward your dreams!
P.S. Watch for Part two of this series on empowering yourself by defining your dreams: “Aligning your dreams with your reality.”