The most common question I get asked is probably, “what should I do with my life?” Which I totally get. We are all millennials out here trying to live our best life; and it can be particularly hard when you look to Instagram and see all your peers seemingly living their best lives (but seriously, if you're frustrated with Instagram, check out this post).
BUT here's the truth, I can't answer that for you. What I can tell you is…
In order to live your best life, you need to unlearn everything that's been told to you by parents, teachers, coaches, and society.
Yup, that's right. Forget it ALL.
I know that might sound a little extreme or crazy – *what's going to happen if you throw it all away? who will you be? what boundaries or limits will remain in place?* But the truth is, most of us feel so angsty in our 20s because our soul is craving something our mind can't answer Something that was beat out of us by societal norms.The truth is, most of us feel so angsty in our 20s because our soul is craving something our mind can't answer.Click To Tweet
WTF does that mean; “the soul is craving something your mind can't answer?:
It means that from the time we are born we were given a script for life: work hard, be a good student, do the best we can to get a good job, marry, have two kids, and that's the dream. Only we watched our parents or mentors do that and most of them seem less than content. I think it's normal for our generation, and the ones that will follow us, to CRAVE more. To desire more. To know deep inside that we all actually are *special* but we can't let that shine in a path that was laid out for us by someone else. Some of us aren't mean for the traditional 9-5 grind, some of us are. But even going outside of our careers, a lot of us have spent years trying to fit our lives into someone else's dream *queue depression, anxiety, and other health issues*.
I'm talking from personal experience here, as well as watching a lot of my friends and peers over the last decade. On paper, I was exactly what millennials were “supposed” to be. I attended montessori schools, gifted programs, and the IB program for high school. I always excelled in my classes with ease while juggling extra curricula's and even a steady stream of jobs since I was 14 years old.
Checking every single box we were “supposed” to check, I went to a top 50 university, earned a masters degree, and was hired in my dream industry earning 10k more than colleagues who had been working for 2 years all the while dating my future husband. I had the “American Dream” in the works by 24 years old – but went home every single day and cried my eyes out, curled up into a ball on the couch, and was literally sick with anxiety.
WTF was my problem, why couldn't I be happy?!?
I kept thinking there was something wrong with ME. While in it, I knew I had nothing to complain about. I was in a position most of my peers were craving to be in – so why was I so unhappy? Having done everything that my parents, teachers, coaches, and society had told me to do but was still dealing with depression over a decade later. Deep inside I knew something needed to change, but I felt like I couldn't actually take that step and quit everything I had been working towards. When the Universe intervened and I found myself fired twice in a month. Seriously, read all about how I got fired twice in a month here.
Getting fired was the biggest blessing of my twenties.
It forced me to evaluate what I wanted in life versus what everyone was telling me I should want. For the first time I was exploring my dislikes and dreams. Following passions, and letting go of every rule, suggestion, or judgment that had been placed on me. It felt liberating and exciting.
Now I'm not telling everyone to go out and quit there jobs here. We got bills to pay; and I had a stacked emergency fund with a back up plan to waitress if I needed to pay my bills during that time in my life. But there are a FEW things you can start doing RIGHT NOW to unlearn everything people have told you about yourself and how your life should unfold.
5 Ways To Unlearn Everything People Told You About Yourself & How Your Life Should Unfold
// Oh, and how to live your best life, obvi.
1) Stop “shoulding” all over yourself
Notice in the last few instances when I talked about other people's views it was all about what they said you “should” do – yeah that word is IMPORTANT in how you're talking to yourself on the daily. Meaning anytime it comes up, you need to recognize that you are feeding into someone else's storyline, not your own.
I should get my master's degree because what can you do with a B.S. in psychology? — That was a storyline handed to me from my family and society. In reality, I could've done a TON of things with my degree in psychology. I could become a writer, a public speaker, work with children, help with legislation reform and SO much more! I bought into what I “should” do even though it wasn't right for me.
Typically, when we use the word “should” it relates to something we think we are supposed to do – not something truly in alignment for us – so we need to let it go, turn inward, and get creative with other solutions!Typically, when we use the word 'should' it relates to something we think we are supposed to do - not something truly in alignment for us - so we need to let it go, turn inward, and get creative with other solutions!Click To Tweet
Meditation has been a part of my life for over ten years now. Only recently though have I really realized how much it's shaped me as a person. I wrote all about getting started with your own meditation practice here and even did a podcast episode on it here. It's such a beautiful way to turn inward, listen to yourself, and notice what areas you have more work to do. Plus it makes it easier to listen to the thoughts floating through your head all day.
3) Explore, explore, explore
In your meditation practice random thoughts may come up like “build a fort” or become more present in your daily life where you keep seeing signs for a bounce house. Take note of all these random urges and follow through with them! Stop going out to bars and clubs and self-medicating. Start having real fun.
I remember back when I drank in high school, there was a common theme with people in my life (from my aunt to my friends) where everyone would refer to the nights we drank as “fake fun,” it wasn't until I got sober that I truly understood what that meant. You should be able to follow an urge, leave any mind or mood altering substance behind, and feel a fire light up inside of you! Follow every urge to be silly, to explore your creativity, to express yourself. Don't worry if you change your mind or course correct, just find things that fuel your fire.
4) Release Judgment.
In Shaman Bootcamp with my beloved Shaman Durek, he taught us that judgment is like a wall, and on the other side of that wall is the information we need to move forward. When we stay in judgment, it's like a veil over our consciousness. We can only see a small piece of the puzzle, but there is a deep craving inside that wants more (again, queue anxiety).
Take notice when you're judging yourself or others… that's a sign there is something on the other side of that judgment for you to embrace. If you get the urge to dance in the middle of a drum circle, release judgment and do it. If you want to start a blog, release judgment and do it. When you embrace the judgment and let it go, it'll be like finding a magical key that unlocks so many new doors. Even if it doesn't give you the “answer” you're looking for, it deepens the path of self discovery.
5) Fail forward.
Sometimes, the only way to learn what you actually want is to try, fail forward, and try something new. What did Boss Ross used to say? There are no mistakes, only happy little accidents? Yeah, same applies here. I pivoted and course corrected SO many times these last 10 years. Honestly, I can't believe I didn't give myself whiplash with how often (and quickly) I've switched directions at times. But that's part of the fun of being a confused millennial, we have permission to explore the depths of who we are at whatever pace is comfortable for us! Plus it always makes for a great story!
The Truth About Living Your Best Life
The power to live your best life is 100% inside of you. Not your teachers, family, friends, or society; but YOU! When we can quiet the voice inside of our minds, we can connect to who we truly are at our core. The voice in our minds have been programmed by society, and it's not OUR truth. It's the truth that's been force fed to us from the time we came out the womb. When we can meditate, release judgment, and fail forward, we can experience life through our own lense that already knows we are exactly where we need to be, exploring this journey, learning and growing at the pace we are meant to. We are limitless beings fueled by unconditional love and support for ourselves and others – and it's time we re-discover that.The power to live your best life is 100% inside of you. Click To Tweet We are limitless beings fueled by unconditional love and support for ourselves and others - and it's time we re-discover that.Click To Tweet
Want to keep the high vibes going? Grab TCM's Positive Self Talk Worksheet!
This post was originally published on 03/29/18